Categorie: Wiskunde

family name

Will your family name ever go extinct?

Nowadays, in most countries, everyone has a surname. Some names are very common, like “de Jong” in the Netherlands, or for example “Nguyễn” in Vietnam, where almost 40% of the population has this surname. On the other hand, some surnames are extremely rare. For instance in Thailand, where surnames were largely introduced in 1913 and no family was allowed to duplicate any existing surnames. Perhaps, you have a very rare surname yourself. Then you might have asked yourself this question: will my family name ever go extinct? In this article, I will demonstrate a mathematical […]

21 januari • Door Stan Koobs Tijd om te lezen Estimated reading time: 4 minuten

Are jugglers actually math enthusiasts?

Juggling, something we have all tried at least once in our life. For some, it resulted in the great satisfaction of three balls flying in perfect harmony through the air. For others, it was a traumatic experience of balls flying everywhere except for the right place. It is a quite challenging, but rewarding hobby. Some studies have even shown that people who learn to juggle have a boost in their brain development. Learning to juggle accelerates the growth of neural connections related to memory, focus, movement, and vision. But despite what some people might think, […]

19 januari • Door Deirdre Westenbrink Tijd om te lezen Estimated reading time: 5 minuten

Christmas with a mathematical touch

At first, you may think that mathematics has nothing to do with Christmas. The only link I could think of was calculating whether you have enough budget to buy that all those present for your family. However, mathematicians will always think of a way to integrate mathematics and thus, also for Christmas. One of the most popular applications of mathematics to Christmas is analyzing the song “Twelve Days of Christmas”. In this song, a surprising mathematical pattern is used to find out how many presents the singer receives during the twelve days of Christmas. Furthermore, […]

22 december • Door Renske Zijm Tijd om te lezen Estimated reading time: 3 minuten

Reversion to mediocrity

Nowadays, research in many fields involves statistics. Whether it comes down to a government’s decisions on measures fighting a pandemic or the Red Bull formula 1 racing team deciding on whether Verstappen should swap tires in the next lap, it sounds like a good idea to back the decision with statistics. For a fair amount of time, appliance of statistics has seemed one of the most irrefutable means of proving a claim or, in other situations, coming to the right conclusion. In their essence, statistics seem, when employed properly, to be telling the story as-is, […]

15 december • Door Pieter Dilg Tijd om te lezen Estimated reading time: 5 minuten
"one-way" speed of light

Measuring the speed of light

299,792,458 metres per second. That is the speed of light as we concluded ourselves. Even the definition of a metre is based on this. One metre namely is equal to the distance light travels in 1/ 299,792,458 of a second. Even though this sounds like a joke, as it is so straightforward, it is actually true. It shows that we are really sure about the speed at which light travels. However, should we be so sure that this number is correct? The answer should be no, as we actually do not know the “one-way” speed […]

03 december • Door Casper de Vries Tijd om te lezen Estimated reading time: 5 minuten
Risk

Who will conquer the world?

  Risk has been one of the most beloved board games since its release more than sixty years ago. With this classic board game, a fun evening with your friends or family can soon turn into an hours-long war where alliances are forged, troops are lost and battles are won. This family game has brought a lot of joy as well as quarrels and has produced many victors over the years. But what exactly is the best way to conquer the world? Is there a way to ensure your victory? In this article I will […]

24 november • Door Fenna Beentjes Tijd om te lezen Estimated reading time: 9 minuten

Rethink the way you think about randomness!

Imagine you get the opportunity to flip a coin for only 1 dollar : if it turns up heads, you win 50% and if it turns up tails you lose 40% of your initial bet. Of course we’re all familiar with calculating expected payoffs: since this bet has an expected payoff of 0.5*1.5 + 0.5*0.6=1.05, you should take it. Right? Well, it might be a little less obvious.   Suppose you flip the coin another time. Your wealth will, depending on the flips, either be 2.25 (two heads), 0.9 (one heads, one tails),  or 0.36 […]

12 november • Door Simon Elgersma Tijd om te lezen Estimated reading time: 5 minuten
Lotka-Volterra

A look at an economic application of the Lotka-Volterra equations

The Lotka-Volterra model is mostly referred to as the predator-prey model. This model is used to describe lots of commonly encountered ecological processes. One of the more famous ones is the rabbit and the fox model. This is a cyclical relation between the amount of rabbits and foxes. More on this will be explained further on. In economics, we also encounter lots of cycles and that is why another application of this model could find a place in economics. Therefore, the Lotka-Volterra equations are potentially very useful in such an economic setting and may be […]

10 november • Door David Anthonio Tijd om te lezen Estimated reading time: 6 minuten

Donald Duck and the magic wheel

Donald Duck, the unfortunate duck that we all know and love, has had it. He angrily shouts at Scrooge McDuck: “every single day I’m brushing coins for you, and yet you barely pay me enough to buy food for my own nephews. I demand a raise!” Scrooge responds: “No way! A lazybones like you should be happy that I’m not firing you! But if you really want a shot at earning more money, you can have this magic wheel that I got from the prince of Farawayland as part of a trading deal. He told […]

03 november • Door Sjors Keet Tijd om te lezen Estimated reading time: 7 minuten
The Birthday Problem

The Birthday Problem

At the World Cup in Brazil in 2014, in 16 out of the 32 teams two players shared the same birthday. Considering each of these selections consisted of 23 players and there are 365 days in a year (excluding February 29), it seems like an enormous coincidence that this was the case for 50 percent of the teams. However, this trivia fact isn’t such a coincidence at all. In fact, the odds of two people in a group of 23 sharing the same birthday is 50.7 percent. This is what we call the birthday problem […]

13 oktober • Door Casper de Vries Tijd om te lezen Estimated reading time: 4 minuten

The impossible program

Each year new computer systems are put into the market, featuring increased memory capacity, better screens but perhaps most importantly, stronger processors. More processing power results in handling more tasks per second or, in other words, less time per task.  A modern computer can carry out most operations in a fraction of a second, even though it took the most powerful computers minutes or even hours, 30 years ago. As computers get stronger, however, the tasks we ask them to perform get more complicated too. Whereas they once had to solve simple mathematical operations, they […]

15 september • Door Pieter Dilg Tijd om te lezen Estimated reading time: 4 minuten

Mathematical impossibilities

‘Nothing is impossible’ is one of the most used phrases to convince people that they can accomplish anything, no matter how hard you have to work for it. But to what extent is this phrase actually true? The word impossible is something that a lot of people already have big trouble with getting their head around. If you would ask me for an example of ‘what is impossible?’, the first thing that comes to my mind is teleportation. But the second after thinking that, a new thought comes up: ‘is it really impossible though?’. Ofcourse, […]

10 september • Door Lars Beute Tijd om te lezen Estimated reading time: 4 minuten

By Daniele Zedda • 18 February

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