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Math in the News

There are several excellent sites on the web for following the latest results and applications of mathematics. Some of our favorites include The American Mathematical Society's "Math in the Media" site.

Another important link to current mathematical ideas and stories is "Blog on Math Blogs", written by past AMS-AAAS Mass Media Fellows Brie Finegold and Evelyn Lamb. This web site can be found by clicking the link Blog on Math Blogs.

The following links - mostly taken from Science Digest - will give you a further glimpse at some interesting mathematics stories that have appeared in various news media.

May 2015

Social structure 'helps birds avoid a collision course'
From Science Daily: The sight of skilful aerial maneuvering by flocks of Greylag geese to avoid collisions with York's Millennium Bridge intrigued a mathematical biologist. It raised the question of how birds collectively negotiate human-made obstacles such as wind turbines that lie in their flight paths.

Differences in tumor cell metabolism affect growth, invasion and response, say researchers
From Science Daily: Cells within a tumor are not the same; they may have different genetic mutations and different characteristics during growth and throughout treatment. These differences make treating tumors extremely difficult and often lead to tumor recurrence dominated by more aggressive tumor cells. Researchers are now using mathematical modeling to characterize these differences within a tumor and hope that the results of their latest study will lead to better therapeutic treatments.

Calculating the service life of bridges: Engineers refine models
From Science Daily: In future, the service life of bridges may be estimated more accurate than ever before. Engineers have refined mathematical models for calculating them. Unlike previous models, they take local conditions into consideration, rather than depending on average default values.

Not good at sports strategies? Game intelligence can be learned
From Science Daily: New theories on game intelligence could change the world of team sports forever. Game intelligence is not necessarily something you are born with but something you can learn, according to new research.

The stupidly effective genius of nature: Researchers discover how nature enables cells to act intelligently
From Science Daily: Researchers have discovered a Lévy walk pattern of movement when living cells eat. When the food is transported within the cell by so-called endosomal active transport, it is the same mathematical pattern of movement that many animals follow when foraging for food. A Lévy walk or flight, named after a French mathematician Paul Lévy, is a mix of long trajectories and short random movements. Numerous short movements are made within a small area, and occasionally a long stride to a distant area, where the action is repeated. This particular motion pattern is observed in humans and animals.

Quantum computing and spintronics: Topological insulators become a little less 'elusive'
From Science Daily: Topological insulators are "strange" materials, insulators on the inside and conductors on the surface. They also have properties that make them excellent candidates for the development of spintronics ("spin-based electronics") and more in general quantum computing. However, they are also elusive as their properties are extremely difficult to observe. Now a study, proposes a new family of materials whose topological state can be directly observed experimentally, thus simplifying things for researchers.

Ants' movements hide mathematical patterns
From Science Daily: When ants go exploring in search of food they end up choosing collective routes that fit statistical distributions of probability. This has been demonstrated by a team of mathematicians after analyzing the trails of a species of Argentine ant. Studies like this could be applied to coordinate the movement of micro-robots in cleaning contaminated areas for example.

Training teachers for deaf children gets a robotic helping hand
From Science Daily: Deaf education lecturers are using the Swivl robot in school classrooms in a UK first for teacher training. Swivl is a robotic turntable onto which is placed an iPad or other tablet. It is positioned in the classroom and turns to follow people talking. It then uploads video to a secure cloud for streaming or later viewing.

Researchers reverse bacterial resistance to antibiotics in lab
From Science Daily: The rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is a growing problem in the United States and the world. New findings by researchers in evolutionary biology and mathematics could help doctors better address the problem in a clinical setting.

Airflow model to reduce time on the tarmac
From Science Daily: A mechanical engineering professor describes in a new article a new mathematical tool he developed to calculate the flow of turbulent air produced by a plane's wing tips when an airplane takes off. He says that "time spent twiddling your thumbs on the tarmac" could be significantly reduced, as a result.

Non-Euclidean geometries for grid cells
From Science Daily: Grid cells, space-mapping neurons of the entorhinal cortex of rodents, could also work for hyperbolic surfaces. A new study tests a model (a computer simulation) based on mathematical principles, that explains how maps emerge in the brain and shows how these maps adapt to the environment in which the individual develops.

Realistic surface rendering in computer games
From Science Daily: The surface of rendered objects in computer games often looks unrealistic. A new method creates much more realistic images, imitating the complex scattering processes under the surface.

New statistics methods for dose finding studies
From Science Daily: Less than 0.02 per cent of potential active ingredients pass clinical tests and become commercially viable. However, it is possible that some candidates are rejected without good reason, suspects a mathematician who has developed a new calculation method that may facilitate the management of clinical dose finding studies.

April 2015

Multifractals suggest the existence of an unknown physical mechanism on the Sun
From Science Daily: The famous sunspots on the surface of the Earth's star result from the dynamics of strong magnetic fields, and their numbers are an important indicator of the state of activity on the Sun. Researchers have been conducting multifractal analysis into the changes in the numbers of sunspots. The resulting graphs were surprisingly asymmetrical in shape, suggesting that sunspots may be involved in hitherto unknown physical processes.

Mathematics reveals how fluid flow affects bacteria
From Science Daily: Researchers have used mathematical equations to shed new light on how flowing fluid hinders the movement of bacteria in their search for food.

Quantum particles at play: Game theory elucidates the collective behavior of bosons
From Science Daily: Quantum particles behave in strange ways and are often difficult to study experimentally. Using mathematical methods drawn from game theory, physicists have shown how bosons, which like to enter the same state, can form multiple groups.

3-D image of live embryo turning itself inside out
From Science Daily: Researchers have captured the first 3-D video of a living algal embryo turning itself inside out, from a sphere to a mushroom shape and back again. The results could help unravel the mechanical processes at work during a similar process in animals, which has been called the 'most important time in your life.'

Mass and shape of single molecules revealed
From Science Daily: Scientists have developed a revolutionary new technology that can image and weigh single molecules and instantly identify a single virus or bacteria particle.

Simplified model predicts patterns that form from honey-like fluids
From Science Daily: Drizzling honey on toast can produce mesmerizing, meandering patterns, as the syrupy fluid ripples and coils in a sticky, golden thread. Dribbling paint on canvas can produce similarly serpentine loops and waves. The patterns created by such viscous fluids can be reproduced experimentally in a setup known as a "fluid mechanical sewing machine," in which an overhead nozzle deposits a thick fluid onto a moving conveyor belt. Researchers have carried out such experiments in an effort to identify the physical factors that influence the patterns that form.

Calculating how the Pacific was settled: Sailing against prevailing winds, spotting big islands
From Science Daily: Using statistics that describe how an infectious disease spreads, an anthropologist analyzed different theories of how people first settled islands of the vast Pacific between 3,500 and 900 years ago. Adrian Bell found the two most likely strategies were to travel mostly against prevailing winds and seek easily seen islands, not necessarily the nearest islands.

New model to predict pharmacodynamic activity may improve drug discovery
From Science Daily: A new mathematical model that uses drug-target kinetics to predict how drugs work in vivo may provide a foundation to improve drug discovery, which is frequently hampered by the inability to predict effective doses of drugs, researchers report.

New mathematical method enhances hydrology simulations
From Science Daily: A team applied sophisticated mathematical solutions to fine tune water and energy exchange parameters, numerical stand-ins for complex processes, to more accurately simulate water and energy fluxes in an important model under different conditions.

Should a political party form a coalition? Voters and math decide
From Science Daily: A new paper proposes mathematical models to analyze political decision-making. "Mathematics is important in many aspects of social behavior. Politics is just one of these aspects, since some of the typical behavior in politics can be characterized by suitable quantities which, usually, evolve in time," says an author. "In other words, political parties are examples of dynamical systems."

Adding uncertainty to improve mathematical models
From Science Daily: Mathematicians have introduced a new element of uncertainty into an equation used to describe the behavior of fluid flows. While being as certain as possible is generally the stock and trade of mathematics, the researchers hope this new formulation might ultimately lead to mathematical models that better reflect the inherent uncertainties of the natural world.

Mathematician's 2015 Major League Baseball projections
From Science Daily: This is the 18th year that a mathematician has published his model's projections of how the standings should look at the end of the regular season.

Extraversion may be less common than we think
From Science Daily: New research documents the 'friendship paradox' within the emerging social networks of a new class of MBA students, showing that extroverted people tend to be disproportionately represented in social networks. The findings indicate that the effect is most pronounced in the networks of socially outgoing people, suggesting that popular people may actually experience the friendship paradox more intensely than others.

Researcher creates software that locates real-time leaks in water, oil or gas pipes
From Science Daily: Through the laws of physics and application of a mathematical model of fluid mechanics, a new software calculates when an irregularity occurs on site of a gas, oil or water pipe. The software is called VIVIUNAM and performs logical deductions in real time, allowing to identify the type of failure and get to the root of the problem, thus avoiding a waste of time, by digging or manually searching for the problem throughout the pipeline, said the researcher.

