Math in the News
Forget the Needle; Consider the Haystack
From Science Daily: Advances in computer storage have created collections of data so huge that researchers often have trouble uncovering critical patterns in connections among individual items, making it difficult for them to realize fully the power of computing as a research tool. Now, computer scientists at Princeton University have developed a method that offers a solution to this data overload. Using a mathematical method that calculates the likelihood of a pattern repeating throughout a subset of data, the researchers have been able to cut dramatically the time needed to find patterns in large collections of information such as social networks. The tool allows researchers to identify quickly the connections between seemingly disparate groups such as theoretical physicists who study intermolecular forces and astrophysicists researching black holes.
Art Could Help Create a Better 'STEM' Student
From Science Daily: Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) have become part of educational vernacular, as colleges, universities and other institutions strive to raise the profile of the areas of study and the number of graduates in each field. Now a project from the University of Houston College of Education Urban Talent Research Institute encourages the incorporation of creative endeavors to attract more and better STEM students.
Can iPads Help Students Learn Science? Yes, Study Shows
From Science Daily: The scale of the universe can be difficult to comprehend. Pretend you are going to make a scale model with a basketball representing Earth and a tennis ball as the Moon. How far would you hold the tennis ball "Moon" from the basketball "Earth?" Most people would hold them at arm's length from each other, but the answer may surprise you: at that scale the balls would need to be held almost 30 feet apart.
Study Highlights Massive Benefits of HIV Treatment in South Africa
From Science Daily: Antiretroviral therapy (ART) for the treatment of HIV infection has saved 2.8 million years of life in South Africa since 2004 and is projected to save an additional 15.1 million years of life by 2030, according to a new study published online in The Journal of Infectious Diseases. The analysis suggests these dramatic benefits could be even greater if more aggressive HIV testing and treatment strategies are implemented.
The Oracle of the T Cell
From Science Daily: A platform that simulates how the body defends itself: The T cells of the immune system decide whether to trigger an immune response against foreign substances. Since December 2013, scientists from around the world can use the "virtual T cell" to test for themselves what happens in the blood cell when receptor proteins are activated on the surface. Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schamel from the Institute of Biology III, Facutly of Biology, the Cluster of Excellence BIOSS Centre for Biological Signalling Studies and the Center of Chromic Immunodeficiency of the University of Freiburg is coordinating the European Union-funded project SYBILLA, "Systems Biology of T-Cell Activation in Health and Disease." This consortium of 17 partners from science and industry has been working since 2008 to understand the T cell as a system. Now the findings of the project are available to the public on an interactive platform. Simulating the signaling pathways in the cell enables researchers to develop new therapeutic approaches for cancer, autoimmune diseases, and infectious diseases.
In the Case of Wholesale Food Distributors, It's All About Location
From Science Daily: In all but the shortest supply chains, food travels through wholesale distribution centers on its way from farm to consumer, and the location of these distributors can have a big impact on the efficiency of a food system. Now, a new mathematical model can help business owners and policy makers determine the optimal locations for such distributors, thanks to a research team led by an engineer in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.
No Qualms About Quantum Theory
From Science Daily: A colloquium paper published in The European Physical Journal D looks into the alleged issues associated with quantum theory. Berthold-Georg Englert from the National University of Singapore reviews a selection of the potential problems of the theory. In particular, he discusses cases when mathematical tools are confused with the actual observed sub-atomic scale phenomena they are describing. Such tools are essential to provide an interpretation of the observations, but cannot be confused with the actual object of studies.
ADHD Study: Expensive Training Programs Don't Help Grades, Behavior
From Science Daily: Many parents spend thousands of dollars on computer-based training programs that claim to help children with ADHD succeed in the classroom and in peer relationships while reducing hyperactivity and inattentiveness. But a University of Central Florida researcher says parents are better off saving their hard-earned cash.
Selecting Mathematical Models With Greatest Predictive Power: Finding Occam's Razor in an Era of Information Overload
From Science Daily: How can the actions and reactions of proteins so small or stars so distant they are invisible to the human eye be accurately predicted? How can blurry images be brought into focus and reconstructed? A new study led by physicist Steve Pressé, Ph.D., of the School of Science at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, shows that there may be a preferred strategy for selecting mathematical models with the greatest predictive power. Picking the best model is about sticking to the simplest line of reasoning, according to Pressé. His paper explaining his theory is published online this month in Physical Review Letters.
HIV Virus Spread, Evolution Studied Through Computer Modeling
From Science Daily: Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory are investigating the complex relationships between the spread of the HIV virus in a population (epidemiology) and the actual, rapid evolution of the virus (phylogenetics) within each patient's body.
Math and Juggling Lead to Better Problem-Solving Tools, Professor Says
From Science Daily: Steve Butler casually tosses a ball from his left hand to his right to demonstrate his point that anyone can juggle. With just one ball it's easy, until he changes it up and adds a second and a third ball to the mix. Still, the assistant professor of mathematics at Iowa State University says the secret to juggling is simple -- it's all about patterns.
Von Neumann-Day Problem: Vexing Math Problem Finds an Elegant Solution
From Science Daily: A famous math problem that has vexed mathematicians for decades has met an elegant solution by Cornell University researchers. Graduate student Yash Lodha, working with Justin Moore, professor of mathematics, has described a geometric solution for the von Neumann-Day problem, first described by mathematician John von Neumann in 1929.
What Water Looks Like to DNA
From Science Daily: A team of biochemists and mathematicians have developed a sophisticated geometric model to predict how a biological molecule will interact with water molecules, computing the results up to 20 times faster than other existing approaches. This new approach may help researchers find new drugs to treat human diseases, said the team, who described their theoretical approach in The Journal of Chemical Physics, which is produced by AIP Publishing.
Computer Scientists Create New 3-D Technique
From Science Daily: UT Dallas computer scientists have developed a technique to create 3-D images that finds practical applications of a theory created by a famous mathematician. This technique uses anisotropic triangles -- triangles with sides that vary in length depending on their direction -- to create 3-D "mesh" computer graphics of more accurate approximations of the shape of the original object, and in a shorter amount of time than current techniques. These types of images are used in movies, video games and computer modeling of various phenomena, such as the flow of water or air across the earth, the deformation and wrinkles of clothes on the human body, or in mechanical and other types of engineering designs. Researchers hope this technique will also lead to greater accuracy in models of human organs to more effectively treat human diseases, such as cancer.
Mathematical Analysis Helps Untangle Bacterial Chromosomes
From Science Daily: When an E. coli cell divides, it must replicate its circular chromosome and pull the resulting circles apart to take up residence in two new cells. It sounds easy enough -- like a magician's trick with rings -- but actually involves a complicated process of unknotting and unlinking of tangled DNA.In a new study, published online this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, SF State Associate Professor of Mathematics Mariel Vazquez and an international team of scientists offer a mathematical analysis of how these chromosomal rings are unlinked by XerCD recombination enzymes.
Educational Video Games Can Boost Motivation to Learn
From Science Daily: Math video games can enhance students' motivation to learn, but it may depend on how students play, researchers at New York University and the City University of New York have found in a study of middle-schoolers. While playing a math video game either competitively or collaboratively with another player -- as compared to playing alone -- students adopted a mastery mindset that is highly conducive to learning. Moreover, students' interest and enjoyment in playing the math video game increased when they played with another student.
Creatures of Influence
From Science Daily: In the children's game "Jenga," removing the wrong block from a tower of wooden blocks can cause the entire tower to collapse. In the same way, removing certain species from an ecosystem can cause a collapse in ecological function. A common scientific question has been to identify these critical species in different ecosystems and an international research team has developed mathematical tools that can estimate which species are most influential in a food web.
Eliminating Unexplained Traffic Jams: New Algorithm to Alleviate Traffic Flow Instabilities
From Science Daily: Everybody's experienced it: a miserable backup on the freeway, which you think must be caused by an accident or construction, but which at some point thins out for no apparent reason. Such "traffic flow instabilities" have been a subject of scientific study since the 1930s, but although there are a half-dozen different ways to mathematically model them, little has been done to prevent them.
Are you ready to retire?
From Science Daily: In a paper published last month in the SIAM Journal on Applied Mathematics, authors Carmen Calvo-Garrido, Andrea Pascucci, and Carlos V zquez present a partial differential equation (PDE) model governing the value of a defined pension plan including the option for early retirement.
Spatial, Written Language Skills Predict Math Competence
From Science Daily: Early math skills are emerging as important to later academic achievement. As many countries seek to strengthen their workforces in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields, understanding the early contributions to math skills becomes increasingly vital. New longitudinal research from Finland has found that children's early spatial skills and knowledge of written letters, rather than oral language skills, predict competence in this area.
Baby's Innate Number Sense Predicts Future Math Skill
From Science Daily: Babies who are good at telling the difference between large and small groups of items even before learning how to count are more likely to do better with numbers in the future, according to new research from the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences.
