Phys.org News Feeds

  • Maths researchers hail breakthrough in applications of artificial intelligence
    on December 1, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    For the first time, computer scientists and mathematicians have used artificial intelligence to help prove or suggest new mathematical theorems in the complex fields of knot theory and representation theory.

  • Study confirms link between spatial and math skills
    on December 1, 2021 at 1:50 pm

    People use spatial skills to manipulate, organize, reason about, and make sense of spatial relationships in real and imagined spaces. Estimating how much leftover mashed potatoes will fit in a storage container requires spatial skills, as do fitting a car into a parking space or assembling a new piece of furniture.

  • The Riemann conjecture unveiled by physics
    on November 23, 2021 at 5:49 pm

    A mystery of mathematics that has remained unsolved for more than 150 years can be unraveled thanks to a completely unexpected approach coming from statistical physics. This is the important conclusion of Giuseppe Mussardo, professor of Theoretical Physics at SISSA, and Andrè Leclair of Cornell University reported in an article just published in the Journal of Statistical Mechanics (JSTAT). The two scientists have shown that not only one can arrive at the solution to one of the most famous problems in mathematics, the Riemann conjecture, but that it is the physics of chaotic motions and the probability laws that regulate them that provide the elegant key to understand this great mathematical enigma. The research behind the article just published, lasted three years and the final part of it, the authors said, was “a real tour de force in the data analysis of an incredibly large set of prime numbers, the basic constituents of arithmetic, i.e. the real atoms of mathematics.”

  • An exploration of tipping in complex systems
    on November 23, 2021 at 5:47 pm

    Complex systems can be found in a diverse array of real-world scenarios, but are unified by their ability to suddenly transition between drastically different patterns of behavior. Known as ‘tipping,’ this type of transformation is generally triggered by small changes in the parameters of individual systems—whose effects can rapidly cascade to alter entire networks of interacting subsystems. In this special issue, EPJST explores the nature of tipping in complex systems through 21 new articles. Together, the studies reveal recent trends and directions of research within the field, and highlight the pressing challenges it will face in the future.

  • Pythagoras’ revenge: Humans didn’t invent mathematics, it’s what the world is made of
    on November 22, 2021 at 1:40 pm

    Many people think that mathematics is a human invention. To this way of thinking, mathematics is like a language: it may describe real things in the world, but it doesn’t “exist” outside the minds of the people who use it.

  • New method to analyze low-probability, high-risk events such as earthquakes, pandemics
    on November 18, 2021 at 2:44 pm

    Quick—if you had to guess, what would you think is most likely to end all life on Earth: a meteor strike, climate change or a solar flare? (Choose carefully.)

  • Does batting second in T20 world cup cricket offer a crucial advantage? A statistics professor explains
    on November 17, 2021 at 3:01 pm

    While Australian cricket fans celebrate their team’s triumph at the 2021 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, the tournament’s results have sparked a debate over whether the team that bats second has a potentially match-winning advantage before a ball is even bowled.

  • A brief history of minimal surfaces and the ants that love them
    on November 17, 2021 at 12:35 pm

    Consider a soap bubble. The way it contains the minimal possible surface area is surprisingly efficient. This is not a trivial issue. Mathematicians have been looking for better ways to calculate minimal surfaces for hundreds of years. Recently, Computer Science and Engineering Department Assistant Professor Albert Chern, and postdoctoral researcher Stephanie Wang, added a new page to this book with their paper: Computing Minimal Surfaces with Differential Forms, which was recently published by ACM Transactions on Graphics.

  • Lake’s radioactivity concentration predicted for 10,000 days after the Fukushima accident
    on November 4, 2021 at 12:53 pm

    In March 2011, the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant was damaged by a powerful earthquake and tsunami, causing nearby lakes to be contaminated with radioactive cesium-137. Although the contamination of one such lake, Lake Onuma on Mount Akagi, was measured for a few years after the accident, its long-term contamination has been uncertain. Now, a research team from Japan has shed light on this issue.

  • When is a ‘basin of attraction’ like an octopus?
    on November 4, 2021 at 11:54 am

    Mathematicians who study dynamical systems often focus on the rules of attraction. Namely, how does the choice of the starting point affect where a system ends up? Some systems are easier to describe than others. A swinging pendulum, for example, will always land at the lowest point no matter where it starts.

  • Judging the gymnastics judges
    on October 25, 2021 at 2:20 pm

    A new statistical engine that can systematically pinpoint how accurately gymnastics judges apply required marking guidelines has been developed by researchers in Switzerland. The results are published in De Gruyter’s Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports.

  • Efficient light with the help of mathematics
    on October 19, 2021 at 6:04 pm

    How do you make sure that light gets to the right place without loss of energy? To do that, lamps often use mirrors and lenses. But how do you adjust them properly to get the correct light output? Lotte Romijn investigated how to get light from a to b as efficiently as possible with the help of a mathematical algorithm, for very complicated target light outputs. She will obtain her doctorate on 19 October from the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science.

  • To probe an unexplored space of hard problems, researchers play the devil’s advocate
    on October 12, 2021 at 2:24 pm

    In computer science, the graph coloring problem is a classic. Inspired by the map-coloring problem, it asks: Given a network of nodes connected by links, what’s the minimum number of colors you need to color each node so that no links connect two of the same color? For small numbers of colors and links, looking for a solution is straightforward: Just try all possible combinations. But as links increase, the problem becomes more constrained—until, if there are too many links and not enough colors, no solution may exist at all.

  • Physics meets democracy in this modeling study
    on October 8, 2021 at 3:16 pm

    A study in the journal Physica A leverages concepts from physics to model how campaign strategies influence the opinions of an electorate in a two-party system.