March 2015

Mathematical model that learns to compensate for positioning errors can control a micromanipulation system more accurately
From Science Daily: A mathematical model can improve the accuracy and repeatability of a positioning system by learning to anticipate tiny errors in its movements. Micromanipulation systems are used to control objects' positions with exquisite precision and play a vital role in applications such as telescopes and laser communication.

Integrative approaches key to understanding cancer, developing therapies
From Science Daily: Researchers are using integrative approaches to study cancer by combining mathematical and computational modeling with experimental and clinical data. The use of integrative approaches enables scientists to study and model cancer progression in a manner that conventional experimental systems are unable to do.

Perfect NCAA bracket? Near impossible: Mathematician says
From Science Daily: The odds of picking a perfect bracket for the NCAA men's basketball March Madness championship tournament are a staggering less than one in 9.2 quintillion (that's 9,223,372,036,854,775,808), according to a mathematics professor.

Sap-feeding butterflies join ranks of natural phenomenon, the Golden Ratio
From Science Daily: Researchers observed that the coiling action of the butterfly proboscis, a tube-like 'mouth' that many butterflies and moths use to feed on fluids, resembled a spiral similar to that of the Golden Ratio, and decided to investigate.

On pi day, how scientists use this number
From Science Daily: If you like numbers, you will love March 14, 2015. When written as a numerical date, it's 3/14/15, corresponding to the first five digits of pi (3.1415) -- a once-in-a-century coincidence! Pi Day, which would have been the 136th birthday of Albert Einstein, is a great excuse to eat pie, and to appreciate how important the number pi is to math and science.

New possibilities for treatment of breast cancer arise, with the help of mathematics
From Science Daily: A means of reprogramming a flawed immune response into an efficient anti-tumoral one was brought to light by the results of a translational trial relating to breast cancer. Thanks to the innovative combination of mathematical modelization and experimentation, only 20 tests were necessary, whereas traditional experimentation would have required 596 tests to obtain the same results.

Nanostructure complex materials modeling
From Science Daily: Brookhaven physicists have illustrated how advances in computing and applied mathematics can improve the predictive value of models used to design new materials.

Cancer therapy 'tumor sanctuaries' and the breeding ground of resistance
From Science Daily: Tumors acquiring resistance is one of the major barriers to successful cancer therapy. Scientistst use mathematical models to characterize how important aspects of tumor microenvironment can impair the efficacy of targeted cancer therapies.

Mathematicians solve 60-year old-problem
From Science Daily: A 60-year old maths problem first put forward by Nobel laureate Enrico Fermi has finally been solved. In 1955, a team of physicists, computer scientists and mathematicians led by Fermi used a computer for the first time to try and solve a numerical experiment. The outcome of the experiment wasn't what they were expecting, and the complexity of the problem underpinned the then new field of non-linear physics and paved the way for six decades of new thinking. Chaos theory, popularly referred to as the butterfly effect, is just one of the theories developed to try and solve the 'Fermi-Pasta-Ulam' problem.

Genetics of altruism: Is blood really thicker than water?
From Science Daily: The outcome of a duel between mathematical models supports the reigning theory of the genetics of altruism. Called inclusive fitness, it says altruism is competitive if it benefits relatives carrying the same gene as the selfless individual.

Quantum compute this: Mathematicians build code to take on toughest of cyber attacks
From Science Daily: Mathematicians have designed an encryption code capable of fending off the phenomenal hacking power of a quantum computer. Using high-level number theory and cryptography, the researchers reworked an infamous old cipher called the knapsack code to create an online security system better prepared for future demands.

Computational model simulates bacterial behavior
From Science Daily: Applied mathematicians and environmental biotechnologists have developed a new computational model that effectively simulates the mechanical behavior of biofilms. Their model may lead to new strategies for studying a range of issues from blood clots to waste treatment systems.

Stereotypes lower math performance in women, but effects go unrecognized
From Science Daily: A new study suggests that gender stereotypes about women's ability in mathematics negatively impact their performance. And in a significant twist, both men and women wrongly believe those stereotypes will not undermine women's math performance -- but instead motivate them to perform better.

At the interface of math and science: Using mathematics to advance problems in the sciences
From Science Daily: In popular culture, mathematics is often deemed inaccessible or esoteric. Yet in the modern world, it plays an ever more important role in our daily lives and a decisive role in the discovery and development of new ideas -- often behind the scenes. In new research, scientists have developed new mathematical approaches to gain insights into how proteins move around within lipid bilayer membranes.

The Canadian Who Reinvented Mathematicss
From The Toronto Star: In 1967, as a young professor at Princeton University, Robert Langlands revolutionized the ancient discipline. He discovered patterns in highly esoteric objects called automorphic forms and motives, and he restructured mathematics with two dazzling theories.

February 2015

Uncertainties must be taken into account in fisheries stock assessment
From Science Daily: Fisheries stock assessment provides information on the status of fish stocks and the impact of fishing on stock development. Since no direct information on fish stock size or fishing mortality rates is available, any conclusions are based on indirect information and the combination of various information sources. By applying new mathematical methods, the uncertainties related to fisheries stock assessment can be taken into account, thus providing more reliable assessments to support decision-making.

Motor proteins prefer slow, steady movement
From Science Daily: A new theoretical approach clarifies interactions between motor proteins and yields the discovery that both weak and strong forces influence how they keep a cell's transport system robust. The study suggests that the collective behavior of motor proteins like kinesins keeps cellular transport systems robust by favoring slow and steady over maximum movement.

New lethal combination of cancer drugs shrinks tumors
From Science Daily: Controlling the time and sequence of cancer therapies may hold the key to unlocking better outcomes for patients with aggressive cancers, according to research. In a collaborative effort between cancer biologists and applied mathematicians, researchers are now showing that improved cancer therapy can be achieved by targeting drug-resistant cancer cells in a new way.

Optimized application of high intensity focused ultrasound
From Science Daily: The field of nonlinear acoustics is currently receiving a lot of attention, thanks to applications focused on the improvement of ultrasonic cleaning, ultrasonic welding, sonochemistry, or thermotherapy. Lithotripsy - the demolition of kidney stones based on the use of high intensity focused ultrasound - represents a further medical field of application.

Digital games and classroom learning: Study finds helpful features, gaps
From Science Daily: A new report on how teachers use video games in classrooms identifies features they find most useful to track student learning, as well as gaps where better tools could help link games more closely to the curriculum.

Modular anatomical structure of human head described for first time
From Science Daily: A new mathematical analysis tool has allowed a deeper understanding of the anatomy of the human head thanks to describing the skull as an extended network structured in ten modules. For the first time ever, the researchers added the head muscles and cartilages to the study of the skull bones (including the inner ear bones, the jaw and the bones that connect with head muscles, such as cervical vertebrae and clavicles).

Formula for predicting innovation
From Science Daily: Researchers are developing a mathematical technique to predict the emergence of scientific innovation, based on research citations and historical analysis.

Weird 'strings' attached to future high temperature superconductivity
From Science Daily: The behavior of strongly correlated electron systems, such as high temperature superconductors, defies explanation in the language of ordinary quantum theory. A seemingly unrelated area of physics, string theory, might give physicists a better understanding of the weird behavior of this kind of collective electron systems.

Equations against cancer: Growing number of researchers exploring math-biology field
From Science Daily: Computer simulations of tumor behavior are generating new research insights -- and could lead to personalized therapies. There is a growing number of researchers worldwide exploring the field of mathematical biology, which "uses mathematical tools to generate models of biological problems," one expert explains. Building mathematical models based on the current understanding of a disease, for example, allows researchers to "test whether the assumptions are accurate."

Wrinkle predictions: New mathematical theory may explain patterns in fingerprints, raisins, and microlenses
From Science Daily: As a grape slowly dries and shrivels, its surface creases, ultimately taking on the wrinkled form of a raisin. Similar patterns can be found on the surfaces of other dried materials, as well as in human fingerprints. While these patterns have long been observed in nature, and more recently in experiments, scientists have not been able to come up with a way to predict how such patterns arise in curved systems, such as microlenses.

January 2015

Mobile and interactive media use by young children: The good, the bad and the unknown
From Science Daily: Mobile devices are everywhere and children are using them more frequently at young ages. The impact these mobile devices are having on the development and behavior of children is still relatively unknown. Researchers review the many types of interactive media available today and raise important questions regarding their use as educational tools, as well as their potential detrimental role in stunting the development of important tools for self-regulation.

Device for guided surgery of deviations in long bones patented
From Science Daily: A device that can be applied in surgeries to correct deviations in long bones has been patented by researchers. The research team found how to use the 3D reconstruction of an affected bone to determine the mathematical formula that in a given case is suitable to design such a device. This device is adjusted to a specific deviated bone and enables a surgeon to set the cutting angle that best suits the bone, and, also, to set the location and orientation of holes that accept the future addition of a corrective prosthesis. It enables realigning the body extremity that is operated on, and also increases precision, shortens the time required for the operation, and improves the operation’s functional results. The device has already been used with success in operations on animals and could have applications in orthopedic surgery on humans.

Maximizing access to mobile networks by seamlessly 'offloading' some traffic
From Science Daily: Mathematical analysis reveals how to maximize access to mobile networks by seamlessly 'offloading' traffic to smaller Wi-Fi and cellular systems.

Medical radiation may be reduced to one-sixth with new mathematical discovery
From Science Daily: One of this century's most significant mathematical discoveries may reduce the number of measuring points to one-sixth of the present level. This means reduced exposure to radiation and faster medical imaging diagnostics.

Students master math through movement using Kinect for Windows
From Science Daily: Significant gains in the understanding of angles and angle measurements by elementary school students are seen in those who performed body-based tasks while interacting with a Kinect for Windows mathematics program.

Mathematical model that learns to compensate for positioning errors can control a micromanipulation system more accurately
From Science Daily:A mathematical model can improve the accuracy and repeatability of a positioning system by learning to anticipate tiny errors in its movements. Micromanipulation systems are used to control objects' positions with exquisite precision and play a vital role in applications such as telescopes and laser communication.

Magic numbers of quantum matter revealed by cold atoms
From Science Daily: Topology, a branch of mathematics classifying geometric objects, has been exploited by physicists to predict and describe unusual quantum phases: the topological states of matter. These intriguing phases, generally accessible at very low temperature, exhibit unique conductivity properties which are particularly robust against external perturbations, suggesting promising technological applications. The great stability of topological states relies on a set of magic integers, the so-called Chern numbers, which remain immune to defects and deformations. For the first time scientists have succeeded in measuring the topological Chern number in a non-electronic system with high precision.

Complex math model could be simple way to predict bladder cancer recurrence
From Science Daily: Statistical prediction models could help doctors determine when non-invasive bladder cancer will return.

December 2014

Ecosystems need math not random nature to survive
From Science Daily: A previously unknown mathematical property has been found to be behind one of nature’s greatest mysteries - how ecosystems survive.

Decision 'cascades' in social networks
From Science Daily: People in social networks are often influenced by each other's decisions, resulting in a run of behaviors in which their choices become highly correlated, causing a cascade of decisions.

'Microlesions' in epilepsy discovered by novel technique
From Science Daily: Using an innovative technique combining genetic analysis and mathematical modeling with some basic sleuthing, researchers have identified previously undescribed microlesions in brain tissue from epileptic patients. The millimeter-sized abnormalities may explain why areas of the brain that appear normal can produce severe seizures in many children and adults with epilepsy.

Students attending summer learning programs returned to school in the fall with an advantage in math
From Science Daily: Students attending voluntary, school district-led summer learning programs entered school in the fall with stronger mathematics skills than their peers who did not attend the programs, according to a new study.

Mathematicians prove the Umbral Moonshine Conjecture
From Science Daily: Monstrous moonshine, a quirky pattern of the monster group in theoretical math, has a shadow -- umbral moonshine. Mathematicians have now proved this insight, known as the Umbral Moonshine Conjecture, offering a formula with potential applications for everything from number theory to geometry to quantum physics.

How to stop the spread of HIV in Africa
From Science Daily: To stop the spread of HIV in Africa, researchers, using a complex mathematical model, have developed a strategy that focuses on targeting "hot zones", areas where the risk of HIV infection is much higher than the national average.

A numbers game: Math helps to predict how the body fights disease
From Science Daily: Walter and Eliza Hall Institute researchers have defined for the first time how the size of the immune response is controlled, using mathematical models to predict how powerfully immune cells respond to infection and disease.

Fractal geometry: Finding the simple patterns in a complex world
From Science Daily: A mathematician has developed a new way to uncover simple patterns that might underlie apparently complex systems, such as clouds, cracks in materials or the movement of the stockmarket. The method, named fractal Fourier analysis, is based on new branch of mathematics called fractal geometry. The method could help scientists better understand the complicated signals that the body gives out, such as nerve impulses or brain waves.

Maths shows that treating AIDS, hepatitis C simultaneously is more effective
From Science Daily: Researchers have collaborated on a mathematical analysis that concludes that joint therapy to counter HIV in patients who also have hepatitis C increases the chance of success in the fight against both infections. Between eight and nine million people worldwide simultaneously suffer from AIDS and hepatitis C.

Dopamine helps with math rules as well as mood
From Science Daily: Rule-applying neurons work better under the influence of the happy hormone, researchers have found. The chemical messenger dopamine - otherwise known as the happiness hormone - is important not only for motivation and motor skills. It seems it can also help neurons with difficult cognitive tasks, they report.

Basic rules for construction with a type of origami
From Science Daily: Origami is capable of turning a simple sheet of paper into a pretty paper crane, but the principles behind it can be applied to making a microfluidic device or for storing a satellite's solar panel in a rocket's cargo bay. Researchers are turning kirigami, a related art form that allows the paper to be cut, into a technique that can be applied equally to structures on those vastly divergent length scales.

It doesn’t add up: People who say they are good at math, but aren't
From Science Daily: Thinking you’re good at math and actually being good at it are not the same thing, new research has found. About one in five people who say they are bad at math in fact score in the top half of those taking an objective math test. But one-third of people who say they are good at math actually score in the bottom half.

November 2014

When vaccines are imperfect: What math can tell us about their effects on disease propagation
From Science Daily:The control of certain childhood diseases is difficult, despite high vaccination coverage in many countries. One of the possible reasons for this is 'imperfect vaccines,' that is, vaccines that fail either due to 'leakiness,' lack of effectiveness on certain individuals in a population, or shorter duration of potency. In a new article, authors use a mathematical model to determine the consequences of vaccine failure and resulting disease dynamics.

Theater arts research offers insight for designers, builders of social robots
From Science Daily: Researchers have provided insight into human behavior for scientists, engineers who design and build social robots.

Gifted men and women define success differently, 40-year study finds
From Science Daily: Researchers spent four decades studying a group of mathematically talented adolescents, finding that by mid-life they were extraordinarily accomplished and enjoyed a high level of life satisfaction. Gender, however, played a significant role in how they pursued - and defined - career, family and success. Intellectually gifted women tracked for 40 years were found to earn less money, be less present in STEM fields, and work fewer hours than their male counterparts. Despite that, they expressed a high level of personal satisfaction and sense of achievement, defining success more broadly than men to include family and community service. These observations come from the most recent round of results from the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY), the largest longitudinal research project of its kind. The results were posted this week to Psychological Science.

Magic tricks created using artificial intelligence for the first time
From Science Daily: Researchers working on artificial intelligence have taught a computer to create magic tricks. The researchers gave a computer program the outline of how a magic jigsaw puzzle and a mind reading card trick work, as well the results of experiments into how humans understand magic tricks, and the system created completely new variants on those tricks which can be delivered by a magician.

Stock market models help researchers predict animal behavior
From Science Daily: Modeling used to forecast fluctuations in the stock market has been discovered to predict aspects of animal behavior. The movement of zebrafish when mapped is very similar to the stochastic jump process, a mathematical model used by financial engineers. The model could improve the effectiveness of experiments, minimize the number of fish used, and allow researchers to make better use of their data following experiments.

How to make mobile batteries last longer by controlling energy flows at nano-level
From Science Daily: Electronic devices waste a lot of energy by producing useless heat. This is one of the main reasons our mobiles use up battery power so quickly. Researchers have now made a leap forward in understanding how this happens and how this waste could be reduced by controlling energy flows at a molecular level. This would make our technology cheaper to run and more durable.

Modeling cancer: Researchers prove models can predict cellular processes
From Science Daily: Mathematical models to predict the dynamics of cell transitions have been developed by researchers who compared their results with actual measurements of activity in cell populations. The results could inform efforts to treat cancer patients.

Model explains why HIV prevention dosing differs by sex
From Science Daily: A mathematical model predicts that women must take the antiretroviral medication Truvada daily to prevent HIV infection via vaginal sex, whereas just two doses per week can protect men from HIV infection via anal sex. This finding helps explain why two large clinical trials testing HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, in women failed to show efficacy.

October 2014

Same votes, different voting districts would alter election results in NC: Math study bolsters call for non-partisan redistricting reform
From Science Daily: Researchers have developed a mathematical model that shows how changes in congressional voting districts affect election outcomes. Focusing on the last election, they show the outcome of the 2012 US House of Representatives elections in North Carolina would have been very different had the state's congressional districts been drawn with only the legal requirements of redistricting in mind. The researchers hope the study will bolster calls for redistricting reform in 2016.

Lack of A level maths leading to fewer female economists in England
From Science Daily: A study has found there are far fewer women studying economics than men, with women accounting for just 27 per cent of economics students, despite them making up 57 per cent of the undergraduate population in UK universities. The findings suggest less than half as many girls (1.2 per cent) as boys (3..8 percent) apply to study economics at university, while only 10 per cent of females enroll at university with an A level in maths, compared to 19 per cent of males.

Atomic-level protection for drivers
From Science Daily: A new window on the world of atoms will make future vehicles safer in collisions. Scientists have set out on an unusual journey - into the interior of certain materials. They are about to build a mathematical model of tiny but vital zones in aluminum vehicle bumper systems. The research group will use this virtual "mini-laboratory" to study the chaos we create when we crash a car.