The Math Says Red Sox Have a Big Edge in the World Series
From Science Daily: Now that the World Series is about to begin, NJIT math professor Bruce Bukiet has announced the probability of each of the contenders winning the best 4 out of 7 game contest. "The Boston Red Sox have a nearly 70% chance of winning the series," says Bukiet. But he gives the caveat that the St. Louis Cardinals have defeated both the competition and his mathematical model in each of their previous series.
Mathematical Study of Photosynthesis Clears the Path to Developing New Super-Crops
From Science Daily: How some plant species evolved super-efficient photosynthesis had been a mystery. Now, scientists have identified what steps led to that change. Using a mathematical analysis, the authors uncovered a number of tiny changes in the plants' physiology that, when combined, allow them to grow more quickly; using a third as much water as other plants; and capture around thirteen times more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
New Analysis of US Elementary School Mathematics Finds Half-Century of Problematic 'Strands' Structure
From Science Daily: During the "New Math" movement of the 1960s, a team of mathematicians developed a new structure for elementary mathematics. Instead of having a single subject, namely, school arithmetic, as its central core, this new structure instead had eight "strands" that were supposed to tie together elementary mathematics content. The strands structure has persisted to this day. In an article in the November 2013 issue of the Notices of the American Mathematical Society, Liping Ma argues that the strands structure has significantly weakened U.S. school mathematics.
How Earth's Rotation Affects Vortices in Nature, Such as Hurricanes and Ocean Currents
From Science Daily: What do smoke rings, tornadoes and the Great Red Spot of Jupiter have in common? They are all examples of vortices, regions within a fluid (liquid, gas or plasma) where the flow spins around an imaginary straight or curved axis. Understanding how geophysical (natural world) vortices behave can be critical for tasks such as weather forecasting and environmental pollution monitoring.
Math-Based Projections for MLB Postseason
From Science Daily: Now that Major League Baseball's regular season has ended with the exciting one-game tiebreaker that got the Rays to the next round, and with the Rays and the Pirates winning the one game playoff for the wild card team, NJIT math professor Bruce Bukiet has once again begun analyzing the probability of each team advancing through each round of baseball's postseason.
Peer Pressure's Influence Calculated by Mathematician
From Science Daily: A mathematician has calculated how peer pressure influences society. Professor Ernesto Estrada, of the University of Strathclyde's Department of Mathematics and Statistics, examined the effect of direct and indirect social influences -- otherwise known as peer pressure -- on how decisions are reached on important issues. Using mathematical models, he analysed data taken from 15 networks -- including US school superintendents and Brazilian farmers -- to outline peer pressure's crucial role in society.
Gender Barriers, Not Families, to Blame for Shortage of Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Careers
From Science Daily: Researchers at the University of Texas-Austin and Cornell University have published a new study examining the factors behind the shortage of women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. They find no evidence that women are opting out of the STEM workforce to start families, in contrast to the widespread perception that family factors account for the lack of women in STEM-related careers.
Unlocking Biology With Math
From Science Daily: Scientists at USC have created a mathematical model that explains and predicts the biological process that creates antibody diversity -- the phenomenon that keeps us healthy by generating robust immune systems through hypermutation.
Educational Game Uses Architectural Design to Teach Math Skills
From Science Daily: Rebuilding a city from the ground up requires math skills, knowledge of architectural design, common sense and an appreciation for what residents need and want from their city. It can also be fun. Florida State University College of Education's Fengfeng Ke, an assistant professor in the Educational Psychology and Learning Systems department, is creating a computer game called Earthquake Rebuild that encourages creativity in design and uses architecture to teach geometry and other math skills. Ke and her team of fellow educators have been awarded a $549,937 National Science Foundation grant to support the creation of this game-based learning platform.
Researchers Successfully Test Model for Implant Device Reactions
From Science Daily: A team from the University of Texas at Arlington has used mathematical modeling to develop a computer simulation they hope will one day improve the treatment of dangerous reactions to medical implants such as stents, catheters and artificial joints.
Math Explains History: Simulation Accurately Captures the Evolution of Ancient Complex Societies
From Science Daily: The question of how human societies evolve from small groups to the huge, anonymous and complex societies of today has been answered mathematically, accurately matching the historical record on the emergence of complex states in the ancient world. Intense warfare is the evolutionary driver of large complex societies, according to new research from a trans-disciplinary team at the University of Connecticut, the University of Exeter in England, and the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS). The study appears this week as an open-access article in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
New Teaching Method Improves Math Skills, Closes Gender Gap in Young Students
From Science Daily: When early elementary math teachers ask students to explain their problem-solving strategies and then tailor instruction to address specific gaps in their understanding, students learn significantly more than those taught using a more traditional approach. This was the conclusion of a yearlong study of nearly 5,000 kindergarten and first-grade students conducted by researchers at Florida State University.
Americans Grade Math as the Most Valuable School Subject
From Gallup Politics: Math is the clear winner when Americans are asked to say which school subject has been most valuable to them in their lives, followed by language arts -- English, literature, or reading -- and science. Math and English were also the top two subjects when Gallup first asked this question in 2002.
How to Fall in Love with Math
From The New York Times: EACH time I hear someone say, "Do the math," I grit my teeth. Invariably a reference to something mundane like addition or multiplication, the phrase reinforces how little awareness there is about the breadth and scope of the subject, how so many people identify mathematics with just one element: arithmetic. Imagine, if you will, using, "Do the lit" as an exhortation to spell correctly.
Non-Traditional Mathematics Curriculum Results in Higher Standardized Test Scores
From Science Daily: For many years, studies have shown that American students score significantly lower than students worldwide in mathematics achievement, ranking 25th among 34 countries. Now, researchers from the University of Missouri have found high school students in the United States achieve higher scores on a standardized mathematics test if they study from a curriculum known as integrated mathematics.
iPad App Teaches Students Key Skill for Success in Math, Science, Engineering
From Science Daily: Engineers at the University of California, San Diego, have developed an iPad app that helps students learn spatial visualization, an essential skill for doing well in science, math and engineering. They have been testing the app during a high school summer program at the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego, as well as on undergraduate students at the school.
Tracking Criminal Movement Using Math
From Science Daily: One way to study criminal behavior and predict a criminal's next move is by analyzing his or her movement. Several mathematical models have addressed this in detail, in particular, the UCLA "burglary hotspot" model, also the topic of a previous Nugget published by the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM).
Robots Take Over Economy: Sudden Rise of Global Ecology of Interacting Robots Trade at Speeds Too Fast for Humans
From Science Daily: Recently, the global financial market experienced a series of computer glitches that abruptly brought operations to a halt. One reason for these "flash freezes" may be the sudden emergence of mobs of ultrafast robots, which trade on the global markets and operate at speeds beyond human capability, thus overwhelming the system. The appearance of this "ultrafast machine ecology" is documented in a new study published on September 11 in Nature Scientific Reports.
Arresting Model Stops Cars
From Science Daily: Researchers in China have developed a mathematical model that could help engineers design a flexible vehicle-arrest system for stopping cars involved in criminal activity or terrorism, such as suspect car bombers attempting break through a check point, without wrecking the car or killing the occupants.
The STEM Crisis Is a Myth
From IEEE Spectrum: You must have seen the warning a thousand times: Too few young people study scientific or technical subjects, businesses can't find enough workers in those fields, and the country's competitive edge is threatened. It pretty much doesn't matter what country you're talking about-the United States is facing this crisis, as is Japan, the United Kingdom, Australia, China, Brazil, South Africa, Singapore, India™the list goes on. In many of these countries, the predicted shortfall of STEM (short for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) workers is supposed to number in the hundreds of thousands or even the millions. A 2012 report by President Obama's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, for instance, stated that over the next decade, 1 million additional STEM graduates will be needed. In the U.K., the Royal Academy of Engineering reported last year that the nation will have to graduate 100 000 STEM majors every year until 2020 just to stay even with demand. Germany, meanwhile, is said to have a shortage of about 210 000 workers in what's known there as the MINT disciplines-mathematics, computer science, natural sciences, and technology.
How Vegetation Competes for Rainfall in Dry Regions
From Science Daily: The greater the plant density in a given area, the greater the amount of rainwater that seeps into the ground. This is due to a higher presence of dense roots and organic matter in the soil. Since water is a limited resource in many dry ecosystems, such as semi-arid environments and semi-deserts, there is a benefit to vegetation to adapt by forming closer networks with little space between plants. Hence, vegetation in semi-arid environments (or regions with low rainfall) self-organizes into patterns or "bands." The pattern formation occurs where stripes of vegetation run parallel to the contours of a hill, and are interlaid with stripes of bare ground. Banded vegetation is common where there is low rainfall. In a paper published last month in the SIAM Journal on Applied Mathematics, author Jonathan A. Sherratt uses a mathematical model to determine the levels of precipitation within which such pattern formation occurs.
Generosity Leads to Evolutionary Success, Biologists Show
From Science Daily: With new insights into the classical game theory match-up known as the "Prisoner's Dilemma," University of Pennsylvania biologists offer a mathematically based explanation for why cooperation and generosity have evolved in nature. Their work builds upon the seminal findings of economist John Nash, who advanced the field of game theory in the 1950s, as well as those of computational biologist William Press and physicist-mathematician Freeman Dyson, who last year identified a new class of strategies for succeeding in the Prisoner's Dilemma.
