John Nash: A beautiful mind now at rest.

It is with sadness that we report the loss of John Nash and his wife Alicia Nash in a tragic taxi accident.


Nash was featured in the movie, “A Beautiful Mind” that won 4 Oscars. The movie outlined his genius and his lifelong struggle with schizophrenia. Only last week he was in Norway to receive the prestigious Abel Prize.


Nash did extraordinary work in his field of partial differential equations and was a senior research mathematician at Princeton. He received the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1994 for his work in game theory. He was 86 years old; his wife was 82. You can find out more about Nash here:,_Jr.


The Queen of Code: Lt. Grace Murray Hopper

Have you heard the name Grace Hopper? The mathematical field of cryptography and theoretical computer science came of age during and after the Second World War. While the names of Turing, von Neumann and Godel are famous, and rightly so, history tends to forget or ignore the women who also played a critical part in these advances.

Lt. Grace Murray Hopper sitting at her desk. 1947 [?].

Lt. Grace Murray Hopper sitting at her desk. 1947 [?].

Here is a short film about one of the pioneers of computing, a woman who worked on the first computer, the Harvard Mark 1 and was part of the team that built the first compiler. The blog salutes Grace Hopper, the Queen of Code! Click below to see a short (about 16 minutes) documentary about her.

How often should you clean your room?

The blogmaster offers an unqualified apology for the absence. The end of the semester took its toll. But we are back with some mathematics!

Your own OU faculty members (Kimball Martin and Krishnan Shankar) have addressed the question that is in the title of this article in their paper:

but if you want the easier version here is a nice description in this blog:

Spoiler alert: mathematics proves that it pays to be a little lazy especially if you have a good memory!

April is Math Awareness Month!

Mathematics is ubiquitous, it is everywhere, it is built into the fabric of the Universe and it is the language of the cosmic and of the quantum. Descending from these lofty words, it is also very useful; it can help you get a job.


Please celebrate Math Awareness Month by telling at least one friend one cool mathematical fact you learned on this blog.

Emmy Noether’s 133rd birthday.

To do mathematics is hard enough, to do it well even harder, but to do it better than most and be discriminated against by a phalanx of morons for decades takes a special kind of toughness and mental acuity. Today we honor Amalie Emmy Noether, one of the greatest mathematicians of the twentieth century.


Emmy Noether fought persistent sexism to obtain a Ph.D in 1907 even though she was not allowed to take classes, nor draw a paycheck when she taught classes after her doctorate. Being Jewish she eventually fled the rising drumbeat of Nazism and arrived at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania in 1933. Tragically she died shortly after following medical complications. She was only 53.

Among her many accomplishments include significant contributions to algebraic invariants and number fields. A class of algebraic objects — Noetherian rings — are named after her. Her work on differential invariants in the calculus of variations leading to Noether’s theorem has been called, “one of the most important mathematical theorems ever proved in the development of modern physics”. You can find out more about her on Wikipedia:

Her many champions included Albert Einstein and David Hilbert. Today Google honors Emmy Noether with a doodle. Go check it out!

Presidential Dream Course lecture: Dr. Peter Sarnak

We are honored to have Dr. Peter Sarnak from Princeton and the Institute for Advanced Study come to Norman to give a public lecture entitled, “Sums of Squares and Hilbert’s 11th Problem”.


Dr. Peter Sarnak, Eugene Higgins Professor of Mathematics

When: Thursday, March 12th 2015, 4:30 pm

Where: Nielsen 270

Here is a bio of Dr. Sarnak: