Inspiring HS math teacher leaves legacy

Jaime Escalante changed minds and opinions about the possibility of successfully teaching demanding subjects to inner-city students. In 1982, 14 of Escalante’s students at Garfield High School in working-class East Los Angeles passed the Advanced Placement calculus exam. Many more students took and passed the challenging exam during Escalante’s years teaching at the school.

A native of Bolivia, Escalante came to the U.S. in 1963 with only $3, 000 and little English ability. His story was portrayed in the 1988 film "Stand and Deliver."

Escalante died Tuesday, March 30, in California. He was 79.

Can math help us sleep better?

Maybe math hasn’t contributed much to improve your daily rest. (Or maybe, at times, it has.)

But while we don’t understand all the reasons for why the human body even needs sleep, researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York state are taking a new approach to understanding the science of sleep, using mathematics. The research includes mathematical models measuring how environmental, medical or physical changes to the human body affect sleep, in order to more fully understand the sleep-wake cycle.

So while you may still be recovering from the hour of sleep you lost during our recent "spring forward, " we might soon have more scientific understanding of the impact that such sleep factors have on our bodies.

Just in time…

In case there’s still any recognizable trace of pending success left in your NCAA tournament bracket this year, here’s a new angle to consider. Economists have presented findings supporting the idea that basketball refs may be biased in many of their calls. We’ve considered the possibility for a long time, but now, thanks to math, we have evidence!

One million digits of pi

While the world celebrated pi day over the weekend, you may have felt that your memorization skills could use some sharpening. Or maybe you just plan to outshine the competition in next March’s pi recitation contests. Either way, take a look here to start practicing your digits, so you’re not left embarrassed when someone asks you the question and you can only remember the first two places–anyone can do that.