New Cur 4: Golden Moments

ACARA’s draft mathematics curriculum contained innumerable head-slappers, including the following content and elaboration from Year 8 Number (which we posted upon here):

recognise and investigate irrational numbers in applied contexts including certain square roots and π (old AC9M8N01)

investigate the Golden ratio as applied to art, flowers (seeds) and architecture

That has changed. In its stead, ACARA’s approved Curriculum has
Continue reading “New Cur 4: Golden Moments”

WitCH 80: External Forcing

Yep, it’s Golden Ratio Day here at Mathematical CrapLand.

This is a weird one. It might be trivial, or very hard, or non-existent. We’re not 100% sure. (OK, we are sure, but it took a while.) Anyway, it’s a research paper appearing in a (not the) journal published by Nature, and so can tolerate a little extra scrutiny. The paper, titled The golden number seen in a mechanical oscillator, appeared a couple weeks ago in the open access Nature journal, Scientific Reports; the paper can be downloaded here. Here is the begining: Continue reading “WitCH 80: External Forcing”

An Amber Heard of Sheep

Yeah, we’ve written about golden ratio twaddle a few times, although we tend not to bother. Sir Theodore Cook said it all a century ago. But, on occasion, we have cause to give the phi nonsense another whack. And, as it happens, we’ve been working on one such post when more nonsense came rolling in.

Classy media outlets, such as The Australian, are currently trumpeting the news that Amber Heard, whatever her other failings, also has the most beautiful face in the world. Because golden ratio. This stunning news coming courtesy of some cosmetic surgery clowns.

ACARA Crash 3: Fool’s Gold

This is another quick one, but it keeps the bullets flying while we prepare a more substantial post for tomorrow(ish). It can be considered a companion to the previous ACARA Crash a Content-Elaborations for Year 8 Number.

CONTENT

recognise and investigate irrational numbers in applied contexts including certain square roots and π

ELABORATIONS

recognising that the real number system includes irrational numbers which can be approximately located on the real number line, for example, the value of π lies somewhere between 3.141 and 3.142 such that 3.141 < π < 3.142

using digital tools to explore contexts or situations that use irrational numbers such as finding length of hypotenuse in right angle triangle with sides of 1 m or 2 m and 1 m or given area of a square find the length of side where the result is irrational or the ratio between paper sizes A0, A1, A2, A3, A4

investigate the Golden ratio as applied to art, flowers (seeds) and architecture

Nuclear Fishin’

H. R. Currie and G. M. Currie, Open Access Journal

This one was brought to our attention by the Evil Mathologre. It is a tricky one, since it involves the work of a school student, and the student is in no way a target for our criticism. Out of such concerns, we haven’t made this post a WitCH; it should be considered in the same vein as this Maths Masters column.

As reported in Wagga’s Daily Advertiser a couple weeks ago, and as picked up by The Canberra Times, IB student Hugo Currie was given a “mathematics assignment” (presumably an Internal Assessment) on the golden ratio:

“… we had to investigate an element of the golden ratio in the built or natural environment so I decided to look at atomic structure …“.

Hugo considered the atomic mass number A (protons plus neutrons) of nuclides (isotopes), comparing A to the number N of neutrons and the number Z of protons. Of course, A = N + Z. Hugo then looked for “fibonacci nuclides”, nuclides for which the ratios A/N and N/Z are very good approximations to the golden ratio. He found a bunch, and suggested his results as a guide to hunting for new elements and nuclides. Hugo’s graphic above is a good illustrative summary of his investigation; the horizontal axis is N, the vertical axis is Z, and the black line indicates known stable nuclides.

OK, no big deal. From our perspective, having a class sent off to hunt for the golden ratio is asking for trouble, but it’s just an IA, and Hugo’s work seems interestingly exploratory-ish, in the manner the IB foolishly demands. But why did Hugo make the news, and what’s the problem?

In May, Hugo published a paper, co-authored with his father Professor Geoffrey Currie, in the peer-reviewed Open Science Journal. And, yes, of course that made the news. And yes, that’s the problem.

Unsurprisingly but unfortunately, we can see little if anything research-worthy in the Curries’ paper, and we noticed a number of “Uh-oh”s. A fine IA, sure, but not a research paper, and not news.

We’ll leave it at that. Readers are free to hunt for the uh-ohs.