  • What is chaos? A complex systems scientist explains
    on October 7, 2021 at 2:11 pm

    Chaos evokes images of the dinosaurs running wild in Jurassic Park, or my friend’s toddler ravaging the living room.

  • New mathematical tools to study opinion dynamics
    on October 6, 2021 at 11:57 am

    Research published in the SIAM Journal on Applied Mathematics describes a new mathematical model for studying influence across social networks. Using tools from the field of topology, Robert Ghrist and Ph.D. graduate Jakob Hansen developed a framework to track how opinions change over time in a wide range of scenarios, including ones where individuals can use deceptive behaviors and propaganda agents can drive a group’s consensus.

  • Mathematicians solve an old geometry problem on equiangular lines
    on October 4, 2021 at 7:31 pm

    Equiangular lines are lines in space that pass through a single point, and whose pairwise angles are all equal. Picture in 2D the three diagonals of a regular hexagon, and in 3D, the six lines connecting opposite vertices of a regular icosahedron. Mathematicians are not limited to three dimensions, however.

  • When intuition fails, how to use probability and statistics to find the real answers
    on October 4, 2021 at 12:09 pm

    Imagine there’s a bus that arrives every 30 minutes on average and you arrive at the bus stop with no idea when the last bus left. How long can you expect to wait for the next bus? Intuitively, half of 30 minutes sounds right, but you’d be very lucky to wait only 15 minutes.

  • Can math make redistricting more fair?
    on September 30, 2021 at 8:16 pm

    Just before midnight on Tuesday, Sept. 28, an independent, bipartisan commission voted to approve a new map for Colorado’s congressional districts––dividing the state into eight territories with roughly equal populations.

  • Being good at math might help you become great at sports
    on September 30, 2021 at 2:40 pm

    Following her triumph in the recent US Open tennis tournament, Emma Raducanu was interviewed by Chinese media outlet CGTN and revealed that maths was her favorite subject at school. Raducanu told the interviewer she was “a numbers person” and really enjoyed the problem-solving aspect. The tennis player, who recently received an A* at A-level, said she loved working on maths puzzles which, she said, gave her a thrill to solve.

  • New tool reveals ultimate owners of companies
    on September 29, 2021 at 1:50 pm

    Researchers from Skoltech, the European University at St. Petersburg, and Lomonosov Moscow State University have developed an algorithm that detects the ultimate controlling owners of companies. Applicable to datasets with millions of organizations, it runs faster and delivers more accurate results than competing approaches. By unwinding the complex web of owners, the algorithm makes it possible to get an idea of a closed company’s compliance with environmental, social, and governance standards by looking at the practices of its more transparent owner. The study is available from the arXiv preprint repository.

  • Memetics and neural models of conspiracy theories
    on September 28, 2021 at 5:37 pm

    Multitude of conspiracy theories people believe in all over the world is astonishing. They actually accompany each significant event: a catastrophe, assassination, death of a famous person or, currently, the COVID-19 pandemic. Because the formation of a distorted image of reality is so widespread this topic has been dealt with by numerous scientists. Various studies, articles and books using psychological, sociological, political science, or anthropological approaches have been published. However, the presumed conspiracy theories mechanism is still a matter of speculations because the problem is scarcely researched by specialists in natural science.

  • Music download patterns found to resemble infectious disease epidemic curves
    on September 22, 2021 at 3:20 pm

    A team of mathematicians at the McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind in Canada, has found that music download patterns resemble the patterns found in disease epidemics. In their paper published in Proceedings of the Royal Society A, the group describes applying a standard model used to describe the spread of disease to a large database of downloadable music.

  • Math researchers find new ways to improve the science of ‘trade-offs’
    on September 13, 2021 at 3:43 pm

    QUT researchers working on complicated problems in agriculture, ecology and medicine have developed a mathematical model to enable faster solutions.

  • Video analysis reveals aspects of posture that lead to success in judo throws
    on September 3, 2021 at 3:12 pm

    Scientists from the Faculty of Engineering, Information, and Systems at the University of Tsukuba analyzed video from top-level judo matches to systematically determine the aspects of posture, just before executing a throw, that lead to success. This work may help in quantitative measurements of other biomechanical processes, as well as improving coaching methods.

  • Research finally reveals ancient, universal equation for the shape of an egg
    on August 27, 2021 at 5:49 pm

    Researchers from the University of Kent, the Research Institute for Environment Treatment and Vita-Market Ltd have discovered the universal mathematical formula that can describe any bird’s egg existing in nature, a feat which has been unsuccessful until now.

  • Surprisingly popular voting algorithm developed to recover ranked choices
    on August 26, 2021 at 3:03 pm

    Imagine you are asked to rank the counties in Pennsylvania in terms of number of COVID-19 infections. Or you may be asked to rank the following cities in Pennsylvania based on their populations: Harrisburg, Allentown, Erie and State College.

  • Improved statistical methods for high-throughput omics data analysis
    on August 25, 2021 at 2:35 pm

    High-throughput omics technology has revolutionized biological and biomedical research and large volumes of omics data have been produced. For this, computational tools to manage and analyze the omics data have been developed and there are big challenges in how to process and interpret the omics data in the best way. Wenjiang Deng has worked to develop novel statistical methodologies and algorithms for omics data analysis, using both simulated and real cancer data to test the methods.

  • Swiss researchers declare new record for exact pi figure
    on August 17, 2021 at 9:18 am

    Swiss researchers said Monday they had calculated the mathematical constant pi to a new world-record level of exactitude, hitting 62.8 trillion figures using a supercomputer.

  • Beating the curse of dimensionality
    on August 16, 2021 at 1:58 pm

    A partial matching approach can overcome the dimensionality “curse” of continuous measurements over time to yield more accurate future predictions.