Matroid Theory: Mathematicians Solves 40-Year-Old Problem
From Science Daily: A team of mathematicians has solved a problem first posed more than 40 years ago that has confounded modern mathematicians, until now. Professor Jim Geelen of the University of Waterloo and his colleagues, Professor Bert Gerards of Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica and the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands, and Professor Geoff Whittle of Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand have proved the famous Rota's Conjecture. The three men worked for almost 15 years to solve this problem posed by the famous mathematician and philosopher Gian-Carlo Rota in 1970. Earlier this year, in Waterloo, the trio completed the final step in their epic project.
Do Girls Really Experience More Math Anxiety?
From Science Daily: Girls report more math anxiety on general survey measures but are not actually more anxious during math classes and exams, according to new research forthcoming in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
New Energy Model Offers Transparency to Let Others Replicate Findings
From Science Daily: Computer models are used to inform policy decisions about energy, but existing models are generally "black boxes" that don't show how they work, making it impossible for anyone to replicate their findings. Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a new open-source model and are sharing the data they put into it, to allow anyone to check their work -- an important advance given the environmental and economic impact of energy policy decisions.
Fractions Gain Traction With Real-Life Models
From Science Daily: If 3 is greater than 2, then ⅓ must be bigger than ½ -- right? Wrong. As thousands of students head back to school next week, many will use exactly that kind of thinking when faced with fractions for the first time. New research from Concordia University shows that for children to understand math, teachers must constantly make the connection between abstract numbers and real world examples.
Rethinking Investment Risk
From Science Daily: Does financial innovation inherently lead to greater risk in markets? An MIT economist takes a new look at the problem and says it does. Financial innovation is supposed to reduce risk -- in theory, at least. Yes, new financial instruments based on the housing market helped cause the financial crisis of 2008. But in the abstract, those same instruments have the potential to spread risk more evenly throughout the marketplace by making it possible to trade debt more extensively, rather than having it concentrated in a relatively few hands.
Stabilizing Aircraft During Takeoff and Landing Using Math
From Science Daily: One of the lesser known concerns about commercial aircraft is their stability on the ground during taxiing, takeoff, and landing. During these processes, planes must maintain stability under various operating conditions. However, in some situations, the aircraft landing gear displays unwanted oscillations, which are referred to as shimmy oscillations. In a paper published last month in the SIAM Journal on Applied Dynamical Systems, authors Chris Howcroft, Bernd Krauskopf, Mark Lowenberg, and Simon Neild study the dynamics of aircraft landing gear using nonlinear models. The dynamics of landing gear shimmy and the wheel-ground interaction are fundamentally nonlinear.
Computer Can Read Letters Directly from the Brain
From Science Daily: By analysing MRI images of the brain with an elegant mathematical model, it is possible to reconstruct thoughts more accurately than ever before. In this way, researchers from Radboud University Nijmegen have succeeded in determining which letter a test subject was looking at.
Answering Critical Questions to Respond to Anthrax Attack
From Science Daily: If terrorists targeted the United States with an anthrax attack, health care providers and policy makers would need key information -- such as knowing the likelihood of an individual becoming infected, how many cases to expect and in what pattern, and how long to give antibiotics -- to protect people from the deadly bacteria.
Preschoolers Inability to Estimate Quantity Relates to Later Math Difficulty
From Science Daily: Preschool children who showed less ability to estimate the number of objects in a group were 2.4 times more likely to have a later mathematical learning disability than other young people, according to a team of University of Missouri psychologists. Parents may be able to help their children develop their skills at approximating group sizes by emphasizing numerals while interacting with young children.
Shadows and Light: New Software to Detect Forged Photos
From Science Daily: Dartmouth and UC Berkeley researchers have developed new software to detect faked photos, using a geometric algorithm to locate inconsistent shadows that are not obvious to the naked eye. The new method debunks claims that the Apollo 11 lunar landing photo is fake.
Practice at 'Guesstimating' Can Speed Up Math Ability
From Science Daily: A person's math ability can range from simple arithmetic to calculus and abstract set theory. But there's one math skill we all share: a primitive ability to estimate and compare quantities without counting, like when choosing a checkout line at the grocery store. Previous studies have suggested there's a connection between how well a person does at the approximate number system and how skilled they become at the symbolic math they learn in school. Duke University researchers wanted to know if this ability could be enhanced by giving people more practice at approximate number math.
Simple Math Sheds New Light On a Long-Studied Biological Process
From Science Daily: One of the most basic and intensively studied processes in biology -- one which has been detailed in biology textbooks for decades -- has gained a new level of understanding, thanks to the application of simple math to a problem that scientists never before thought could benefit from mathematics.
Questions Answered With the Pupils of Your Eyes
From Science News:Patients who are otherwise completely unable to communicate can answer yes or no questions within seconds with the help of a simple system -- consisting of just a laptop and camera -- that measures nothing but the size of their pupils. The tool, described and demonstrated in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, on August 5 takes advantage of changes in pupil size that naturally occur when people do mental arithmetic. It requires no specialized equipment or training at all.
New Research Aids Ability to Predict Solar Storms, Protect Earth
From Science News: Three new solar modeling developments at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) are bringing scientists closer to being able to predict the occurrence and timing of coronal mass ejections from the sun. A solar mass ejection (CME) has been likened to a huge space tornado or a space hurricane blasting off from the sun with such size that it dwarfs Earth, and a powerful direct hit can deform Earth's magnetic field and fry the circuits of orbiting satellites, spacecraft and delicate terrestrial electronics, turning our technology-dependent planet into a post-Katrina New Orleans-type melee on a massive scale.
Bacteria Hold the Clues to Trade-Offs in Financial Investments and Evolution
From Science News: Scientists have found that bacteria have the potential to teach valuable investment lessons. The research, published in the journal Ecology Letters, takes advantage of the fact that bacteria, like humans, have limited resources and are constantly faced with investment decisions.
Computer Scientists Develop 'Mathematical Jigsaw Puzzles' to Encrypt Software
From Science Daily: UCLA computer science professor Amit Sahai and a team of researchers have designed a system to encrypt software so that it only allows someone to use a program as intended while preventing any deciphering of the code behind it. This is known in computer science as "software obfuscation," and it is the first time it has been accomplished.
New Light Shed On Cause of Pandemic Influenza
From Science Daily: With the use of sophisticated mathematical modelling techniques, a mathematician at PolyU and his co-researchers have completed a study that explains the phenomenon of multiple waves of influenza pandemic in the last century. With the use of sophisticated mathematical modelling techniques, a mathematician at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) and his co-researchers have completed a study that explains the phenomenon of multiple waves of influenza pandemic in the last century.
Link Between Quantum Physics and Game Theory Found
From Science Daily: A deep link between two seemingly unconnected areas of modern science has been discovered by researchers from the Universities of Bristol and Geneva. While research tends to become very specialized and entire communities of scientists can work on specific topics with only a little overlap between them, physicist Dr Nicolas Brunner and mathematician Professor Noah Linden worked together to uncover a deep and unexpected connection between their two fields of expertise: game theory and quantum physics.
Computer as Smart as a 4-Year-Old? Researchers IQ Test New Artificial Intelligence System
From Science Daily: Artificial and natural knowledge researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have IQ-tested one of the best available artificial intelligence systems to see how intelligent it really is. Turns out it's about as smart as the average 4-year-old, they will report July 17 at the U.S. Artificial Intelligence Conference in Bellevue, Wash.
Early Spatial Reasoning Predicts Later Creativity and Innovation, Especially in STEM Fields
From Science Daily: Exceptional spatial ability at age 13 predicts creative and scholarly achievements more than 30 years later, according to results from a Vanderbilt University longitudinal study, published today in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. The study, conducted by David Lubinski and colleagues at Vanderbilt University Peabody College of education and human development, provides evidence that early spatial ability -- the skill required to mentally manipulate 2D and 3D objects -- predicts the development of new knowledge, and especially innovation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) domains, above and beyond more traditional measures of mathematical and verbal ability.
The Universe or the Brain: Where Does Math Originate?
From Science Daily: Math describes and predicts the world all around us -- from the helical structure of DNA to the spirals of galaxies. But does this mean our world is inherently mathematical? The question has become a hot topic of debate as neuroscientists continue to uncover mathematical abilities we seem to be born with, and have pinpointed regions in the brain responsible for mathematical thinking. "[N]umbers are not properties of the universe, but rather they reflect the biological grounding for how people make sense of the world," says Rafael Núñez, professor of cognitive science at the University of California, San Diego and member of UCSD's Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind.
Device Physics: Simulating Electronic Smog
From Science Daily: A mathematical model that predicts the electromagnetic radiation produced by circuit boards could help to improve designs and lower costs. A research team from A*STAR and Samsung Electronics has developed a fast and accurate way to estimate the electromagnetic emissions from printed circuit boards that could help designers to ensure that devices meet regulatory standards.