Technology helps even the odds for blind students
From Science Daily: Technology to help a blind student see math clearly and pursue a degree has been uncovered by researchers. Despite losing her vision three years ago due to complications from the flu, one study entered university last fall with the specific goal of pursuing a dual degree in mathematics and business. Technology is helping her make this a reality.

An effective, cost-saving way to detect natural gas pipeline leaks
From Science Daily: Major leaks from oil and gas pipelines have led to home evacuations, explosions, millions of dollars in lawsuit payouts and valuable natural resources escaping into the air, ground and water. Scientists say they have now developed a new software-based method that finds leaks even when they're small, which could help prevent serious incidents -- and save money for customers and industry.

Mathematical model shows how brain remains stable during learning
From Science Daily: Complex biochemical signals that coordinate fast and slow changes in neuronal networks keep the brain in balance during learning, according to an international team of scientists. Neuronal networks form a learning machine that allows the brain to extract and store new information from its surroundings via the senses. Researchers have long puzzled over how the brain achieves sensitivity and stability to unexpected new experiences during learning -- two seemingly contradictory requirements.

New theorem determines age distribution of populations from fruit flies to humans
From Science Daily: The initial motivation of a new study was to estimate the age structure of a fruit fly population, the result a fundamental theorem that can help determine the age distribution of essentially any group. This emerging theorem on stationary populations shows that you can determine the age distribution of a population by looking at how long they still have to live.

Doing math with your body
From Science Daily: You do math in your head most of the time, but you can also teach your body how to do it. Researchers investigated how our brain processes and understands numbers and number size. They show that movements and sensory perception help us understand numbers.

At the interface of math and science: Using mathematics to advance problems in the sciences
From Science Daily: In popular culture, mathematics is often deemed inaccessible or esoteric. Yet in the modern world, it plays an ever more important role in our daily lives and a decisive role in the discovery and development of new ideas -- often behind the scenes. In new research, scientists have developed new mathematical approaches to gain insights into how proteins move around within lipid bilayer membranes.

September 2014

Adding uncertainty to improve mathematical models
From Science Daily: Mathematicians have introduced a new element of uncertainty into an equation used to describe the behavior of fluid flows. While being as certain as possible is generally the stock and trade of mathematics, the researchers hope this new formulation might ultimately lead to mathematical models that better reflect the inherent uncertainties of the natural world.

Video games could dramatically streamline educational research
From Science Daily: Scientists have figured out a dramatically easier and more cost-effective way to do research on science curriculum in the classroom -- and it could include playing video games. Called 'computational modeling,' it involves a computer 'learning' student behavior and then 'thinking' as students would. It could revolutionize the way educational research is done.

Math model designed to replace invasive kidney biopsy for lupus patients
From Science Daily: Mathematics might be able to reduce the need for invasive biopsies in patients suffering kidney damage related to the autoimmune disease lupus. The model could also be used to monitor the effectiveness of experimental treatments for inflammation and fibrosis, researchers say.

Number-crunching could lead to unethical choices, says new study
From Science Daily: Calculating the pros and cons of a potential decision is a way of decision-making. But repeated engagement with numbers-focused calculations, especially those involving money, can have unintended negative consequences.

Ebola outbreak 'out of all proportion' and severity cannot be predicted, expert says
From Science Daily: A mathematical model that replicates Ebola outbreaks can no longer be used to ascertain the eventual scale of the current epidemic, finds new research.

New math and quantum mechanics: Fluid mechanics suggests alternative to quantum orthodoxy
From Science Daily: The central mystery of quantum mechanics is that small chunks of matter sometimes seem to behave like particles, sometimes like waves. For most of the past century, the prevailing explanation of this conundrum has been what's called the "Copenhagen interpretation" -- which holds that, in some sense, a single particle really is a wave, smeared out across the universe, that collapses into a determinate location only when observed. But some founders of quantum physics -- notably Louis de Broglie -- championed an alternative interpretation, known as "pilot-wave theory," which posits that quantum particles are borne along on some type of wave. According to pilot-wave theory, the particles have definite trajectories, but because of the pilot wave's influence, they still exhibit wavelike statistics. Now a professor of applied mathematics believes that pilot-wave theory deserves a second look.

Mechanical ventilation a key indicator for pre-term children's maths problems
From Science Daily: Both the length of time spent in hospital after birth and the use of mechanical ventilation are key indicators of reduced mathematical ability in preterm children, researchers report. Impairments in mathematic abilities are common in very preterm children. Earlier studies of children who are born very preterm (before 32 weeks of gestational age) have shown that they have a 39.4% chance of having general mathematic impairment, compared to 14.9% of those born at term (39 to 41 weeks).

August 2014

Spot light on tailor-made multicyclic type of polymers
From Science Daily: Scientists have synthesized multicyclic type of polymers for the first time offering insights for tailoring polymer properties as well as the mathematics of complex geometries.

Flu outbreak provides rare study material
From Science Daily: Five years ago this month, one of the first U.S. outbreaks of the H1N1 virus swept through the Washington State University campus, striking some 2,000 people. A university math and biology professor has used a trove of data gathered at the time to gain insight into how only a few infected people could launch the virus's rapid spread across the university community.

Combining math and music to open new possibilities
From Science Daily: The power of mathematics to open new possibilities in music has been demonstrated by scientists for years. Modern experiments with computer music are just the most recent example.

Learning by watching, toddlers show intuitive understanding of probability
From Science Daily: Most people know children learn many skills simply by watching people around them. Without explicit instructions youngsters know to do things like press a button to operate the television and twist a knob to open a door. Now researchers have taken this further, finding that children as young as age 2 intuitively use mathematical concepts such as probability to help make sense of the world around them.

How worms crawl: mathematical model challenges traditional view
From Science Daily: A new mathematical model for earthworms and insect larvae challenges the traditional view of how these soft bodied animals get around. Researchers say that there is a far greater role for the body's mechanical properties and the local nerves which react to the surface that the animal is traveling across.

How children's brains memorize math facts
From Science Daily: As children learn basic arithmetic, they gradually switch from solving problems by counting on their fingers to pulling facts from memory. The shift comes more easily for some kids than for others, but no one knows why. Now, new brain-imaging research gives the first evidence drawn from a longitudinal study to explain how the brain reorganizes itself as children learn math facts.

Powerful math creates 3-D shapes from simple sketches
From Science Daily: A new graphics system that can easily produce complex 3-D shapes from simple professional sketches will be unveiled by computer scientists. The technology has the potential to dramatically simplify how designers and artists develop new product ideas. Converting an idea into a 3-D model using current commercial tools can be a complicated and painstaking process.

Quantum simulators explained
From Science Daily: Everything you ever wanted to know about quantum simulators summed up in a new review. A quantum simulator is a device that actively uses quantum effects to answer questions on model systems. This review outlines various approaches used in quantum simulators.

Numerical learning disability: Dyscalculia linked to difficulties in reading and spelling
From Science Daily: Between three and six percent of schoolchildren suffer from an arithmetic-related learning disability. Researchers now show that these children are also more likely to exhibit deficits in reading and spelling than had been previously suspected.

Preterm children do not have an increased risk for dyscalculia, new research suggests
From Science Daily: Preterm children do not suffer from dyscalculia more often than healthy full-term children, experts say, contrary to previous studies. Unlike most other studies, the researchers took the children’s IQ into consideration.

A mathematical theory proposed by Alan Turing in 1952 can explain the formation of fingers
From Science Daily: Researchers have shown that BMP and WNT proteins are the so-called 'Turing molecules' for creating embryonic fingers. Findings explain why polydactyly -- the development of extra fingers or toes -- is relatively common in humans, affecting up to one in 500 births, and confirms a fundamental theory first proposed by the founding father of computer science, Alan Turing, back in 1952.

Unintended consequences of raising state math, science graduation requirements
From Science Daily: Raising state-mandated math and science course graduation requirements (CGRs) may increase high school dropout rates without a meaningful effect on college enrollment or degree attainment, according to new research. To examine the effects of state-mandated CGRs on educational attainment, researchers looked at student outcomes in 44 states where CGRs were mandated in the 1980s and 1990s.

Reinventing biology labs by turning smartphones into microscopes
From Science Daily: With nothing more than a smartphone and less than $10 of trinkets and hardware supplies, students can build their own microscopes. The DIY microscopes can magnify samples up to 175 times with a single laser pointer lens, or nearly 400 times when stacking two lenses.

'I can't figure out how to do this!': Active-learning techniques effective for large scale classes?
From Science Daily: In the past 10 years an active-learning course, called Active Physics, has gradually displaced lecture-based introductory course in physics at an American university. But are active-learning techniques effective when they are scaled up to large classes? A comprehensive three-year evaluation suggests that Active Physics consistently produces more proficient students with better attitudes toward learning than the lecture courses it is replacing.

