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Contents of the March/April 1998 issue of Quantum


Feature articles

Does a Falling Pencil Levitate?

by Leaf Turner and Jane L. Pratt

How many times have you put the point of your pencil down on your desk and let the pencil fall from a vertical position? No doubt the fall was over too quickly for you to notice whether the point ever left the surface of the desk. 

Art by Jose Garcia

Ramanujan the Phenomenon

by S. G. Gindikin

The life of one of this century’s preeminent mathematical geniuses, including some of his more artistic results.


The Thermodynamic Universe

by I. D. Novikov

Does time have a beginning and an end? Is heat death inevitable? Consider the possibilities in this exploration of universal evolution.


Numerical Roamings

by A. Egorov and A. Kotova

When we change the rules to make 7 + 6 = 3, arithmetic becomes a whole new ball game. A ball game, that is, with many of the same rules as traditional arithmetic.


Departments

Gradus Ad Parnassum: Symmetry in Algebra

by Mark Saul and Titu Andreescu

It’s O.K. We all feel a tad unbalanced on occasion. Heal yourself with some group theory.


Kaleidoscope: On the Edge

by Igor Sharygin

Are you a master of geometric constructions? Surrender your compass and see how you fare.


Looking Back: Revolutionary Teaching

by Yuri Solovyov

Why go to college? For the fatherland, sciences, and fame!


Physics Contest: Around and Around She Goes

by Larry D. Kirkpatrick and Arthur Eisenkraft

Can you keep a clear head while riding a merry-go-round? Have a go, then, at these problems and see if your head doesn’t spin.


At the Blackboard I: Points of Interest

by I. F. Sharygin

During your next visit to a triangle, check out these hot spots.


At the Blackboard II: The Horrors of Resonance

by A. Stasenko

A look at the theoretical perils faced by an airliner as it rolls down the runway. The seatbelt sign is lit.


Cowculations: Milk Routes

by Dr. Mu

Cream County is snowed in, but the milk must go through.


In the Lab: Homemade Pendulums

by G. L. Kotkin

It don’t mean a thing . . .


How Do You Figure?: Challenges in Physics and Math


Brainteasers: Just for the Fun of It!

Check out this sample!


Crisscross Science

Scientific crossword puzzle.


Answers, Hints & Solutions


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