Math Game More Effective Than Paper Exercises
From Science Daily: To measure the effectiveness of Monkey Tales, a study was carried out with 88 second grade pupils divided into three groups. One group was asked to play the game for a period of three weeks while the second group had to solve similar math exercises on paper and a third group received no assignment. The math performance of the children was measured using an electronic arithmetic test before and after the test period. When results were compared, the children who had played the game provided significantly more correct answers: 6% more than before, compared to only 4% for the group that made traditional exercises and 2% for the control group. In addition, both the group that played the game and that which did the exercises were able to solve the test 30% faster while the group without assignment was only 10% faster.
Teacher Collaboration, Professional Communities Improve Many Elementary School Students' Math Scores
From Science Daily: Many elementary students' math performance improves when their teachers collaborate, work in professional learning communities or do both, yet most students don't spend all of their elementary school years in these settings, a new study by UNC Charlotte researchers shows. The U.S. Department of Education funded the study, which the journal Sociology of Education recently published.
Giant Planets Offer Help in Faster Research On Material Surfaces
From Science Daily: New, fast and accurate algorithm from the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, based on the mathematical formalism used to model processes accompanying interaction of light with gas planet atmospheres, is a major step towards better understanding of physical and chemical properties of materials' surfaces studied under laboratory conditions.
Math Technique De-Clutters Cancer-Cell Data, Revealing Tumor Evolution, Treatment Leads
From Science Daily: In our daily lives, clutter is something that gets in our way, something that makes it harder for us to accomplish things. For doctors and scientists trying to parse mountains of raw biological data, clutter is more than a nuisance; it can stand in the way of figuring out how best to treat someone who is very sick. Using increasingly cheap and rapid methods to read the billions of "letters" that comprise human genomes -- including the genomes of individual cells sampled from cancerous tumors -- scientists are generating far more data than they can easily interpret.
Spooky Action Put to Order: Different Types of 'Entanglement' Classified
From Science Daily: "I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics." Thus spoke the American physicist Richard Feynman -- underlining that even leading scientists struggle to develop an intuitive feeling for quantum mechanics. One reason for this is that quantum phenomena often have no counterpart in classical physics. A typical example is the quantum entanglement: Entangled particles seem to directly influence one another, no matter how widely separated they are. It looks as if the particles can 'communicate' with one another across arbitrary distances. Albert Einstein, famously, called this seemingly paradoxical behaviour "spooky action at a distance."
Pendulum Swings Back On 350-Year-Old Mathematical Mystery
From Science Daily: A 350-year-old mathematical mystery could lead toward a better understanding of medical conditions like epilepsy or even the behavior of predator-prey systems in the wild, University of Pittsburgh researchers report. The mystery dates back to 1665, when Dutch mathematician, astronomer, and physicist Christiaan Huygens, inventor of the pendulum clock, first observed that two pendulum clocks mounted together could swing in opposite directions. The cause was tiny vibrations in the beam caused by both clocks, affecting their motions.
Using Math to Kill Cancer Cells
From Science Daily: Here's a good reason to pay attention in math class. Today Nature Communications has published a paper from Ottawa researchers outlining how advanced mathematical modelling can be used in the fight against cancer. The technique predicts how different treatments and genetic modifications might allow cancer-killing, oncolytic viruses to overcome the natural defences that cancer cells use to stave off viral infection.
Cities Are a New Kind of Complex System: Part Social Reactor, Part Network
From Science Daily: Cities have long been likened to organisms, ant colonies, and river networks. But these and other analogies fail to capture the essence of how cities really function. New research by Santa Fe Institute Professor Luis Bettencourt suggests a city is something new in nature -- a sort of social reactor that is part star and part network, he says.
Biological Arithmetic: Plants Do Sums to Get Through the Night
From Science Daily: New research shows that to prevent starvation at night, plants perform accurate arithmetic division. The calculation allows them to use up their starch reserves at a constant rate so that they run out almost precisely at dawn. "This is the first concrete example in a fundamental biological process of such a sophisticated arithmetic calculation." said mathematical modeller Professor Martin Howard from the John Innes Centre.
Spatial Training Boosts Math Skills
From Science Daily: Training young children in spatial reasoning can improve their math performance, according to a groundbreaking study from Michigan State University education scholars. The researchers trained 6- to 8-year-olds in mental rotation, a spatial ability, and found their scores on addition and subtraction problems improved significantly. The mental rotation training involved imagining how two halves of an object would come together to make a whole, when the halves have been turned at an angle.
Computer Models Shed New Light On Sickle Cell Crisis
From Science Daily:Using powerful computer models, researchers from Brown University have shown for the first time how different types of red blood cells interact to cause sickle cell crisis, a dangerous blockage of blood flow in capillaries that causes searing pain and tissue damage in people with sickle cell disease. The models showed that the rigid, crescent-shaped red blood cells that are the hallmark of sickle cell disease don't cause these blockages on their own. Instead, softer, deformable red blood cells known as SS2 cells start the process by sticking to capillary walls. The rigid sickle-shaped cells then stack up behind the SS2s, like traffic behind a car wreck.
Researchers Track Facial Expressions to Improve Teaching Software
From Science Daily: Research from North Carolina State University shows that software which tracks facial expressions can accurately assess the emotions of students engaged in interactive online learning and predict the effectiveness of online tutoring sessions.
A Mathematical Ranking Classifies Tennis Players by Assessing Their Play
From Science Daily: Researchers from the Miguel Hern ndez University of Elche have used mathematical techniques and the game statistics from the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) to rank tennis players based on assessing their play and thus complement the ATP ranking obtained on the basis of matches won during the competition.
Monkey Math: Baboons Show Brain's Ability to Understand Numbers
From Science Daily: Opposing thumbs, expressive faces, complex social systems: it's hard to miss the similarities between apes and humans. Now a new study with a troop of zoo baboons and lots of peanuts shows that a less obvious trait -- the ability to understand numbers -- also is shared by humans and their primate cousins. "The human capacity for complex symbolic math is clearly unique to our species," says co-author Jessica Cantlon, assistant professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester. "But where did this numeric prowess come from? In this study we've shown that non-human primates also possess basic quantitative abilities. In fact, non-human primates can be as accurate at discriminating between different quantities as a human child."
Early Math and Reading Ability Linked to Job and Income in Adulthood
From Science Daily: Math and reading ability at age 7 may be linked with socioeconomic status several decades later, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. The childhood abilities predict socioeconomic status in adulthood over and above associations with intelligence, education, and socioeconomic status in childhood.
Mathematical Model Measures Hidden HIV
From Science Daily: Scientists have long believed that measuring the amount of HIV in a person's blood is an indicator of whether the virus is actively reproducing. A University of Delaware-led research team reports new evidence that hidden virus replication may be occurring within the body's tissue, despite undetectable virus levels in the blood.
Can Math Models of Gaming Strategies Be Used to Detect Terrorism Networks?
From Science Daily: The answer is yes, according to a paper in the SIAM Journal on Discrete Mathematics. In a paper published in the journal last month, authors Anthony Bonato, Dieter Mitsche, and Pawel Pralat describe a mathematical model to disrupt flow of information in a complex real-world network, such as a terrorist organization, using minimal resources.
Fast and Painless Way to Better Mental Arithmetic? Yes, There Might Actually Be a Way
From Science Daily: In the future, if you want to improve your ability to manipulate numbers in your head, you might just plug yourself in. So say researchers who report in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on May 16 on studies of a harmless form of brain stimulation applied to an area known to be important for math ability. "With just five days of cognitive training and noninvasive, painless brain stimulation, we were able to bring about long-lasting improvements in cognitive and brain functions," says Roi Cohen Kadosh of the University of Oxford.
Most Math Being Taught in Kindergarten Is Old News to Students
From Science Daily: Kindergarten teachers report spending much of their math instructional time teaching students basic counting skills and how to recognize geometric shapes -- skills the students have already mastered before ever setting foot in the kindergarten classroom, new research finds. The findings reveal a misalignment between what the students are being taught and what they already know. "This study is one of the first to raise the question: Is the content that teachers report teaching in kindergarten meeting the needs of the majority of their students?" Mimi Engel, assistant professor of public policy and education at Vanderbilt's Peabody College and lead author of the study, said.
Computational Tool Translates Complex Data Into Simplified Two-Dimensional Images
From Science Daily: In their quest to learn more about the variability of cells between and within tissues, biomedical scientists have devised tools capable of simultaneously measuring dozens of characteristics of individual cells. These technologies have led to new challenges, however, as scientists now struggle with how to make sense of the resulting trove of data. Now a solution may be at hand. Researchers at Columbia University and Stanford University have developed a computational method that enables scientists to visualize and interpret "high-dimensional" data produced by single-cell measurement technologies such as mass cytometry.
Einstein's 'Spooky Action' Common in Large Quantum Systems
From Science Daily: Entanglement is a property in quantum mechanics that seemed so unbelievable and so lacking in detail that, 66 years ago this spring, Einstein called it "spooky action at a distance." But a mathematician at Case Western Reserve University and two of his recent PhD graduates show entanglement is actually prevalent in large quantum systems and have identified the threshold at which it occurs.
