Articles about mathematics

Artist's impression of a lightning storm on Venus. Credit: ESA

Australian boffins have a ball with lightning maths

Scientists at Australia’s CSIRO have put forward a mathematical model which they believe could help explain the origin of ball lightning. While people have observed ball lightning for centuries – at least – explaining it has been so troublesome that it’s attracted a variety of strange hypotheses – all the way to microwave …
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Fujitsu boffins to help build uni exam-beating bot

Workers at IT giant Fujitsu will try to make every stressed-out Japanese student’s dream come true by building a robot capable of passing one the country’s most taxing university entrance exams. The Todai Robot project was begun in 2011 by Japan’s National Institute of Informatics (NII) to answer a simple question: “Can a …
Phil Muncaster, 12 Sep 2012
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Cambridge puts Isaac Newton's notes online

If you're looking for a bit of light reading this holiday season, Cambridge University is here to help: they've digitized and made available online over 4,000 pages of the pioneering scientist and mathemetician Sir Isaac Newton's most important works. Philosophiæ naturalis principia mathematica title page Principia title …
Rik Myslewski, 12 Dec 2011
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Benoit Mandelbrot, father of fractals, dies at 85

Benoit Mandelbrot, the father of fractals, died on October 14 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, at the age of 85. The cause of death was pancreatic cancer, according to an obituary in the New York Times. Mandelbrot fled Poland ahead of Nazi occupation when he was 11 and moved with his family to Paris. He studied at the Ecole …
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HP boffin claims million-dollar maths prize

Update An HP mathematician claims to have solved one of computer science's thorniest problems and thus bagged a $1m prize for his million-watt brainpower. Fellow number-boffins, however, are saying otherwise. The million-dollar challenge, one of seven thrown down by the Clay Mathematics Institute (CMI) in its Millennium Prize series …
Rik Myslewski, 11 Aug 2010
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'More than ever before' now studying Sci/Tech in Blighty

University admissions statistics reveal that more students than ever before in Blighty have enrolled on courses in science and engineering this year. Unfortunately this progress has been achieved at a grim cost, as far larger numbers of young people have as usual chosen to study law, business, management, psychology - and …
Lewis Page, 23 Oct 2009
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Cosmic flashbulb effect caused by 'black-hole invaders'

Boffins at Leeds Uni say they have come up with a new explanation for the mysterious astronomical phenomena known as "gamma ray bursts" (GRBs) because they consist of bursts of gamma rays. GRBs, originally noted by US military spy sats looking for evidence of surreptitious commie nuke tests, are puzzling because of their …
Lewis Page, 21 Sep 2009
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Boffins: Stop trying to monetise us, you don't know how

British boffins have cast doubt on government plans to reorient the nation's scientific and technical research so as to benefit the economy. They say that the connection between research and economic impact is poorly understood, and suggest that the government resists the temptation to meddle until it knows what it's doing. …
Lewis Page, 11 Sep 2009
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Zombie plague analysed by Canadian maths prof

A Canadian infectious-diseases boffin has published an authoritative mathematical model of zombie plagues. He concludes that the only scenario in which our civilisation could survive a zombie outbreak is one in which normal humans react immediately using extreme violence against the undead, without any attempt to cure or …
Lewis Page, 18 Aug 2009
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Dinosaurs actually slimmer than we thought, say boffins

American researchers say they have uncovered a mathematical mistake made by the dinosaur boffinry community, meaning that the weight of live dinos has long been massively overestimated. In a development with devastating consequences for various much-fancied works of fiction, it now appears that in fact the dinosaurs were …
Lewis Page, 22 Jun 2009
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DARPA to develop anti-Credit Crunch software

DARPA, the famed Pentagon boffinry bureau occasionally beset by marble-localisation issues, has struck again. This time, the agency seems to be seeking new mathematical tools which could - among other things - prevent any future collapses of global capitalism. The new project comes to us under the name "Survivability of …
Lewis Page, 7 May 2009
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DHS offers glimpse into life of its top snot'n'slobber expert

The widely-feared US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in a praiseworthy attempt to reach out to the American people, has offered up a glimpse into the exciting life of its top spittle expert. According to the DHS: Mark Nicas has given some of his best years to spittle. He builds models – the mathematical kind – of how …
Lewis Page, 16 Apr 2009
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Most undergraduates 'show fear when asked to do maths'

Six out of every ten university students are afraid of mathematics to the point where it deters them from studying technical subjects, according to new research. The proportion of students who "show symptoms of anxiety" regarding maths is also significantly higher among females than males. In a survey of 885 first-year …
Lewis Page, 2 Apr 2009
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3D laser maths models of women's bodies produced

Top Japanese mathematical modelling boffins have used the latest in 3D computing to achieve a much better grasp of women's bodies. Kensuke Nakamura of Kyoto Institute of Technology and Takao Kurokawa of Osaka University say that a truly accurate 3D mathematical picture of the female form has thus far been lacking. The duo say …
Lewis Page, 13 Mar 2009
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Tories choose sub-prime beard for maths post

The Tory party has chosen ex-Countdown presenter and secured loan advertiser Carol Vorderman to provide a public face for the party's "Maths Taskforce". Vorderman spent nine years shilling for FirstPlus - which offered loans to those with poor credit records. Barclays Bank - which owned FirstPlus - was looking for a buyer for …
John Oates, 2 Feb 2009

45th Mersenne prime discovered (possibly)

Distributed computing hasn't folded us a cure for cancer yet, but these projects in which PC users donate their spare processing power to solve scientific problems have unquestionably made major strides in uncovering ridiculously large prime numbers. Fans of bountiful digits may soon be rocked by the potential discovery of the …
Austin Modine, 29 Aug 2008
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Celebrity publicist develops mathematical 'fame formula'

A celebrated celebrity PR consultant has written a book in which he offers "mathematical" proof that fame - or anyway, spikes in fame - last fifteen months, rather than any traditional period of minutes. However, the bogo-scientific gloss applied to publicist Mark Borkowski's theories is so fragile as to shatter at a glance. …
Lewis Page, 28 Jul 2008
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Bosch, Siemens: Vorsprung durch kinder und technik

Remorseless Teutonic engineering firms, already desperate for engineering talent and seeing worse times ahead, have now moved their recruitment efforts into the kindergarten. Companies such as Bosch and Siemens believe that the post-industrial rot has now gone so deep that children must be put on the hard and righteous path at …
Lewis Page, 17 Jun 2008

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