July 2014

Creating sustainable STEM teacher programs
From Science Daily: Faculty members who choose to champion physics teacher education, in combination with institutional motivation and commitment, ensure that STEM teacher education programs remain viable after initial funding ends.

Atmosphere of Titan, Saturn's largest moon
From Science Daily: An astronomer has published the results of the comparison of his model of Titan's atmosphere with the latest data.

Fair cake cutting gets its own algorithm
From Science Daily: A mathematician and a political scientist have announced an algorithm by which they show how to optimally share cake between two people efficiently, in equal pieces and in such a way that no one feels robbed.

Size and age of plants impact their productivity more than climate
From Science Daily: The size and age of plants has more of an impact on their productivity than temperature and precipitation, according to a landmark study. They show that variation in terrestrial ecosystems is characterized by a common mathematical relationship but that climate plays a relatively minor direct role. The results have important implications for models used to predict climate change effects on ecosystem function and worldwide food production.

Philosopher uses game theory to understand how words, actions acquire meaning
From Science Daily: Why does the word "dog" have meaning? If you say "dog" to a friend, why does your friend understand you? A philosopher aims to address these types of questions in his latest research, which focuses on long-standing philosophical questions about semantic meaning. Philosophers and a mathematician are collaborating to use game theory to analyze communication and how it acquires meaning.

Math can make the Internet 5-10 times faster
From Science Daily: Mathematical equations can make Internet communication via computer, mobile phone or satellite many times faster and more secure than today. A new study uses a four minute long mobile video as an example. The method used by the Danish and US researchers in the study resulted in the video being downloaded five times faster than state of the art technology. The video also streamed without interruptions. In comparison, the original video got stuck 13 times along the way.

'Game theory' model reveals vulnerable moments for metastatic cancer cells' energy production
From Science Daily: Cancer’s no game, but researchers are borrowing ideas from evolutionary game theory to learn how cells cooperate within a tumor to gather energy. Their experiments, they say, could identify the ideal time to disrupt metastatic cancer cell cooperation and make a tumor more vulnerable to anti-cancer drugs.

Feedback control could be key to robust conservation management
From Science Daily: Mathematical algorithms used to control everyday household items such as washing machines could hold the key to winning the fight for conservation, a new study has claimed. A team of scientists and mathematicians has shown how techniques commonly used in control engineering, could be replicated in the natural world to help restock declining populations.

Ranavirus predicted to be potential new culprit in amphibian extinctions
From Science Daily: Amphibian declines and extinctions around the world have been linked to an emerging fungal disease called chytridiomycosis, but new research from shows that another pathogen, ranavirus, may also contribute. In a series of mathematical models, researchers showed that ranavirus, which causes severe hemorrhage of internal organs in frogs, could cause extinction of isolated populations of wood frogs if they are exposed to the virus every few years, a scenario that has been documented in wild populations.

Making quantum connections: The speed of information in a spin network
From Science Daily: Physicists are pretty adept at controlling quantum systems and even making certain entangled states. Researchers are putting these skills to work to explore the dynamics of correlated quantum systems. Recent results investigated how information flows through a quantum many-body system.

Same genes drive mathematics and reading ability
From Science Daily: About half of the genes that influence how well a child can read also play a role in their mathematics ability, say scientists who led a study into the genetic basis of cognitive traits. While mathematics and reading ability are known to run in families, the complex system of genes affecting these traits is largely unknown. The finding deepens scientists' understanding of how nature and nurture interact, highlighting the important role that a child's learning environment may have on the development of reading and mathematics skills, and the complex, shared genetic basis of these cognitive traits.

Platonic solids generate their four-dimensional analogues
From Science Daily: Platonic solids are regular bodies in three dimensions, such as the cube and icosahedron, and have been known for millennia. They feature prominently in the natural world wherever geometry and symmetry are important, for instance in lattices and quasi-crystals, as well as fullerenes and viruses. Platonic solids have counterparts in four dimensions, and mathematicians have now shown that there are six of them, five of which have very strange symmetries.

Mathematical model illustrates our online 'copycat' behavior
From Science Daily: Researchers examined how users are influenced in the choice of apps that they install on their Facebook pages by creating a mathematical model to capture the dynamics at play.

Behavioral economics: Rich boys more competitive
From Science Daily: Why do we make the choices that we do? Are we born this way or have we become this way? Behavioral economists are looking for answers by the use of economics and math exercises in the laboratory.

19th century math tactic gets a makeover -- and yields answers up to 200 times faster
From Science Daily: A relic from long before the age of supercomputers, the 169-year-old math strategy called the Jacobi iterative method is widely dismissed today as too slow to be useful. But thanks to a curious, numbers-savvy engineering student and his professor, it may soon get a new lease on life.

Winners of Inaugural Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics
From the AMS website: Simon Donaldson, Maxim Kontsevich, Jacob Lurie, Richard Taylor, and Terence Tao are the recipients of the first Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics. Each of the five mathematicians will receive US$3 million.

June 2014

Mathematical models explain how a wrinkle becomes a crease
From Science Daily: Wrinkles, creases and folds are everywhere in nature, from the surface of human skin to the buckled crust of the Earth. They can also be useful structures for engineers. Wrinkles in thin films, for example, can help make durable circuit boards for flexible electronics. A new mathematical model developed by researchers from Brown University could help engineers control the formation of wrinkle, crease, and fold structures in a wide variety of materials. It may also help scientists understand how these structures form in nature.

Using math to analyze movement of cells, organisms, disease
From Science Daily: Math has been used by researchers to analyze movement of organisms and cells and transmission of disease in populations. Three recent articles have been published that focus on these issues.

Criminal profiling technique targets killer diseases
From Science Daily: A mathematical tool used by the Metropolitan Police and FBI has been adapted by researchers to help control outbreaks of malaria, and has the potential to target other infectious diseases. "The model has potential to identify the source of other infectious diseases as well, and we're now working with public health bodies to develop it further for use with TB, cholera and Legionnaires' disease," one researcher noted.

New research proves gender bias extraordinarily prevalent in science, technology, engineering and math fields
From Science Daily: With everyone from the federal government to corporate America working to encourage more women to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math fields, you would think the doors would be wide open to women of all backgrounds. A new study shows that this could not be further from the truth and that gender bias among hiring managers in STEM fields is extraordinarily prevalent.

How does a soccer ball swerve? Smoothness of a ball's surface, in addition to playing technique, is a critical factor
From Science Daily: It happens every four years: The World Cup begins and some of the world's most skilled players carefully line up free kicks, take aim -- and shoot way over the goal. The players are all trying to bend the ball into a top corner of the goal, often over a wall of defensive players and away from the reach of a lunging goalkeeper.

With light echoes, the invisible becomes visible
From Science DailyScientists have developed a novel camera system which can see around the corner without using a mirror. Using diffusely reflected light, it reconstructs the shape of objects outside of the field of view. A laser shines on the wall; a camera watches the scene. Nothing more than white ingrain wallpaper with a bright spot of light can be seen through the lens. A computer records these initially unremarkable images and as the data is processed further, little by little, the outlines of an object appear on a screen.

Strange physics turns off laser
From Science Daily: Inspired by anomalies that arise in certain mathematical equations, researchers have demonstrated a laser system that paradoxically turns off when more power is added rather than becoming continuously brighter. The findings could lead to new ways to manipulate the interaction of electronics and light, an important tool in modern communications networks and high-speed information processing.

A life well spent: Consume now (in case you die early)
From Science Daily: An early death constitutes a serious loss that should imply compensation to the deceased person. But how – when the person is dead? A team of economists argues that a 'life well spent' might entail consuming more and working less earlier in life. They construct a mathematical model to measure the economic losses associated with an early death.

Of dinosaurs and mathematics: Classification of a dinosaur bone found in Australia reexamined
From Science Daily: Dinosaurs and mathematics do not seem like an obvious pair, but for one professor they are a logical match. Palaeontologists have now reexamined the classification of a dinosaur bone found in Australia through expertise in mathematics. Mathematicians were able to help the paleontologists reclassify a single arm bone as belonging to a dinosaur family previously believed not to have existed in the Southern Hemisphere.

A new methodology developed to monitor traffic flow
From Science Daily: Scientists have developed a new mathematical methodology to monitor traffic flow so that medium and long-term forecasts can be made. One of the key aspects of the methodology applied is its capacity to detect changes in traffic flow patterns.

When the soil slips away: Mathematical models help understand natural disasters
From Science Daily: An estimated 600 people worldwide die every year due to landslides, rock avalanches and mudslides. The underlying physical processes are complex and almost impossible to measure. Researchers are studying the flow behavior of granular-fluid mixtures using mathematical models.

Interactive teaching methods help students master tricky calculus
From Science Daily: The key to helping students learn complicated math is to understand how to apply it to new ideas and make learning more interactive, according to a new study. Pre-class assignments, small group discussions and clicker quizzes improve students' ability to grasp tricky first-year calculus concepts.