Statistical Model Predicts Number of Goals for Each Soccer Player
From Science Daily: After analysing football league players over nine seasons, from 2000 to 2009, Spanish researchers have come up with a mathematical method for estimating the goal-scoring performance of each player. According to their ranking, the most able strikers are Messi, Ronaldo Naz rio, Makkay, Villa and Etoo.
Mathematical Models to Better Combat HIV
From Science Daily: The first few hours to days following exposure to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) can be of critical importance in determining if infection occurs in a patient. But the low numbers of viruses and infected cells at this stage makes it very difficult to study these events in humans or animal models. Theoretical mathematical models can help analyze viral dynamics in this early phase, and hence offer insights into therapeutic and prevention strategies, as evidenced by a paper published last month in the SIAM Journal on Applied Mathematics.
Surges in Latent Infections: Mathematical Analysis of Viral Blips
From Science Daily:Recurrent infection is a common feature of persistent viral diseases. It includes episodes of high viral production interspersed by periods of relative quiescence. These quiescent or silent stages are hard to study with experimental models. Mathematical analysis can help fill in the gaps. In a paper titled Conditions for Transient Viremia in Deterministic in-Host Models: Viral Blips Need No Exogenous Trigger, published last month in the SIAM Journal on Applied Mathematics, authors Wenjing Zhang, Lindi M. Wahl, and Pei Yu present a model to study persistent infections.
Mathematical Method for Simulating the Evolution of the Solar System Improved
From Science Daily: In order to improve a simulation designed to study the evolution of the solar system through time, numerical mathematical methods have been developed at the Computing Faculty of the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU). Specifically, the methods proposed enable the simulation calculations to be done faster and more accurately.
Girls and Math: Feelings of Power Can Diffuse Effects of Negative Stereotypes
From Science Daily: New research from social psychologists at Indiana University Bloomington suggests that feeling powerful might protect against the debilitating effects of negative stereotypes. "If you can make women feel powerful, then maybe you can protect them from the consequences of stereotype threat," IU social psychologist Katie Van Loo said.
Mathematics Provides a Shortcut to Timely, Cost-Effective Interventions for HIV
From Science Daily: Mathematical estimates of treatment outcomes can cut costs and provide faster delivery of preventative measures. South Africa is home to the largest HIV epidemic in the world with a total of 5.6 million people living with HIV. Large-scale clinical trials evaluating combination methods of prevention and treatment are often prohibitively expensive and take years to complete. In the absence of such trials, mathematical models can help assess the effectiveness of different HIV intervention combinations, as demonstrated in a new study by Elisa Long and Robert Stavert from Yale University in the US. Their findings appear in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, published by Springer.
Scientists Pinpoint Brain's Area for Numeral Recognition
From Science Daily: Scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine have determined the precise anatomical coordinates of a brain "hot spot," measuring only about one-fifth of an inch across, that is preferentially activated when people view the ordinary numerals we learn early on in elementary school, like "6" or "38."
'Big Data' Algorithm Used to Customize Video Game Difficulty
From Science Daily: Georgia Tech researchers have developed a computational model that can predict video game players' in-game performance and provide a corresponding challenge they can beat, leading to quicker mastery of new skills. The advance not only could help improve user experiences with video games but also applications beyond the gaming world.
Mathematical Models Out-Perform Doctors in Predicting Cancer Patients' Responses to Treatment
From Science Daily: Mathematical prediction models are better than doctors at predicting the outcomes and responses of lung cancer patients to treatment, according to new research presented today (Saturday) at the 2nd Forum of the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology (ESTRO).
Cellulose Goes Off the Rails: Without Microtubule Guidance, Cellulose Causes Changes in Organ Patterns During Growth
From Science Daily: Mathematics is everywhere in nature, and this is illustrated by the spiral patterns in plants such as pine cones, sunflowers or the arrangement of leaves around a stem. Most plants produce a new bud at 137 degrees from its predecessor, and this mathematical precision leads to observable helices. Normally, the relative position of organs does not change during growth, because the stems grow straight. But if the connection between the cytoskeleton and cellulose is removed, the cellulose fibres are synthesized in a tilted fashion and the stems start to twist. As a result, the angle between successive flowers disappears, and is instead replaced by other mathematical patterns that prove to be equally robust. Incidentally, this work suggests that in the absence of regulation, all plant stems should twist rather than grow straight.
Fermat's Last Theorem and More Can Be Proved More Simply
From Science Daily: Fermat's Last Theorem -- the idea that a certain simple equation had no solutions -- went unsolved for nearly 350 years until Oxford mathematician Andrew Wiles created a proof in 1995. Now, Case Western Reserve University's Colin McLarty has shown the theorem can be proved more simply.
Pancakes With a Side of Math: A Physiological Model for Sap Exudation in Maple Trees
From Science Daily: For many of us, maple syrup is an essential part of breakfast -- a staple accompaniment to pancakes and waffles -- but rarely do we think about the complicated and little-understood physiological aspects of syrup production. Each spring, maple growers in temperate regions around the world collect sap from sugar maple trees, which is one of the first steps in producing this delicious condiment. However, the mechanisms behind sap exudation -- processes that trigger pressure differences causing sap to flow -- in maple trees are a topic of much debate. In a paper published today in the SIAM Journal on Applied Mathematics, authors Maurizio Ceseri and John Stockie shed light on this subject by proposing a mathematical model for the essential physiological processes that drive sap flow.
What Can Sports Teams Learn from the Manufacturing Industry? Plenty
From Science Daily: What can sports teams learn from the manufacturing industry? Plenty, according to Timothy Chan of the University of Toronto (U of T) and Douglas Fearing of the Harvard Business School. Using statistics from the 2012 Major League Baseball season, Chan and Fearing found that positional flexibility -- the ability of a player to play multiple positions -- is valuable, responsible for up to 15 per cent of the team's runs, as was the case with the Chicago Cubs. Other teams like the Washington Nationals and the Tampa Bay Rays were less robust to injuries.
International Gender Difference in Math and Reading Scores Persists Regardless of Gender Equality
From Science Daily: Malala Yousafzai, the teenaged advocate for Pakistani girls' education, was released from the hospital earlier this month. Most of the world's girls don't have to fight as hard as Yousafzai for their education. However, even in countries with high gender equality, sex differences in math and reading scores persisted in the 75 nations examined by a University of Missouri and University of Leeds study. Girls consistently scored higher in reading, while boys got higher scores in math, but these gaps are linked and vary with overall social and economic conditions of the nation. A better understanding of these gaps and how they are related could help educators design curricula to help students of both genders apply their talents and deal with their weaknesses.
Treating Disease by the Numbers
From Science Daily: Mathematical modeling being tested by researchers at the School of Science at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and the IU School of Medicine has the potential to impact the knowledge and treatment of several diseases that continue to challenge scientists across the world.
Model Allows Engineers to Test Fuel Systems On Computers
From Science Daily: Engineers will be able to design better fuel systems for everything from motorcycles to rockets faster and more inexpensively because of a mathematical fuels model developed at The University of Alabama in Huntsville.
More Career Options May Explain Why Fewer Women Pursue Jobs in Science and Math
From Science Daily:Women may be less likely to pursue careers in science and math because they have more career choices, not because they have less ability, according to a new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. Although the gender gap in mathematics has narrowed in recent decades, with more females enrolling and performing well in math classes, females are still less likely to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) than their male peers.
Prescription for Double-Dose Algebra Proves Effective
From Science Daily: Martin Gartzman sat in his dentist's waiting room last fall when he read a study in Education Next that nearly brought him to tears. A decade ago, in his former position as chief math and science officer for Chicago Public Schools, Gartzman spearheaded an attempt to decrease ninth-grade algebra failure rates, an issue he calls "an incredibly vexing problem." His idea was to provide extra time for struggling students by having them take two consecutive periods of algebra.
New Lung Cancer Study Takes Page from Google's Playbook
From Science Daily: The same sort of mathematical model used to predict which websites people are most apt to visit is now showing promise in helping map how lung cancer spreads in the human body, according to a new study published in the journal Cancer Research.
72% Of Professors Who Teach Online Courses Don't Think Their Students Deserve Credit
From Tech Crunch: This is not a good sign for online education: 72 percent of professors who have taught Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) don't believe that students should get official college credit, even if they did well in the class. More importantly, these are the professors who voluntarily took time to teach online courses, which means the actual number of professors who discount the quality of MOOCs is probably much (much) higher. The survey reveals the Grand Canyon-size gap between the higher-education establishment and the coalition of tech companies and lawmakers that are mandating college credit for online courses.
How Does Innovation Take Hold in a Community? Math Modeling Can Provide Clues
From Science Daily: Mathematical models can be used to study the spread of technological innovations among individuals connected to each other by a network of peer-to-peer influences, such as in a physical community or neighborhood. One such model was introduced in a paper published yesterday in the SIAM Journal on Applied Dynamical Systems.
