You can see them almost everywhere nowadays: QR codes. They can be used for all kinds of things: showing you the menu in a restaurant, getting wifi and even paying for something via a ‘Tikkie’. The first time I saw such a QR code, I wondered immediately how it works,...

## A triangle that changed the world

When you think of mathematics you imagine a sea of numbers, formulae and relationships. This is of course, as we know, quite often the case. However, mathematics hides quite interesting relationships you might have not yet thought of before. One of the most common...

## Why all horses have the same colour

What if I told you that all horses have the same colour? And that 2 = 1? And, to top it off, that I could prove it? You would probably say I’m delusional and that my proof must contain a mistake. However, there are proofs that do not contain mistakes which conclude...

## Eating your cake the right way

For some reason I always have a hard time making inter-temporal decisions. Should I drink a few more beers tonight, taking into account that I have a lecture at 9 am tomorrow? Should I buy that new piece of clothing or save to accumulate some (possibly negative)...

## Are we alone in the Universe?

Since the beginning of civilization, humans have looked up into the sky and wondered whether we are alone in the Universe. Since then our technology has come quite a way and it feels like we can make a better-educated guess to this question. We currently estimate that...

## Why your Dobble cards always match

Dobble: a game played by kids, but still very popular among adults. In the game, you have to draw two random cards and place them face-up on the table between all the players. Then, you have to look for the identical symbol between the two cards. Between every two...

## Gabriel’s Horn Paradox

Some people just die too soon. One such person was Evangelista Torricelli, an Italian mathematician who died at the age of 39 in the year of 1647. Had Torricelli lived longer, he just might have discovered calculus, before Sir Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz....

## Why do we count in base 10?

What is two plus two? The realist will say four, the computer will say 100, and the cynic will say 5 – but which is correct? The reason we count in base 10 stems from the simplest fact: humans have 10 fingers. Understandable and logical, as this seems to be nature’s...

## Win a stage in the Tour de France using Mathematics

In seventeen days, it is the most wonderful time of the year for cycling fans: the Tour de France will start again. This year, the Tour will cover a total distance of 3328 kilometers through four different countries over a total of 24 days, in which only three rest...

## Are you living inside a black hole?

In 1915 Einstein wrote the leading description of gravitation in modern physics, also known as the general theory of relativity. This theory describes the universe so well that it never fails, except for the Big Bang and at centres of black holes, both are...

## Why Mathematics is a Language

Mathematics is considered the heart of the beta-field, whereas languages are by definition alpha. One could say, therefore, that mathematics and language are direct opposites. Yet, mathematics is sometimes called the language of science and considering the definition...

## The fourth side of a triangle

Yes, you are reading this correctly: a triangle can have four sides. If this sounds strange, I have to agree: this statement could be formulated in a more nuanced way: when we look from the point of view of the associated circles to the sides of a triangle, the fourth...

## Differential equations ODEs versus PDEs

Differential equations came paired with the invention of calculus and have been around for a long time. They are still the main study of a lot of mathematicians. Many famous mathematicians such as Newton, Leibniz, d’Alembert, Euler and Lagrange have made discoveries...

## The Infinite Monkey Paradox

To most people the notion of infinity is unfathomable. That has to do with the strange behavior some things demonstrate when the concept of infinity is introduced. Think for example of an infinite time horizon. No one knows what it feels like for an infinite amount of...

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