Mathematical Marginalia
Classical and Quaint Topics in Mathematics

What's It All About

The collection of articles on this site originated over a period of several years. If a topic became fascinating enough, that I could not resist to write a short text about it, a new article emerged. Of course, most of these productions found their way into the wastebasket.


Arnold's Fly

One of the problems from the collection of Vladimir Igorevich Arnold, which contains some cruelty to animals. There are two solutions given, a simple one and another, containig some cruelty to one's brain.


Urmel's Twin Planet

In Germany almost every child loves the Urmel, and because the first occurence of the Urmel dates back to the sixties, this is also true for most adults. English speaking people may consult the Wikipedia, where an article about Impy's Island can be found, which is a movie based on the children's novel Urmel from the Ice Age.

Our article deals with the question, why the planet Futura, the home of Neschnem-Kopf Otto, could remain undiscovered for such a long time.


A Walk on the City Wall

Göttingen in Germany is famous for the long tradition of eminent mathematicians at its university (Gauss, Dirichlet, Riemann, Hilbert, Noether, etc.). It's also a nice small town with a city wall, which is still almost completely conserved. The article is about the ideas, two mathematicians may discuss while taking a walk around this city wall.


Lagrange's Four-Square Theorem

A proof of the theorem that every positive integer can be represented as sum of (at most) four squares. The proof has been written with the ambition, that it may be grasped by a high-school student.


The Engagement Party

A couple plans a big party on occasion of its engagement, but in most cases only a tête-à-tête will come out.


The Mover's Problem

The answer to the old question: Will that da… cupbord go around the corner?. Expect some sudatory computations.


Brush Up Your Euler

This page is still a work in progress. It contains the parody of the German translation of a song of American origin. Of course, it's rather impossible for a non native speaker to re-translate the parody into English, let alone to write a parody of the English original. So, if you feel inclined …


A Poster

A poster to download, to print and to pin to your wall: The mathematical family tree of Fields medaillists and Abel laureates.