Mathematician Publishes 2013 Major League Baseball Projections
From Science Daily: It looks like 2013 will be a thrilling season for baseball fans as four of the six divisions can be expected to deliver tight races, says baseball guru NJIT Associate Professor and Associate Dean Bruce Bukiet. Over the years, Bukiet has applied mathematical analysis to compute the number of regular season games each Major League Baseball team should win. Though his expertise is in mathematical modeling, his projections have compared well with those of so-called experts.
Teachers' Gestures Boost Math Learning
From Science Daily: Students perform better when their instructors use hand gestures -- a simple teaching tool that could yield benefits in higher-level math such as algebra. study published in Child Development, the top-ranked educational psychology journal, provides some of the strongest evidence yet that gesturing may have a unique effect on learning. Teachers in the United States tend to use gestures less than teachers in other countries.
Largest Prime Discovered
From Live Science: The largest prime number yet has been discovered - and it's 17,425,170 digits long. The new prime number crushes the last one discovered in 2008, which was a paltry 12,978,189 digits long.
Factoring in the Deadly Math of Cancer
From Science Daily: Two Duke researchers are focusing on the deadly mathematics behind the mutated genes and damaged cells that drive cancer. "Cancer is the end result of an accumulation of genetic mutations," says Rick Durrett, a professor of mathematics at Duke. "It can be boiled down into a series of probabilities of whether or not a cell will become mutated, whether the cell will get the correct combination of mutations to become cancerous, and at what rate the cancerous cells continue to divide."
California State U. Will Experiment With Offering Credit for MOOCs
From The Chronicle of Higher Education: State universities in California, looking for creative ways to reduce education costs at a time of budget stress, are turning to MOOCs to offer low-cost options for students. On Tuesday (January 15, 2013), San Jose State University announced an unusual pilot project with Udacity, a for-profit provider of the massive open online courses, to jointly create three introductory mathematics classes. The courses will be free online, but students who want credit from San Jose State will be able to take them for just $150, far less than the $450 to $750 that students would typically pay for a credit-bearing course.
AP Credit Will No Longer Be Accepted At Dartmouth
From NPR News: Advanced Placement exams, which many high school students use to gain course credits when they attend college, will no longer be accepted for credit at Dartmouth College, the Associated Press reports.
New Report: The Reach and Impact of Mathematical Sciences
From Science Daily: The Mathematical Sciences in 2025, a new report from the National Research Council, finds that the mathematical sciences are an increasingly integral component of many disciplines -- including biology, medicine, the social sciences, business, advanced design, and climate studies.
Basic Math Skills Linked to PSAT Math Success
From Science Daily: New research from Western University provides brain imaging evidence that students well-versed in very basic single digit arithmetic (5+2=7 or 7-3=4) are better equipped to score higher on the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT), an examination sat by millions of students in the United States each year in preparation for college admission tests.
A Mathematical Study of the Famous Dirac Equation That Describes Particles
From Science Daily: In 1928 the British physicist Paul Dirac put forward one of the fundamental equations that we use today to mathematically describe a spin one-half particle from a relativistic point of view. The mathematical representation that Dirac came up with enables certain particles, including the electron, to be better understood. Nevertheless, much more remains to be discovered.
How Does Your Garden Glow?
From Science Daily: Nature's ability to create iridescent flowers has been recreated by mathematicians at The University of Nottingham. The team of researchers have collaborated with experimentalists at the University of Cambridge to create a mathematical model of a plant's petals to help us learn more about iridescence in flowering plants and the role it may play in attracting pollinators.
Math Formula Gives New Glimpse Into the Magical Mind of Ramanujan
From Science Daily: December 22 marks the 125th anniversary of the birth of Srinivasa Ramanujan, an Indian mathematician renowned for somehow intuiting extraordinary numerical patterns and connections without the use of proofs or modern mathematical tools. A devout Hindu, Ramanujan said that his findings were divine, revealed to him in dreams by the goddess Namagiri.
A Mathematical Formula to Decipher the Geometry of Surfaces Like That of Cauliflower From Science Daily: Scientists at the Universidad Carlos III of Madrid (UC3M) have taken part in a research project that describes, for the first time, that laws that govern the development of certain complex natural patterns, such as those found on the surface of cauliflower.
How Songbirds Learn to Sing: Mathematical Model Explains How Birds Correct Mistakes to Say On Key
From Science Daily: Scientists studying how songbirds stay on key have developed a statistical explanation for why some things are harder for the brain to learn than others."We've built the first mathematical model that uses a bird's previous sensorimotor experience to predict its ability to learn," says Emory biologist Samuel Sober. "We hope it will help us understand the math of learning in other species, including humans."
Motivation, Study Habits -- Not IQ -- Determine Growth in Math Achievement
From Science Daily: It's not how smart students are but how motivated they are and how they study that determines their growth in math achievement. That's the main finding of a new study that appears in the journal Child Development.
Species Persistence or Extinction: Through a Mathematical Lens
From Science Daily: Scientists have estimated that there are 1.7 million species of animals, plants and algae on earth, and new species continue to be discovered. Unfortunately, as new species are found, many are also disappearing, contributing to a net decrease in biodiversity. The more diversity there is in a population, the longer the ecosystem can sustain itself. Hence, biodiversity is key to ecosystem resilience. Disease, destruction of habitats, pollution, chemical and pesticide use, increased UV-B radiation, and even the presence of new species are some of the causes for disappearing species. "Allee effect," the phenomenon by which a population's growth declines at low densities, is another key reason for perishing populations, and is an overriding feature of a paper published last month in the SIAM Journal on Applied Mathematics.
The Aftermath of Calculator Use in College Classrooms
From Science Daily: Math instructors promoting calculator usage in college classrooms may want to rethink their teaching strategies, says Samuel King, postdoctoral student in the University of Pittsburgh's Learning Research & Development Center. King has proposed the need for further research regarding calculators' role in the classroom after conducting a limited study with undergraduate engineering students published in the British Journal of Educational Technology.
Supercomputing for a Superproblem: A Computational Journey Into Pure Mathematics
From Science Daily: A world-famous mathematician responsible for solving one of the subject's most challenging problems has published his latest work as a University of Leicester research report. This follows the visit that famed mathematician Yuri Matiyasevich made to the Department of Mathematics where he talked about his pioneering work. He visited UK by invitation of the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences.
Common Math Standards Supported With New Study
From Science Daily: A new study analyzing the previous math standards of each state provides strong support for adoption of common standards, which U.S. students desperately need to keep pace with their counterparts around the globe, a Michigan State University scholar argues.
Disaster Defense: Balancing Costs and Benefits
From Science Daily: Do costly seawalls provide a false sense of security in efforts to control nature? Would it be better to focus on far less expensive warning systems and improved evacuation procedures that can save many lives?
Privacy Vs. Protection: Study Considers How to Manage Epidemics in Information Blackouts
From Science Daily: When foot-and-mouth disease swept through the British countryside in early 2001, more than 10 million sheep, cattle and pigs were slaughtered to control the disease. Despite the devastation, the disease was contained within ten months in part owing to the availability in that country of finely detailed farm data, which enabled mathematical modelers to make accurate predictions about the spread of the disease and suggest optimal ways of managing it.
Music in Our Ears: The Science of Timbre
From Science Daily: New research, published in PLOS Computational Biology, offers insight into the neural underpinnings of musical timbre. Mounya Elhilali, of Johns Hopkins University and colleagues have used mathematical models based on experiments in both animals and humans to accurately predict sound source recognition and perceptual timbre judgments by human listeners.
Computational Medicine Enhances Way Doctors Detect, Treat Disease
From Science Daily: Computational medicine, a fast-growing method of using computer models and sophisticated software to figure out how disease develops -- and how to thwart it -- has begun to leap off the drawing board and land in the hands of doctors who treat patients for heart ailments, cancer and other illnesses. Using digital tools, researchers have begun to use experimental and clinical data to build models that can unravel complex medical mysteries.
When People Worry About Math, the Brain Feels the Pain
From Science Daily: Mathematics anxiety can prompt a response in the brain similar to when a person experiences physical pain, according to new research at the University of Chicago.
Mathematics of Leaf Decay: A Mathematical Model Reveals Commonality Within the Diversity of Leaf Decay
From Science Daily: The colorful leaves piling up in your backyard this fall can be thought of as natural stores of carbon. In the springtime, leaves soak up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, converting the gas into organic carbon compounds. Come autumn, trees shed their leaves, leaving them to decompose in the soil as they are eaten by microbes. Over time, decaying leaves release carbon back into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide.
Traditional Courtyards: An Example of Eco-Efficiency for Architects
From Science Daily: Researchers from the University of Seville (Spain) have used mathematical tools to assess what has been known for centuries: the temperature inside the typical Mediterranean courtyard is cooler than that of the street. Though seemingly common sense, understanding such information in detail helps to save energy and money, which is the objective of eco-efficient buildings.