May 2014

Physicists use geometry to understand 'jamming' process
From Science Daily: Physicists using a supercomputer and mathematically rich formulas have captured fundamental insights about what happens when objects moving freely jam to a standstill. Their approach captures jamming -- the point at which objects come together too tightly to move -- by identifying geometric signatures. The payoff, while likely far down the road, could be a roadmap to preventing overfilled conveyor belts from stopping in factories, separating oil deposits trapped in sand, or allowing for the rapid, efficient transfer of mass quantities of data packets on the Internet.

Cure for dry eye could be a blink away
From Science Daily: The basic motion of tear film traversing the eye has been the focus of recent study. Dry eye -- a burning, gritty condition that can impair vision and damage the cornea -- is a common condition without a cure. Many causes, including the aging process, contribute to discomfort resulting from either a lack of tears or tears that evaporate too quickly. A treatment for dry eye could some day result from computer simulations that map the way tears move across the surface of the eye.

Atomic-level protection for drivers
From Science Daily: A new window on the world of atoms will make future vehicles safer in collisions. Scientists have set out on an unusual journey – into the interior of certain materials. They are about to build a mathematical model of tiny but vital zones in aluminum vehicle bumper systems. The research group will use this virtual “mini-laboratory” to study the chaos we create when we crash a car.

Putting a number on opinion dynamics in a population
From Science Daily: Opinion formation in a large population is influenced by both endogenous factors, such as interaction with one's peers, as well as exogenous factors, such as the media. In a recent paper, authors use a mathematical model to study the process of information assimilation in a population resulting from such exogenous inputs.

Mathematics to improve running
From Science Daily: How can runners improve their performance, weight and fitness? Researchers have produced a mathematical model to optimize running, which could lead to personal e-coaching customized to each individual's physiological state. It also confirms a well-known fact in the sports community: runners who vary their speed spend their energy better and thus run longer. Mathematics gives them the opportunity to switch from simple statistical tools to personalized sporting advice.

Stability lost as supernovae explode
From Science Daily: Exploding supernovae are a phenomenon that is still not fully understood. The trouble is that the state of nuclear matter in stars cannot be reproduced on Earth. Scientists have now developed a new model of supernovae represented as dynamical systems subject to a loss of stability, just before they explode. Because similar stability losses also occur in dynamical systems in nature, this model could be used to predict natural catastrophes before they happen.

Quantum simulator gives clues about magnetism
From Science Daily: Researchers optically trapped a cloud of gas a billion times colder than air in a very low-pressure vacuum, and found a lower speed limit to diffusion. Assembling the puzzles of quantum materials is, in some ways, like dipping a wire hanger into a vat of soapy water, says one of the researchers. Long before mathematical equations could explain the shapes and angles in the soap foams, mathematicians conjectured that soap films naturally found the geometry that minimized surface area, thus solving the problem of minimal surfaces. They could be created simply by blowing soap bubbles.

Online buzz forecasts new product performance months before product release
From Science Daily: Companies can significantly improve the forecasting accuracy of forthcoming products' performance by mining online consumer buzz prior to product release, according to a new study. Social media attention to a firm's forthcoming products also influences its stock price, the study shows.

Math makes mobile maps meaningful
From Science Daily: Due to the success of navigation devices and smartphones, digital maps are used widely in everyday life. They guide us safely along motorways or to the next bakery as long as the map is good and clear. However, representation of many information items on small, mobile screens is not trivial. Computer scientists have now developed a method to ensure mathematically optimal adaptation of the labeling to the perspective and driving direction.

Predator-prey made simple: Simplifying studies of predator-prey interactions and other 'bistable' systems
From Science Daily: Scientists have developed a way to dramatically reduce the complexity of modeling "bistable" systems which involve the interaction of two evolving species where one changes faster than the other (“slow-fast systems”). The work paves the way for easier computational simulations and predictions involving such systems, which are found in fields as diverse as chemistry, biology and ecology.

Predicting therapy outcomes in prostate cancer with bone metastasis
From Science Daily: A new computational model that simulates bone metastasis of prostate cancer has the potential to rapidly assess experimental therapy outcomes and help develop personalized medicine for patients with this disease, according to data. The researchers found that when they introduced a single metastatic prostate cancer cell to the model, it was able to simulate bone metastasis seven out of 25 times, accurately creating the vicious cycle. This phenomenon is difficult to reproduce using preclinical animal models, which is critical in determining the best time to apply therapies in order to obtain maximum efficiency, they explained.

Working to cure 'dry eye' disease
From Science Daily: The eye is an exquisitely sensitive system with many aspects that remain somewhat of a mystery -- both in the laboratory and in the clinic. Mathematicians and optometrists are working to change this by gaining a better understanding of the inner workings of tear film distribution over the eye’s surface. This, in turn, may lead to better treatments or a cure for the tear film disease known as “dry eye.”

April 2014

Mathematicians trace source of Rogers-Ramanujan identities, find algebraic gold
From Science Daily: Mathematicians have found a framework for the celebrated Rogers-Ramanujan identities and their arithmetic properties, solving another long-standing mystery stemming from the work of Indian math genius Srinivasa Ramanujan. The findings yield a treasure trove of algebraic numbers and formulas to access them.

Proving uncertainty: New insight into old problem
From Science Daily: Nearly 90 years after Werner Heisenberg pioneered his uncertainty principle, a group of researchers from three countries has provided substantial new insight into this fundamental tenet of quantum physics with the first rigorous formulation supporting the uncertainty principle as Heisenberg envisioned it.

Mapping the road to quantum gravity
From Science Daily: The road uniting quantum field theory and general relativity -- the two great theories of modern physics -- has been impassable for 80 years. Could a tool from condensed matter physics finally help map the way?

Technical tests of biodiversity: When physicists play with genetics of populations
From Science Daily: The effect of migration on biodiversity (intended as the coexistence of different genetic traits) is an open question: does migration increase or decrease the genetic variability of populations? Or is the relationship more complex than that? A team of physicists has developed and analyzed a model that simulates the effect of migration on the genetic biodiversity of populations, and discovered that the effect is all but trivial.

'Body hack' app by math researchers shortcuts jet-lag recovery
From Science Daily: A different kind of jet-lag mobile app released today by mathematicians reveals previously unknown shortcuts that can help travelers snap their internal clocks to new time zones as efficiently as possible.

Method offers potential for understanding anti-bacterial resistance
From Science Daily: Biologists could gain a deeper understanding about how species have evolved -- and even find ways to address antibiotic resistance -- using tools that were recently developed. By basing their methods on mathematical models and Bayesian analysis, the researchers succeeded in producing tools for biologists who are interested in jumping genes and the traits they carry with them.

Should you trust your financial advisor? Pseudo-mathematics and financial charlatanism
From Science Daily: Your financial advisor calls you up to suggest a new investment scheme. Drawing on 20 years of data, he has set his computer to work on this question: If you had invested according to this scheme in the past, which portfolio would have been the best? His computer assembled thousands of such simulated portfolios and calculated for each one an industry-standard measure of return on risk. Out of this gargantuan calculation, your advisor has chosen the optimal portfolio. After briefly reminding you of the oft-repeated slogan that "past performance is not an indicator of future results," the advisor enthusiastically recommends the portfolio, noting that it is based on sound mathematical methods. Should you invest?

Synthetic genetic clock keeps accurate time across a range of temperatures
From Science Daily: A long-standing challenge in synthetic biology has been to create gene circuits that behave in predictable and robust ways. Mathematical modeling experts and experimental biologists have now created a synthetic genetic clock that keeps accurate time across a range of temperatures.

'Unbreakable' security codes inspired by nature
From Science Daily: A revolutionary new method of encrypting confidential information has been patented by scientists inspired by their discoveries from human biology, which model how the heart and lungs coordinate their rhythms by passing information between each other.

Overcoming structural uncertainty in computer models
From Science Daily: A computer model is a representation of the functional relationship between one set of parameters, which forms the model input, and a corresponding set of target parameters, which forms the model output. A true model for a particular problem can rarely be defined with certainty. The most we can do to mitigate error is to quantify the uncertainty in the model. Scientists have now offered a method to incorporate judgments into a model about structural uncertainty that results from building an 'incorrect' model.

March 2014

Mathematical route to fighting viruses taken by scientists
From Science Daily: Mathematicians have joined forces with experimentalists to take an important step in discovering how viruses make new copies of themselves during an infection. The researchers have constructed a mathematical model that provides important new insights about the molecular mechanisms behind virus assembly which helps to explain the efficiency of their operation.

New guidance system could improve minimally invasive surgery
From Science Daily: A computerized process that could make minimally invasive surgery more accurate and streamlined using equipment already common in the operating room has been developed by researchers.

Mathematician releases 2014 Major League Baseball projections
From Science Daily:As Opening Day rapidly approaches for most Major League Baseball teams, a professor has prepared his annual MLB projections for the upcoming season.

Model predicts blood glucose levels 30 minutes later
From Science Daily: A mathematical model can predict with more than 90 percent accuracy the blood glucose levels of individuals with type 1 diabetes up to 30 minutes in advance of imminent changes in their levels -- plenty of time to take preventative action. A person's blood glucose levels fluctuate in response to his or her insulin dose, meal intake, physical activity and emotional state. How great these fluctuations are depends on the individual, explain the researchers.

