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Atheist solidarity: Jason Rosenhouse rallys for reason

Jason Rosenhouse is Associate Professor of Mathematics at James Madison University. His most recent book is Among The Creationists: Dispatches from the Anti-Evolutionist Front Lines. After years of emersion in creationist culture, Rosenhouse shares his feelings on what it was like to finally stand amongst his fellow non-believers at the Reason Rally.

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What do mathematicians do?

By Jason Rosenhouse
Writing in 1866, the British mathematician John Venn wrote, in reference to the branch of mathematics known as probability theory, “To many persons the mention of Probability suggests little else than the notion of a set of rules, very ingenious and profound rules no doubt, with which mathematicians amuse themselves by setting and solving puzzles.” I suspect many of my students would extend Venn’s quip to the entirety of mathematics.

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The real unsolved problems of mathematics

By Jason Rosenhouse
With the arrival of the new year, you can be certain that the annual extravaganza known as the Joint Mathematics Meetings cannot be far behind. This year’s conference is taking place in Baltimore, Maryland. It is perhaps more accurate to say that it is a conference of conferences, since much of the business to be transacted will take place in smaller sessions devoted to this or that branch of mathematics

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The Joy of Sets

By Jason Rosenhouse
In more than a decade of socializing with creationists and other religious fundamentalists, I frequently encountered blinkered arguments about mathematics. This attack on set theory, however, was new to me. I cannot even imagine why anyone would think set theory is relevant to discussions of whether it is man or God who creates math. Perhaps the problem is that set theorists often speak a bit casually about infinity, which some people think is tantamount to discussing God. Alas, this line of criticism is too blinkered to take seriously.

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What one atheist learned from hanging out with creationists

By Jason Rosenhouse
In May 2000 I began a post-doctoral position in the Mathematics Department at Kansas State University. Shortly after I arrived I learned of a conference for homeschoolers to be held in Wichita, the state’s largest city. Since that was a short drive from my home, and since anything related to public education in Kansas had relevance to my new job, I decided, on a whim, to attend.

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Sudoku and the Pace of Mathematics

Among mathematicians, it is always a happy moment when a long-standing problem is suddenly solved. The year 2012 started with such a moment, when an Irish mathematician named Gary McGuire announced a solution to the minimal-clue problem for Sudoku puzzles.

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Thoughts of Pi

By Jason Rosenhouse

A recent satirical essay in the Huffington Post reports that congressional Republicans are trying to legislate the value of pi. Fearing that the complexity of modern geometry is hurting America’s performance on international measures of mathematical knowledge, they have decreed that from now on pi shall be equal to three. It is a sad commentary on American culture that you must read slowly and carefully to be certain the essay is just satire.

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