Formula Unlocks Secrets of Cauliflower's Geometry
From Science Daily: The laws that govern how intricate surface patterns, such as those found in the cauliflower, develop over time have been described, for the first time, by a group of European researchers.In a study published October 24, in the Institute of Physics and German Physical Society's New Journal of Physics, researchers have provided a mathematical formula to describe the processes that dictate how cauliflower-like patterns -- a type of fractal pattern -- form and develop.
Math Professor Calls Detroit Tigers a Favorite to Win World Series
From Science Daily: Since the Major League Baseball Division Series and League Championship Series have determined which teams will compete in the World Series, NJIT Math Professor Bruce Bukiet has again analyzed the probability of each team taking the title. "The Detroit Tigers have a solid advantage over the San Francisco Giants. The Tigers, who surprisingly swept the New York Yankees in four straight games in the American League Championship Series to reach the World Series, have a 58 percent chance of beating the Giants in the best of seven series," he said.
Design Help for Drug Cocktails for HIV Patients: Mathematical Model Helps Design Efficient Multi-Drug Therapies
From Science Daily: For years, doctors treating those with HIV have recognized a relationship between how faithfully patients take the drugs they prescribe, and how likely the virus is to develop drug resistance. More recently, research has shown that the relationship between adherence to a drug regimen and resistance is different for each of the drugs that make up the "cocktail" used to control the disease.
Treating Disease by the Numbers
From Science Daily: Mathematical modeling being tested by researchers at the School of Science at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and the IU School of Medicine has the potential to impact the knowledge and treatment of several diseases that continue to challenge scientists across the world.
Mathematical Model May Lead to Safer Chemotherapy
From Science Daily: Cancer chemotherapy can be a life-saver, but it is fraught with severe side effects, among them an increased risk of infection. Until now, the major criterion for assessing this risk has been the blood cell count: if the number of white blood cells falls below a critical threshold, the risk of infection is thought to be high.
Math Tree May Help Root out Fraudsters: Applying Algorithm to Social Networks Can Reveal Hidden Connections Criminals Use to Commit Fraud
From Science Daily: Fraudsters beware: the more your social networks connect you and your accomplices to the crime, the easier it will be to shake you from the tree. The Steiner tree, that is. In an article recently published in the journal Computer Fraud and Security, University of Alberta researcher Ray Patterson and colleagues from the University of Connecticut and University of California -- Merced outlined the connection linking fraud cases and the algorithm designed by Swiss mathematician Jakob Steiner.
Identifying Aggressive Breast Cancers by Interpreting the Mathematical Patterns in the Cancer Genome
From Science Daily: It is now possible to identify aggressive breast cancers by interpreting the mathematical patterns in the cancer genome. Researchers at the University of Oslo, Norway (UiO) have developed a completely new method for differentiating between breast cancer patients with high and low risks of dying from the illness.
Math Ability Requires Crosstalk in the Brain
From Science Daily: A new study by researchers at UT Dallas' Center for Vital Longevity, Duke University, and the University of Michigan has found that the strength of communication between the left and right hemispheres of the brain predicts performance on basic arithmetic problems. The findings shed light on the neural basis of human math abilities and suggest a possible route to aiding those who suffer from dyscalculia-- an inability to understand and manipulate numbers.
Identifying Aggressive Breast Cancers by Interpreting the Mathematical Patterns in the Cancer Genome
From Science Daily: It is now possible to identify aggressive breast cancers by interpreting the mathematical patterns in the cancer genome.
The Bigger Question Behind "Is Algebra Necessary"
From Forbes: Mike McClenathan's excellent rebuttal on August 3, 2012 to Andrew Hacker's article "Is Algebra Necessary" which appeared in the NY Times on July 29, 2012.
Is Algebra Necessary?
From NY Times: Andrew Hacker, an emeritus professor of political science at the City University of New York, writes this op-ed piece which appeared on the front page of the NY Times on July 29, 2012. His answer is 'no'. For a short rebuttal by Eric Friedlander, President of the American Mathematical Society, click on the link AMS Official Response.
Mathematicians Solve Decade-Old Debate On Regulation of Protein Production by microRNAs in Cells
From Science Daily: An international team of mathematicians has proposed a new solution to understanding a biological puzzle that has confounded molecular biologists. They have applied a mathematical model to work out the functioning of small molecules known as microRNAs -- components of the body akin to the electronics in modern airplanes.
Mathematicians Develop New Method for Describing Extremely Complicated Shapes
From Science Daily: Mathematicians at the Institute for Advanced Study in New Jersey "bridged" topology and fractals and made a discovery that could lead to a new way of describing extremely complicated shapes such as the configuration of the tiniest defects in a metal or even the froth of a breaking wave.
Future Prostate Cancer Treatments Might Be Guided by Math
From Science Daily: Scientists have designed a first draft of a mathematical model that someday could guide treatment decisions for advanced prostate cancer, in part by helping doctors predict how individual patients will respond to therapy based on the biology of their tumors.
New Mathematical Technique Allows Simulation of Noncrystalline Materials
From Science Daily: A multidisciplinary team of researchers at MIT and in Spain has found a new mathematical approach to simulating the electronic behavior of noncrystalline materials, which may eventually play an important part in new devices including solar cells, organic LED lights and printable, flexible electronic circuits.
Simple Mathematcal Pattern Describes Shape of Neuron 'Jungle'
From Science Daily: Neurons come in an astounding assortment of shapes and sizes, forming a thick inter-connected jungle of cells. Now, University College London neuroscientists have found that there is a simple pattern that describes the tree-like shape of all neurons.
Math Formula Leads Researchers to Source of Pollution
From Science Daily: The leaking of environmentally damaging pollutants into our waters and atmosphere could soon be counteracted by a simple mathematical algorithm, according to researchers.
Scientists Struggle With Mathematical Details, Study by Biologists Finds
From Science Daily: Many people remember struggling with maths at school, but few of us would expect that professional scientists suffer from a similar problem in their daily work. A new study by biologists at the University of Bristol shows that scientists tend to overlook their colleagues' research if it is packed full of mathematical equations.
Remapping Gang Turf: Math Model Used for Mapping Chimp Territories Applies
From Science Daily: A mathematical model that has been used for more than 80 years to determine the hunting range of animals in the wild holds promise for mapping the territories of street gangs, a UCLA-led team of social scientists reports in a new study.
Math Experts Question Key Ecological Theory
From Science Daily: Mathematicians at the University of York in the UK and the University of Canterbury in New Zealand say they have disproved a widely accepted theory underpinning the operation of complex networks of interactions in the natural world.
Suburban Students Outpace Rural and Urban Peers in Math
From Science Daily: American students living in the suburbs are outpacing their urban and rural counterparts in mathematics achievement, with Asian and white students scoring the highest among all races and ethnicities, and students from higher socioeconomic backgrounds doing better overall, according to new research from the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire.
Citizen Science: Study Allows Thousands to Test 'Gut Sense' for Numbers
From Science Daily: A first-of-its kind study using the World Wide Web to collect data from more than 10,000 study subjects ages 11 to 85 found that humans' inborn "number sense" improves during school years, declines during old age, and remains linked throughout the entire lifespan to academic mathematics achievement.
Ability to Estimate Quantity Increases in First 30 Years of Life
From Science Daily: One of the basic elements of cognition¯the ability to estimate quantities¯grows more precise across the first 30 years or more of a person's life, according to researchers supported by the National Institutes of Health.
Civil Engineers Find Savings Where the Rubber Meets the Road: Stiffer Roads Reduce Fuel Consumption
From Science Daily: A new study by civil engineers at MIT shows that using stiffer pavements on the nation's roads could reduce vehicle fuel consumption by as much as 3 percent -- a savings that could add up to 273 million barrels of crude oil per year, or $15.6 billion at today's oil prices. This would result in an accompanying annual decrease in CO2 emissions of 46.5 million metric tons.
Proficiency in Math is a Crucial Requirement for Most Well-Paying Jobs
From Science Daily: From factory workers to Wall Street bankers, a reasonable proficiency in math is a crucial requirement for most well-paying jobs in a modern economy. Yet, over the past 30 years, mathematics achievement of U.S. high school students has remained stagnant -- and significantly behind many other countries, including China, Japan, Finland, the Netherlands and Canada.
Quantum Computers Could Help Search Engines Keep Up With the Internet's Growth
From Science Daily: Behind the scenes, a lot of math goes into figuring out exactly what qualifies as most relevant web page for your search. Google, for example, uses a page ranking algorithm that is rumored to be the largest numerical calculation carried out anywhere in the world. With the web constantly expanding, researchers at USC have proposed -- and demonstrated the feasibility -- of using quantum computers to speed up that process.
Driving Without a Blind Spot May Be Closer Than It Appears
From Science Daily: A side mirror that eliminates the dangerous "blind spot" for drivers has now received a U.S. patent. The subtly curved mirror, invented by Drexel University mathematics professor Dr. R. Andrew Hicks, dramatically increases the field of view with minimal distortion.
Predicting Burglary Patterns Through Math Modeling of Crime
From Science Daily: Pattern formation in physical, biological, and sociological systems has been studied for many years. Despite the fact that these subject areas are completely diverse, the mathematics that describes underlying patterns in these systems can be surprisingly similar. Mathematical tools can be used to study such systems and predict their patterns.
