As we entered our first week of summer here in North America, the week’s biggest hits included a strong bent toward several “lighter” mathematical topics: learning how math drives Formula One and launches Angry Birds, mathematical mayhem — inspiring young minds at MoMATH, and Pi Day under attack. You also won’t want to miss molecules exhibiting strange, exotic states of matter, hot lava flows discovered on Venus, and some of the coolest experimental technology showcased at this year’s Paris Air Show.

**Are you a Tau-ist? Pi Day is Under Attack**

As June 28, 2015, approaches, the Internet is once again anticipating controversy as the mathematical constant pi comes under threat from a group of detractors who will be marking “Tau Day.” Tau Day’s revelers are campaigning for a constant twice as large as pi (about 6.28) to take its place, hence the June 28 celebration. Tau proponents say that, for many mathematical problems, tau makes more sense and makes calculations easier.

**MoMATH: Hands-on Mathematics Inspiring Young Minds**

My first impression upon entering the National Museum of Mathematics could be described as complete mathematical mayhem. Pre-teenagers were swarming dozens of exhibits in what seemed more like a huge play area than a museum dedicated to the study of an abstract science of numbers, quantity and shapes. However, as I waded in and began to understand specific exhibits, it quickly became obvious that this was a special place.

**Hits at Paris Air Show: Vertical Lift-off, Tiny Satellites**

Planes you can park in your garage. Satellites that fit in your backpack. Some of the coolest experimental technology showcased at this year’s Paris Air Show is about thinking small — though it’s easy to get distracted by the huge aircraft performing overhead, from thundering fighter jets to the surprising near-vertical liftoff of a Boeing passenger jet. These innovative ideas may change the way we travel, wage wars or explore space.

**Hot Lava Flows Discovered on Venus**

Some models of planetary evolution suggest that Venus was resurfaced in a cataclysmic flood of lava around half a billion years ago. But whether Venus is active today has remained a hot topic in planetary science. ESA’s Venus Express, which completed its eight-year study of the planet last year, conducted a range of observations at different wavelengths to address this important question.

**Free Online Course to teach how Math drives Formula One and launches Angry Birds**

Tapping at mobile phone games, waking up to sunlight on a pleasant morning or watching a Formula One race — such experiences are at the heart of modern life, and mathematics is working behind the scenes on all of them. Math is also used in many disciplines — from economics to engineering, biology to geography. But many of us struggle with math, and find formulas and theories difficult to grasp. A free online course could help.

**Near Absolute Zero, Molecules Exhibit Strange, Exotic States of Matter**

The air around us is a chaotic superhighway of molecules whizzing through space and constantly colliding at speeds of hundreds of miles per hour. Such erratic behavior is normal at ambient temperatures. But scientists have long suspected that, if temperatures were to plunge to near absolute zero, they would come to a screeching halt. This more orderly behavior would begin to form very strange, exotic states of matter never observed…