For neurons in the brain, identity can be used to predict location
From Science Daily: There are many types of neurons, defined largely by the patterns of genes they use, and they 'live' in distinct brain regions. But researchers do not yet have a comprehensive understanding of these neuronal types and how they are distributed in the brain. A team of scientists describes a new mathematical model that combines large data sets to predict where different types of cells are located within the brain.

Strange materials cropping up in condensed matter laboratories
From Science Daily: Physicists are using surprising ideas and mathematical tools originating in string theory to guide research into strange materials that are cropping up in condensed matter laboratories. There are a handful of systems that cannot be described by considering electrons (or any other kind of quasi-particle) moving around.

Preterm children at increased risk of having math problems
From Science Daily: Preterm children are at an increased risk of having general cognitive and mathematic problems, research has concluded. "Teachers should be aware of these children's problems and need to work on ways of math instruction that help preterm children deal with the high cognitive workload and integration of information required for mathematic tasks in school," says a co-author.

Small step towards growing tissue in the lab
From Science Daily: Mathematicians have devised a method for identifying how cell clusters have formed by analyzing an image of the cluster. Their modelling tool will be useful in helping biologists and tissue engineers to move towards growing human tissue such as liver in the laboratory.

Who's afraid of math? Study finds some genetic factors
From Science Daily: A new study of math anxiety shows how some people may be at greater risk to fear math not only because of negative experiences, but also because of genetic risks related to both general anxiety and math skills. The results don't mean that math anxiety can be blamed solely or even mostly on genetic factors, the researchers emphasized. In this study, genetic factors explained about 40 percent of the individual differences in math anxiety.

Scientist uses physics (again) to fight cancer
From Science Daily: Physics applies to everything. So when Vittorio Cristini, PhD, started researching cancer, he applied physics. The result he got was a set of mathematical equations that describe, for each person, how many of their tumor cells a cancer treatment could kill. Now, Dr. Cristini and his collaborators describe how they applied these equations to pancreatic cancer. It's an application that will soon help oncologists use the mathematical model to develop treatment plans for all cancer patients.

Equation to describe competition between genes
From Science Daily: Biologists typically conduct experiments first, and then develop models afterward to show how data fit with theory. New research flips that practice on its head. A biophysicist tackles questions in cellular biology as a physicist would -- by first formulating a model that can make predictions and then testing those predictions. Using this strategy, this research group has recently developed a mathematical model that accounts for the way genes compete with each other for the proteins that regulate their expression.

Cancer cells don't take 'drunken' walks through body
From Science Daily: Biologists have believed that cancers cells spread through the body in a slow, aimless fashion, resembling a drunk who can't walk three steps in a straight line. They now know that's true in a flat petri dish, but not in the three-dimensional space of an actual body. This finding is important because it should lead to more accurate results for scientists studying how cancer spreads through the body, often leading to a grim prognosis. To address this dimensional disagreement, the study's authors have produced a new mathematical formula that they say better reflects the behavior of cells migrating through 3D environments.

Are you smarter than a 5-year-old? Preschoolers can do algebra
From Science Daily: Millions of high school and college algebra students are united in a shared agony over solving for x and y, and for those to whom the answers don't come easily, it gets worse: Most preschoolers and kindergarteners can do some algebra before even entering a math class. A new study finds that most preschoolers and kindergarteners, or children between 4 and 6, can do basic algebra naturally.

Classroom focus on social, emotional skills can lead to academic gains, study shows
From Science Daily: Classroom programs designed to improve elementary school students' social and emotional skills can also increase reading and math achievement, even if academic improvement is not a direct goal of the skills building, according to a study. The benefit holds true for students across a range of socio-economic backgrounds.

To teach scientific reproducibility, start young
From Science Daily: In the wake of retraction scandals and studies showing reproducibility rates as low as 10 percent for peer-reviewed articles, the scientific community has focused attention on ways to improve transparency and duplication. A team of math and statistics professors has proposed a way to address one root of that problem: teach and emphasize reproducibility to aspiring scientists, using software that makes the concept feel logical rather than cumbersome.

The nature of color: New formula to calculate hue improves accuracy of color analysis
From Science Daily: Color is crucial in ecological studies, playing an important role in studies of flower and fruit development, responses to heat/drought stress, and plant–pollinator communication. But, measuring color variation is difficult, and available formulas sometimes give misleading results. An improved formula to calculate hue (one of three variables characterizing color) has now been developed.

February 2014

Math anxiety factors into understanding genetically modified food messages
From Science Daily: People who feel intimidated by math may be less able to understand messages about genetically modified foods and other health-related information, according to researchers.

Probing the edge of chaos: How do variable physical characteristics behave at the point preceding onset of chaos?
From Science Daily: The edge of chaos -- right before chaos sets in -- is a unique place. It is found in many dynamical systems that cross the boundary between a well-behaved dynamics and a chaotic one. Now, physicists have shown that the distribution -- or frequency of occurrence -- of the variables constituting the physical characteristics of such systems at the edge of chaos has a very different shape than previously reported distributions. This could help us better understand natural phenomena with a chaotic nature.

Forest model predicts canopy competition: Airborne lasers help researchers understand tree growth
From Science Daily: Scientists use measurements from airborne lasers to gauge changes in the height of trees in the forest. Tree height tells them things like how much carbon is being stored. But what accounts for height changes over time -- vertical growth or overtopping by a taller tree? A new statistical model helps researchers figure out what's really happening on the ground.

Clutter cutter: Computer modeling used to understand how messy cells contribute to cancer
From Science Daily: In a messy house, people use computers to manage paper and photo clutter; companies use computer systems to track their inventory. Researchers are taking a similar approach to cell-molecular inventory control for cancer. They have created computer models, using their programming framework (PySB), which enable them to explore the complex biochemical processes that drive cancer growth.

Common medicines should mimic timing of body's natural systems to prevent side-effects
From Science Daily: Debilitating side effects associated with prescription medication for some of today's most common conditions could be eradicated if they mimicked the body's natural hormone secretion cycles, a new report has said. Researchers focused on the dynamics of natural hormone secretion and subsequent effects on the brain and other organs. Combining mathematical modelling with the latest clinical and experimental data, they found that the body regulates the release of crucial steroid hormones (such as cortisol) in pulses approximately every hour.

Better way to make sense of 'Big Data?'
From Science Daily: Big data is everywhere, and we are constantly told that it holds the answers to almost any problem we want to solve. But simply having lots of data is not the same as understanding it. New mathematical tools are needed to extract meaning from enormous data sets. Researchers now challenge the most recent advances in this field, using a classic mathematical concept to tackle the outstanding problems in big data analysis.

How evolution shapes the geometries of life
From Science Daily: An interdisciplinary team re-examined Kleiber's Law, a famous 80-year-old equation that accurately describes many biological phenomena, although scientists don't agree on why it works. The team shows that Kleiber's Law captures the physics and mathematics underlying the evolution of plants' and animals' different, but equally efficient forms.

Geophysicist teams with mathematicians to describe how river rocks round
From Science Daily: For centuries, geologists have recognized that the rocks that line riverbeds tend to be smaller and rounder further downstream. But these experts have not agreed on the reason these patterns exist. Abrasion causes rocks to grind down and become rounder as they are transported down the river. Does this grinding reduce the size of rocks significantly, or is it that smaller rocks are simply more easily transported downstream? A new study has arrived at a resolution to this puzzle.

Mathematical beauty activates same brain region as great art or music
From Science Daily: People who appreciate the beauty of mathematics activate the same part of their brain when they look at aesthetically pleasing formula as others do when appreciating art or music, suggesting that there is a neurobiological basis to beauty.

The physics of curly hair: Researchers develop first detailed model for a 3-D strand of curly hair
From Science Daily:The heroes and villains in animated films tend to be on opposite ends of the moral spectrum. But they're often similar in their hair, which is usually extremely rigid or -- if it moves at all -- is straight and swings to and fro. It's rare to see an animated character with bouncy, curly hair, since computer animators don't have a simple mathematical means for describing it. But now, researchers have developed the first detailed model for a 3-D strand of curly hair.

Scents that are sent: oPhone delivers aromas
From Science Daily: A technological breakthrough is on the horizon: a new kind of smart phone that sends scents. Scientists have created the oPhone, which will allow odors -- oNotes -- to be sent, via Bluetooth and smartphone attachments, to oPhones across the state, country or ocean, where the recipient can enjoy American Beauties or any other variety of rose.

New application of physics tools used in biology
From Science Daily: A Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory physicist and his colleagues have found a new application for the tools and mathematics typically used in physics to help solve problems in biology. Specifically, the team used statistical mechanics and mathematical modeling to shed light on something known as epigenetic memory -- how an organism can create a biological memory of some variable condition, such as quality of nutrition or temperature.

