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IntMath Newsletter: Google search graphs, reflections, trends

By Murray Bourne, 14 Dec 2011

14 Dec 2011

In this Newsletter:

1. Math takes a holiday, too
2. New Google Search feature - graphs of functions
3. Most popular IntMath Newsletter stories in 2011
4. Most popular IntMath tweets for 2011
5. Math trends for 2012 (job opportunities in math)
6. IntMath Poll: Calculators in math class
7. Final thought: No regrets
8. Season's Greetings and coming up

1. Math takes a holiday, too

The Christmas - New Year period is always the quietest time for

This graph shows IntMath visitor numbers for previous years. There is always a dramatic drop-off in visitor numbers around mid-December.

December analytics

The regular peaks in the graph indicate week-days (highest number of visitors) and the troughs are weekends (lowest number of visitors).

I can see from the graph it takes a few weeks for everyone to warm up again in the New Year.

Therefore, I have a bumper edition for you in this last IntMath Newsletter for 2011. The next edition is due out in mid-January.

2. New Google Search feature - graphs of functions

Google graph search

Google introduced a new feature this week. When you search for a math function, it provides an interactive graph at the top of the search results.

Try this one: e^(0.0001x*sin(x).

You can zoom in and out (using your mouse scroll wheel) or drag the graph around. You can also see the current x- and y-values of the graph in the top right corner.

You can compare 2 graphs (separate them with a comma) like this log(x), ln(x). (This is log base 10 and log base e.)

Tip: You need to use round brackets (parentheses) around variables. For example, searching sin(x) works, but "sin x" or "sinx" will not.

Don't miss this cute love-related math graph.

[When testing out new graph tools I like to see how it handles the graph of arccot(x). This is the one I found to be inconsistently graphed by Matlab, Mathematica, Mathcad and so on. Interestingly, Google doesn't even draw a graph for arccot(x)! See: Which is the correct graph of arccot(x)?]

3. Most popular IntMath Newsletter stories in 2011

I keep a fairly close eye on what my readers find most interesting. New subscribers would have missed some of these popular articles.

Making math relevant

  1. New measure of obesity – body adiposity index (BAI)
  2. How to Make Math Class Interesting
  3. Friday math movie: Hans Rosling’s 200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes
  4. 7 billion people on Earth


  1. Free Math e-Books
  2. Microsoft Math 4.0 now free
  3. Top 10 math help sites

Math tips

  1. How to reflect a graph through the x-axis, y-axis, or origin
  2. How to find the equation of a quadratic function from its graph
  3. Derivative of square root of sine x by first principles
  4. Length of an Archimedean Spiral
  5. Visual design for math teachers
  6. What is Trigonometry all about?
  7. Which is the correct graph of arccot x?
  8. Distance Formula interactive graphs
  9. Online graph plotter using JSXGraph
  10. Inverse of a matrix by Gauss-Jordan elimination

Don't forget you can search for any article using the search box on the top right of every page on and likewise the squareCircleZ blog.

4. Most popular IntMath tweets for 2011

Here are the most popular IntMath tweets for the year (based on re-tweets or favorites).

  1. Music and transformation geometry - Composers use many ideas from geometry when they write music
  2. A Mathematicians Lament: how math is being taught all wrong
  3. Remember the first 10 digits of pi (word lengths): "May I have a large container of coffee ready for today?" (3.1415926535)
  4. 10 great interactive math applets:
  5. "Help for Math Anxiety?" - how the Japanese improve math thinking (Psychology Today)
  6. Daily #Math Tweet: "The human mind has never invented a labor-saving machine equal to algebra." [Anon]

Collections of Math-related Twitterers

  1. IntMath is included in "50 Excellent Twitterers Providing Daily Learning & Study Tips" Thanks! (link no longer available)
  2. The 50 Best Twitter Feeds for Math Geeks (also has disappeared - IntMath was there, too.)

Twitter has a vibrant math community sharing resources, ideas and advice. Join us on Twitter!

Follow IntMath on Twitter Follow IntMath on Twitter

5. Math trends for 2012 (job opportunities in math)

Many of you will be joining the job market in the next few years. The world economy could be in for more shocks in 2012 and beyond, so it's important to keep on top of emerging trends. There will always be jobs for those who keep up with what's going on.

Trendwatching has some interesting ideas on what will impact commerce - and therefore jobs - next year. For those with math skills, several of these trends will provide opportunities.

  1. DIY Health This is all about data gathering and intepretation - and ethics and privacy.
  2. ECOCYCOLOGY Engineers will need to work on efficiencies and optimization in order to make compulsory recycling commercially viable.
  3. CASH-LESS It's silly that we still need to walk around carrying paper money and heavy coins. Mobile devices will help to kill cash. Skills needed: encryption, data security, optimizing speed of data transfer, integrity and privacy protection.
  4. IDLE SOURCING Mobile phone sensors use GPS, accelerometers, cameras, search, mapping. Many math skills involved there!
  5. POINT & KNOW Visual search, QR Codes, and facial recognition all involve interesting math. Skills needed: math and programming.

I hope that gives you some inspiration for opportunities in math-related job fields. They all look interesting to me!

Trends source: Trendwatching's 12 Trends for 2012.

6. IntMath Poll: Calculators in math class

The recent IntMath Poll asked readers Which calculator do you use during math lessons?

The "no calculator" choice could be for 3 reasons - either most students don't have a calculator in a particular class, or maybe the math teacher doesn't approve of calculators, or finally, students use computers instead.

TI-83, 84 or 89: 39%

Casio FX: 35%

No calculator: 11%

Other calculator: 9%

TI-NSpire: 6%

Total responses: 4000.

Latest poll: How social is your math? The current poll asks readers if they study for math tests alone, or with a group of friends. The results so far are interesting. You can vote on any page on

7. Friday math movie: U + Me = Us (calculus)

U + Me = Us (calculus)

Here's a fun video from boy band 2gether, with mathematical mentions. This is a light one to finish the year!

Friday math movie: U + Me = Us (calculus)

8. Final thought: No regrets

The end of each year is a chance to reflect on what we have achieved and to plan for the coming year. This quote by Sydney J. Harris, Chicago-based journalist, may help give some perspective.

Regret for things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable. [Sydney J. Harris]

Those who aim to live up to their potential enjoy their lives the most. And that goes for math, too!

9. Season's Greetings and coming up

Here's wishing everyone a safe and enjoyable Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year, Lohri (mid-January), Mawlid an-Nabi (in early February) and whatever other holiday or cultural event you celebrate at this time of the year.

I'm hoping 2012 will treat you well. Work smart, and watch the trends!

There'll be several changes to the IntMath Newsletter next year, new features on IntMath and many new articles on the blog - watch this space for details.

Until mid-January, enjoy whatever you learn.

See the 3 Comments below.

3 Comments on “IntMath Newsletter: Google search graphs, reflections, trends”

  1. dalcde says:

    Google can graph arccot(x), but you have to type arccotangent(x) instead of arccot(x):


  2. Murray says:

    @Dalcde: Thanks! Interestingly, the heading for that graph on Google is "arccot(x)".

    So Google thinks it's "Interpretation 1".

  3. smruthi says:

    This article is interesting.
    This link also provides information regarding this topic

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