Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Cookie Monster Numbers, Journal Reading, and Mini-Blogging

I just spent the last several minute taking it easy at the end of my day reading a little bit about set theory.  It wasn't the dry and/or indecipherable stuff some of you might remember from first grade thanks to the 'new math'.  Nope, this article on set theory was on something called the Cookie Monster Number, the least number of moves that Cookie Monster can take to empty a set of jars of cookies if he can only take the same amount of cookies from every jar on each move.  Since I'm headed off to bed for the night, rather than rehash the subject here, I'll spend competitora little bit of time telling you about where you can read more on the subject.

For a brief intro to the Cookie Monster Number, check out +Richard Green's mini-blog on G+.  Specifically, you'll want the post on Cookie Monster[1].  For those reading this on my blog as opposed to G+, the Facebook competitor from Google has actually become quite the mini-blogging site for scientists of all flavors.  For a quick sampling of what's available you can check out the circle of folks that follow Richard Greens math posts[6].  While it's becoming more diverse all the time, the circle still contains a large number of very interesting science writers and readers for that matter.

If you'd like to delve even further into the Cookie Monster Number, you can check out the article I was reading[2] tonight in the College Mathematics Journal from the +Mathematical Association of America.

The journals from the MAA are all my current favorites.  When I entered physics as an undergraduate, I was immediately advised to read journals in my field even if I didn't understand them at first.  No offense to the +American Physical Society, but try as I might, I got nothing from Physical Review A-D and Letters until I was a grad. student. Now that I have the background, I'm of course loving these journals, but I digress...  What I should have been reading and what I would heartily advise any undergrad in science to read are the MAA journals:

College Mathematics Journal[3]

Mathematics Magazine[4]

and American Mathematics Monthly[5]

I've listed them from what I perceive to be the simplest to the most complex. They're well written and generally fun.  There's always at least one great article that I can comprehend, month after month, and no matter what your field, these journals can help you build the mathematical foundations you'll need.

1.  Richard Green on Cookie Monster

2.  Cookie Monster and Fibonacci Sequences

and the open access version on Arxiv

3.  http://www.jstor.org/action/showPublication?journalCode=collmathj

4.  http://www.jstor.org/action/showPublication?journalCode=mathmaga

5.  http://www.jstor.org/action/showPublication?journalCode=amermathmont

6.  Richard Green's Engager Showcase Circle

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