Author Archives: Brian Hayes

About Brian Hayes

I'm the blogger here.

Sudden Deaf

My erstwhile employer, mentor, and dearest friend was Dennis Flanagan, who edited Scientific American for 37 years. He is the larger of the two aquatic specimens in the photograph below. One of the quirks of life with Dennis was that … Continue reading

Posted in biology, off-topic | 4 Comments

Approximately Yours

Today, I’m told, is Rational Approximation Day. It’s 22/7 (for those who write dates in little-endian format), which differs from π by about 0.04 percent. (The big-endians among us are welcome to approximate 1/π.) Given the present state of life … Continue reading

Posted in computing, mathematics | 10 Comments

Counting Your Chickens Before They’re Pecked

It started with a brief story in the New York Times about Luke Robitaille, a 13-year-old student from Euless, Texas, who won the Raytheon Mathcounts National Competition by correctly answering the following question: In a barn, 100 chicks sit peacefully … Continue reading

Posted in biology, computing, featured, mathematics, problems and puzzles, statistics | 8 Comments

The short arm of coincidence

James Tanton tosses off number theory problems the way John D. Rockefeller handed out dimes. I wrote about one of Tanton’s problems back in January. Then a few weeks ago this tweet about factorials and squares snagged my attention, and … Continue reading

Posted in computing, featured, mathematics, problems and puzzles | 14 Comments

The uniqueness constraint

For the past few weeks the Sunday New York Times has been publishing a puzzle called Capsules, devised by Wei-Hwa Huang. Here are the instructions: Place numbers in the grid so that each outlined region contains the numbers 1 to … Continue reading

Posted in problems and puzzles | 17 Comments