Author Archives: Brent

About Brent

Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Hendrix College. Functional programmer, mathematician, teacher, pianist, follower of Jesus.

Sigma notation ninja tricks 2: splitting sums

[Previous posts in this series: jumping constants] Trick 2: splitting sums I’ve written about this before, but it’s worth spelling it out for completeness’ sake. If you have a sum of something which is itself a sum, like this: you … Continue reading

Posted in algebra, arithmetic | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Book reviews: The Joy of SET and Elements of Mathematics

I have a couple of book reviews for you today! I finished both of these books recently and really enjoyed them. Though they are quite different, both gave me new ways to think about some topics I already knew, and … Continue reading

Posted in books, review | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Sigma notation ninja tricks 1: jumping constants

Almost exactly ten years ago, I wrote a page on this blog explaining big-sigma notation. Since then it’s consistently been one of the highest-traffic posts on my blog, and still gets occasional comments and questions. A few days ago, a … Continue reading

Posted in algebra, arithmetic | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

The Riemann zeta function and prime numbers

In a previous post I defined the famous Riemann zeta function, Today I want to give you a glimpse of what it has to do with prime numbers—which is a big part of why it is so famous. Consider the … Continue reading

Posted in number theory | Tagged , , , , | 15 Comments

Games with factorization diagram cards

Since I published a deck of factorization diagram cards last September, a few teachers have picked up copies of the cards and started using them with their students. I’ve started collecting ideas for games you can play using the cards, … Continue reading

Posted in arithmetic, counting, games, pattern, pictures, primes, teaching | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

The MacLaurin series for sin(x)

In my previous post I said “recall the MacLaurin series for :” Since someone asked in a comment, I thought it was worth mentioning where this comes from. It would typically be covered in a second-semester calculus class, but it’s … Continue reading

Posted in calculus, infinity, iteration | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Basel problem

I wanted to follow up on something I mentioned in my previous post: I claimed that At the time I didn’t know how to prove this, but I did some quick research and today I’m going to explain it! It … Continue reading

Posted in infinity, number theory | Tagged , , , , , | 9 Comments