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DreamBox Learning Ranks the Best Math Articles, 2009 (so far!)

Inspired by the Academy Awards, DreamBox Learning Sets Out to Find the Best Math Articles of 2009

Despite popular belief, we aren’t just about math games. We also appreciate journalists and bloggers who make math problems and science news interesting and accessible. Without further ado, DreamBox Learning presents the best math articles of 2009… cue applause.

5. A Talk with Mario Livio by Carol Johnson

What if math never existed? Those who like math that comes with a healthy dose of philosophy will appreciate this outstanding Q and A with author and astrophysicist Mario Livio. His astute insights about the origin of math might cost you a few sleepless nights. After reading the article, we lay awake pondering what would happen if jellyfish could count (read the article – you’ll get the reference). Livio’s book “Is God a Mathematician?” explores mathematics as the language of our universe. Math enthusiasts can get a tapas-size taste of his theories from the article. Choice quote: “Mathematics is somewhat special in that it has an incredible longevity… what was true once remains true forever. The area of the circle that was discovered by Archimedes more than 2,000 years ago is still true.”

4. Using Chaos Theory to Revitalize Fisheries by Paul Raeburn


We’ve grown weary of those pervasive doomsday articles about the economy – especially ones that use buzz words like “recession,” “depression,” and “we’re all going to starve” with no basis in mathematics or economics. George Sugihara believes that like fisheries, financial networks are complex, chaotic systems. This in-depth article explains how Sugihara uses chaos theory and sardines to make short-term predictions about fishy market fluctuations. Choice quote: “Fishing,”he says, “is like the stock market—the crash of one or two species, or a hedge fund or mortgage bank, can trigger a catastrophic collapse of the entire system.”Ok, so they aren’t the most uplifting words. But Sugihara also knows how to stabilize fisheries. “It’s not the young ones that should be thrown back but the larger, older fish that should be spared; they stabilize the population and provide more and better quality offspring.”Does this apply to the job market too? Even if you’re skeptical about the connection between sardines and the economy, it’s an entertaining read.

3. Traveling

New York Subway in the shortest time by World Records Academy Speaking of sardines… commuters can commiserate with this fun piece about two financial analysts who recently broke the record for traveling the tangled New York subway system in the shortest time. Chris Solarz and Matt Ferrisi studied the subway system for six months using math problems and formulas to come up with the speediest route. “It’s only 468 factorial,”said Ferrisi, in reference to the number of stations. It took the two 22 hours, 51 minutes, 468 train stations, 25 subway lines, one witness, and a single bathroom trip for the guys to break the Guinness World Record. And you thought your commute was bad! Although the article doesn’t reveal the guys’ secret formula (darn it), it does divulge how to use math in everyday problems. Next time your child asks, “When will I use math in my adult life?” point them to the Subway Kings.

2. X Equals Why ? by Michael Alison Chandler

Michael Alison Chandler is a living Billy Madison – except we presume, much smarter. A blogger from the Washington Post, Chandler takes high school Algebra II over in a real classroom and blogs about her experiences. Our favorite article of the series (so far) is her recap of the second quarter. Our favorite line is “Success in math comes at a price: Time.”Add patience and math practice to that and we couldn’t agree more. Through trials and tribulations, Chandler, a reformed math phobe learns that she likes math games and solving math problems. DreamBox Learning encourages you to read all her entire blog, but if you don’t have time, dive in with this article. Spoiler alert: She gets an A!

1. Top 200 Jobs by Tony Lee

DreamBox Learning concludes our article round up with the recent Top 10 Best Jobs Article from Career Cast. We couldn’t help but notice that the top three jobs were math-oriented: mathematician, actuary, and statistician. We couldn’t be happier about this news. It proves what we’ve always thought – math learning is vital to success and happiness. That’s the very reason we started making math games. Thanks to the aforementioned writers for engaging, entertaining articles. Keep them coming!