Invisibility, Once the Subject of Magic or Legend, is Slowly Becoming Reality
From Science Daily: Over the past five years mathematicians and other scientists have been working on devices that enable invisibility cloaks -- perhaps not yet concealing Harry Potter, but at least shielding small objects from detection by microwaves or sound waves.
Math Predicts Size of Clot-Forming Cells
From Science Daily: UC Davis mathematicians have helped biologists figure out why platelets, the cells that form blood clots, are the size and shape that they are. Because platelets are important both for healing wounds and in strokes and other conditions, a better understanding of how they form and behave could have wide implications.
Freezing liquids help to predict properties of prime numbers
From Phys.org: ...Dr Fyodorov explained: "The prime numbers are the elements, or building blocks, of arithmetic. Our work provides evidence for a surprising connection between the primes and freezing in certain complex materials in Physics."
Math Can Save Tylenol Overdose Patients
From The University of Utah: University of Utah mathematicians developed a set of calculus equations to make it easier for doctors to save Tylenol overdose patients by quickly estimating how much painkiller they took, when they consumed it and whether they will require a liver transplant to survive.
The Mighty Mathematician You've (Probably) Never Heard Of
From The New York Times: Scientists are a famously anonymous lot, but few can match in the depths of her perverse and unmerited obscurity the 20th-century mathematical genius Amalie Noether.
New Twist On Ancient Math Problem Could Improve Medicine, Microelectronics
From Science Daily: A hidden facet of a math problem that goes back to Sanskrit scrolls has just been exposed by nanotechnology researchers at the University of Michigan and the University of Connecticut.
Black-Scholes: The maths formula linked to the financial crash
From BBC News Magazine: It's not every day that someone writes down an equation that ends up changing the world. But it does happen sometimes, and the world doesn't always change for the better. It has been argued that one formula known as Black-Scholes, along with its descendants, helped to blow up the financial world.
Mathematics: First-Ever Image of a Flat Torus in 3-D
From Science Daily: Just as a terrestrial globe cannot be flattened without distorting the distances, it seemed impossible to visualize abstract mathematical objects called flat tori in ordinary three-dimensional space. However, a team of mathematicians and computer scientists has succeeded in constructing and visually representing an image of a flat torus in three-dimensional space. This is a smooth fractal, halfway between fractals and ordinary surfaces.
Study Finds Twist to the Story of the Number Line: Number Line Is Learned, Not Innate Human Intuition
From Science Daily: Tape measures. Rulers. Graphs. The gas gauge in your car, and the icon on your favorite digital device showing battery power. The number line and its cousins -- notations that map numbers onto space and often represent magnitude -- are everywhere. Most adults in industrialized societies are so fluent at using the concept, we hardly think about it. We don't stop to wonder: Is it "natural"? Is it cultural?
Shedding Light On Southpaws: Sports Data Help Confirm Theory Explaining Left-Handed Minority in General Population
From Science Daily: Lefties have always been a bit of a puzzle. Representing only 10 percent of the general human population, left-handers have been viewed with suspicion and persecuted across history. The word "sinister" even derives from "left or left-hand."
Countries That Best Prepare Math Teachers Share Similarities: Several Key Conditions Generally Lacking in US
From Science Daily: Countries that best prepare math teachers meet several key conditions generally lacking in the United States, according to the first international study of what teacher preparation programs are able to accomplish.
Can Mathematics Help Usain Bolt Run Faster?
From Science Daily: Usain Bolt can achieve faster running times with no extra effort on his part or improvement to his fitness, according to a study published today in Significance, the magazine of the Royal Statistical Society and the American Statistical Association. Cambridge Professor of Mathematical Sciences John D. Barrow illustrates how, based on concrete mathematical evidence, Bolt can cut his world record from 9.58 seconds to 9.45.
Mathematician Publishes 2012 Major League Baseball Projections
From Science Daily: The Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals and Arizona Diamondbacks should win their divisions, while the Atlanta Braves and the Cincinnati Reds will make it to Major League Baseball's post-season as wild card teams in the National League (NL) in 2012, according to NJIT's baseball guru Bruce Bukiet. For more than a decade, Bukiet, an associate professor and associate dean, has applied mathematical analysis to compute the number of regular season games each Major League Baseball team should win.
Physicists Explain the Collective Motion of Particles Called Fermions
From Science Daily: Some people like company. Others prefer to be alone. The same holds true for the particles that constitute the matter around us: Some, called bosons, like to act in unison with others. Others, called fermions, have a mind of their own. Different as they are, both species can show "collective" behavior -- an effect similar to the wave at a baseball game, where all spectators carry out the same motion regardless of whether they like each other.
Bacteria Use Chat to Play the 'Prisoner's Dilemma' Game in Deciding Their Fate
From Science Daily: When faced with life-or-death situations, bacteria -- and maybe even human cells -- use an extremely sophisticated version of "game theory" to consider their options and decide upon the best course of action, scientists reported in San Diego March 27. In a presentation at the 243rd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), they said microbes "play" a version of the classic "Prisoner's Dilemma" game.
Computer Model of Spread of Dementia Can Predict Future Disease Patterns Years Before They Occur in a Patient
From Science Daily: Researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College have developed a computer program that has tracked the manner in which different forms of dementia spread within a human brain. They say their mathematical model can be used to predict where and approximately when an individual patient's brain will suffer from the spread, neuron to neuron, of "prion-like" toxic proteins -- a process they say underlies all forms of dementia.
Mathematical Methods Predicts Movement of Oil and Ash Following Environmental Disasters
From Science Daily: Mathematical methods help predict the movement of oil and ash following environmental disasters.
Partnerships in the Brain: Mathematical Model Describes the Collaboration of Individual Neurons
From Science Daily: How do neurons in the brain communicate with each other? One common theory suggests that individual cells do not exchange signals among each other, but rather that exchange takes place between groups of cells. Researchers from Japan, the United States and Germany have now developed a mathematical model that can be used to test this assumption.
Escaping Parasites and Pathogens
From Science Daily: In nature, how do host species survive parasite attacks? This has not been well understood, until now. A new mathematical model shows that when a host and its parasite each have multiple traits governing their interaction, the host has a unique evolutionary advantage that helps it survive.
First Computer Model of How Buds Grow Into Leaves
From Science Daily: Leaves come in all shapes and sizes. Scientists have discovered simple rules that control leaf shape during growth. Using this 'recipe', they have developed the first computer model able to accurately emulate leaf growth from a bud.
How the Tiger Got its Stripes: Proving Turing's Tiger Stripe Theory
From Science Daily: Researchers from King's College London have provided the first experimental evidence confirming a great British mathematician's theory of how biological patterns such as tiger stripes or leopard spots are formed.
Predicting System Crashes in Nature and Society
From Science Daily: The world can deliver sudden and nasty shocks. Economies can crash, fisheries can collapse, and climates can pass tipping points. Providing early warning of such changes currently requires the collection of enormous and often prohibitive amounts of data. A new method developed by....
US lag in science, math a disaster in the making
From CNN: Almost everyone, from educators to government officials to industry experts, laments the lackluster abilities and performance of our nations' students in science, technology, engineering and math (know as STEM education).
Fall of Communism Changed Mathematics in US
From Science Daily: The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1992 brought an influx of Soviet mathematicians to U.S. institutions, and those scholars' differing areas of specialization have changed the way math is studied and taught in this country....
Want Better Math Teachers? Then Train Them Better
From Science Daily: It's time for the United States to consider establishing higher standards for math teachers if the nation is going to break its "vicious cycle" of mediocrity.
Inconsistent math curricula hurting US students, study finds
From Science Daily: A new study finds important differences in math curricula across US states and school districts. The findings suggest that many students across the country are placed at a disadvantage by less demanding curricula.
Robot biologist solves complex problem from scratch
From Science Daily: First it was chess. Then it was Jeopardy. Now computers are at it again....
Mathematician claims breakthrough in Sudoku puzzle
From Nature: Puzzles must have at least 17 clues to have valid solution.
The mathematics behind the new Sherlock Holmes movie
From New Scientist: Sherlock Holmes averts a world war using mathematics in the new movie Game of Shadows.
The Khan Academy: Online Learning, Personalized
From The New York Times: Salman Khan, a 35-year-old Ivy League-trained math whiz has become something of an online sensation with his Khan Academy math and science lessons on YouTube, which has attracted up to 3.5 million viewers a month.
Newton's Personal Notebooks Go Digital
From Cambridge University: The Cambridge Digital Library recently published 4,000 pages of Isaac Newton's personal papers.
Graphing Functionality Now Available on Google Search
From the MAA Mathematical Sciences Digital Library: Now you can plot mathematical functions right on the search result page. Just type in a function and you'll see an interactive graph on the top of the search results page.
Data and Power
From Popular Science: Popular Science has published a special issue that looks at the transformative effects of the data deluge on our lives and how we got there.
The Math Behind Screening Tests
From Scientific American: What a positive test really means.