New kinds of maths skills needed in the future ’ and new educational practices
From Science Daily: The nature of the mathematical skills required from competent citizens is changing. Gone are the days of inertly applying and performing standard calculations. The mathematical minds of the future will need to understand how different economic, social, technological and work-related processes can be mathematically represented or modeled. A project included in the Academy of Finland's research program The Future of Learning, Knowledge and Skills (TULOS) is exploring new pedagogical practices and technological environments that can prepare students for the flexible and adaptive use of their mathematical skills in future activity environments.

Biostatistics approach to genetics yields new clues to roots of autism
From Science Daily: Researchers have developed a statistical method for genetic screens that improves the classic genome-wide association screen, and, applying to autism, have uncovered genes related to the disorder that had not been suggested in previous analyses. The scientists offer evidence that beginning treatment in infants at the first symptoms could change the course of the disease, possibly preventing the permanent ’pruning’ of neurons, which occurs during the first two years of life, from cementing autistic symptoms in place.

January 2014

Intuitive number games boost children's math performance
From Science Daily: A quick glance at two, unequal groups of paper clips (or other objects) leads most people to immediately intuit which group has more. In a new study, researchers report that practicing this kind of simple, instinctive numerical exercise can improve children's ability to solve math problems. A report of the study appears in the journal Cognition. "We wanted to know how basic intuitions about numbers relate to mathematics development," said University of Illinois psychology professor Daniel Hyde, who conducted the study with Saeeda Khanum, of Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad, and Elizabeth Spelke, of Harvard University. "Specifically we wanted to know whether thinking intuitively about numbers, such as approximating and comparing sets without counting, helps in actually doing math."

New Computer Model May Aid Personalized Cancer Care
From Science Daily: Dana-Farber Cancer Institute scientists have developed a mathematical model to predict how a patient’s tumor is likely to behave and which of several possible treatments is most likely to be effective. Reporting in the journal Cell Reports, researchers combined several types of data from pre- and post-treatment biopsies of breast tumors to obtain a molecular picture of how the cancer evolved as a result of chemotherapy.

Tracing Unique Cells With Mathematics
From Science Daily: Stem cells can turn into heart cells, skin cells can mutate to cancer cells; even cells of the same tissue type exhibit small heterogeneities. Scientists use single-cell analyses to investigate these heterogeneities. But the method is still laborious and considerable inaccuracies conceal smaller effects. Scientists at the Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen, at the Technische Unitversitaet Muenchen and the University of Virginia (USA) have now found a way to simplify and improve the analysis by mathematical methods.

Fever-Reducing Meds May Help Spread the Flu
From Science Daily: Contrary to popular belief, fever-reducing medication may inadvertently cause more harm than good. New research from McMaster University has discovered that the widespread use of medications that contain fever-reducing drugs may lead to tens of thousands more influenza cases, and more than a thousand deaths attributable to influenza, each year across North America. These drugs include ibuprofen, acetaminophen and acetylsalicylic acid.

New Method for Studying Social Processes Brings Clarity to Global Economic, Political Change
From Science Daily: Researchers at the Institute for Futures Studies and Uppsala University have developed a new method for studying complex social processes. The method makes it easy to discover dynamical patterns and relationships in data. The software, implementing this method, is already available for free, and an article about the method is published today in the scientific journal PLoS ONE.

New proposal for better allocation of donated livers in transplants
From Science Daily: Researchers at the University of Cordoba (Spain) have developed a system that measures compatibility between donors and the most serious receivers in liver transplants. This is a mathematical method that includes the experience of almost 1,500 donations registered in transplant units in Spain and the United Kingdom.

Refined model for reliable prediction of invasion dynamics
From Science Daily: The question how rapidly animals, plants or microorganisms can colonize new territories is not only of interest to ecologists -- the spread of invasive species can also have economic consequences, e.g. in the agricultural sector. Scientists at Eawag and the EPF Lausanne have now refined an existing model and, for the first time, used laboratory experiments to validate its ability to predict biological invasion dynamics.

25 Years of DNA On Computers
From Science Daily: DNA carries out its activities "diluted" in the cell nucleus. In this state it synthesises proteins and, even though it looks like a messy tangle of thread, in actual fact its structure is governed by precise rules that are important for it to carry out its functions. Biologists have studied DNA by observing it experimentally with a variety of techniques, which have only recently been supplemented by research in silico, that is to say, the study of DNA by means of computer simulations. This is a recent area of study, but it has already given a major contribution to knowledge in this field.

Soap Bubbles for Predicting Cyclone Intensity?
From Science Daily: Could soap bubbles be used to predict the strength of hurricanes and typhoons? However unexpected it may sound, this question prompted physicists at the Laboratoire Ondes et Mati’re d'Aquitaine (CNRS/universit’ de Bordeaux) to perform a highly novel experiment: they used soap bubbles to model atmospheric flow. A detailed study of the rotation rates of the bubble vortices enabled the scientists to obtain a relationship that accurately describes the evolution of their intensity, and propose a simple model to predict that of tropical cyclones.

December 2013

Using Maths, Researchers Seek to Improve Success in Transplants
From Science Daily: Given that 10.5 % of patients who receive a transplant reject the new organ, researchers at the Center of Research and Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Institute (Cinvestav) are working in the design of a tool capable of preventing this problem. The process consists in knowing the type of proteins in charge of metabolizing the drugs (enzymes) for each patient which would, helped by a mathematical model, allow to establish the exact dose needed of the immunosuppressive drugs required.

Variation in Adolescents Skills in Addition to Earlier Mathematics Skills Is Strongly Accounted for by Literacy Skills, Beliefs in Oneself as Mathematics Learner and Mathematical Task-Orientation
From Science Daily: Right after the PISA-results were published the whole Finland turned upside down. The performance of Finnish adolescents in mathematics had dropped from the very high end to 12th place. It started a discussion on bringing back the importance of motivation and "fun" in learning mathematics. The problem among our adolescents is that they are not very motivated towards school in general, whereas many of them also have specific lack of motivation towards learning and comprehending mathematics. However, Finnish adolescents still have a good learning potential, it just has to be re-accelerated and nourished.

In Addiction, Meditation Is Helpful When Coupled With Drug, Cognitive Therapies
From Science Daily: Using a computational model of addiction, a literature review and an in silico experiment, theoretical computer scientist Yariv Levy and colleagues suggest in a new paper this week that rehabilitation strategies coupling meditation-like practices with drug and behavior therapies are more helpful than drug-plus-talk therapy alone when helping people overcome addiction.

Kids Grasp Large Numbers Remarkably Young
From Science Daily: Children as young as 3 understand multi-digit numbers more than previously believed and may be ready for more direct math instruction when they enter school, according to research led by a Michigan State University education scholar.

No Math Gene: Learning Mathematics Takes Practice
From Science Daily: New research from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology shows that if you want to be good at math, you have to practice all different kinds of mathematics. What makes someone good at math? A love of numbers, perhaps, but a willingness to practice, too. And even if you are good at one specific type of math, you can't trust your innate abilities enough to skip practicing other types if you want to be good. New research at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim could have an effect on how math is taught. If you want to be really good at all types of math, you need to practice them all. You can't trust your innate natural talent to do most of the job for you.

Simple Mathematical Formula Describes Human Struggles
From Science Daily: Would you believe that a broad range of human struggles can be understood by using a mathematical formula? From child-parent struggles to cyber-attacks and civil unrest, they can all be explained with a simple mathematical expression called a "power-law."

Using Air Transportation Data to Predict Pandemics
From Science Daily: Computational work conducted at Northwestern University has led to a new mathematical theory for understanding the global spread of epidemics. The resulting insights could not only help identify an outbreak's origin but could also significantly improve the ability to forecast the global pathways through which a disease might spread.

Evolution of 'Third Party Punishment'
From Science Daily: You're shopping for holiday gifts when you spot someone pocketing a nice pair of leather gloves. What do you do? A new study by University of Maryland researchers appearing this week in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B predicts that whether you alert a manager to the theft or decide to do nothing may depend on whether you're shopping in a local store where you know the owners or in a city far from home.

Math Models Enhance Current Therapies for Coronary Heart Disease
From Science Daily: Coronary heart disease accounts for 18% of deaths in the United States every year. The disease results from a blockage of one or more arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle. This occurs as a result of a complex inflammatory condition called artherosclerosis, which leads to progressive buildup of fatty plaque near the surface of the arterial wall. In a paper published last month in the SIAM Journal on Applied Mathematics, authors Sean McGinty, Sean McKee, Roger Wadsworth, and Christopher McCormick devise a mathematical model to improve currently-employed treatments of coronary heart disease (CHD).

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.

November 2013

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 Press’, 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 Press’. 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.

October 2013

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.

September 2013

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.

August 2013

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 ’ ’ -- 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.

July 2013

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 N’’ez, 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.

June 2013

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.

May 2013

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.

April 2013

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.

March 2013

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.

February 2013

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."

January 2013

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.

December 2012

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.

November 2012

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.

October 2012

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.

September 2012

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.

August 2012

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.

July 2012

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.

June 2012

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.

May 2012

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 ...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.

April 2012

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.

March 2012

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.

February 2012

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....

January 2012

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.

December 2011

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.