Contents of the January/February 1997 issue of Quantum
by Barry Mazur
When we have solved a problem, we usually kick up our heels and relax. But if we really want to find something new, we should question our answerthats when things really get interesting! This article is a case in point.
Wobbling Nuclear Drops
by Yuly Bruk, Maxim Zelnikov, and Albert Stasenko
We usually dont think of an atoms nucleus being anything like an ordinary drop of water. Yet the liquid-drop model is used in physics to describe nuclear oscillations.
A Revolution Absorbed
by E. B. Vinberg
It took two thousand years for mathematicians to realize that there are more kinds of geometry than the one worked out by Euclid. It took less than two hundred for the non-Euclidean revolution of Gauss, Lobachevsky, and Bolyai to be absorbed into the mathematical mainstream.
Below Absolute Zero
by Henry D. Schreiber
They say you couldnt get there if you tried. But maybe if you didnt try so hard, or came at it from a different direction
Cowculations: Superprime Beef
by Dr. Mu
Farmer Paul affectionately calls his best cows his superprime beef. (A superprime is any prime number that remains a prime when any number of digits are deleted from the right side of the numberfor example, 5939333.) How many superprimes are available for Farmer Paul to use in branding his outstanding heifers?
Kaleidoscope: Combs and coulombs
A look at electricity by way of the French physicist who discovered its first and most fundamental law, replete with questions to ponder and interesting facts to appreciate.
Physics Contest: Do You Promise Not to Tell?
by Arthur Eisenkraft and Larry D. Kirkpatrick
Devising a peculiar kind of electronic encryption by means of destructive and constructive interference (or nodes and antinodes).
At the Blackboard I: From a Roman Myth to the Isoperimetric Problem
by I. F. Sharygin
In Roman mythology, Dido was offered as much land as a bull skin covered. She cleverly cut the skin into several long strips and used them to fence in a large plot. This tale serves as the jumping off point for a discussion of a straightforward problem with an intimidating name.
Math Investigations: Revisiting the N-cluster Problem
by George Berzsenyi
A new research challenge from Dr. Berzsenyi, a longtime proponent of mathematical problem solving and the head of the math department at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Indiana.
At the Blackboard II: The First Bicycle
by Albert Stasenko
You will scour all the standard reference books in vain for any mention of the great inventor Nga-Nga, who (the author asserts) invented the first bicycle. Each wheel consisted of two sticks lashed together. Needless to say, the ride was a bit rough
In the Open Air: The Green Flash
by Lev Tarasov
The physics behind a beautiful but rare atmospheric phenomenon.
How Do You Figure?: Challenges in Physics and Math
Brainteasers: Just for the Fun of It!
The Quantum Bulletin Board.
Scientific crossword puzzle.
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