Phys.org News Feeds

  • Using algorithms to determine sentencing may reduce length of prison sentences
    on July 29, 2021 at 12:52 pm

    American prisons and jails currently hold more than 2 million people—many of them jailed while awaiting trial or serving extremely long prison sentences. New research by Professor Christopher Slobogin, who holds a Milton R. Underwood Chair in Law at Vanderbilt Law School, indicates that a risk-prediction algorithm could help reduce those numbers.

  • Pre-election polls in 2020 had the largest errors in 40 years
    on July 20, 2021 at 2:18 pm

    Public opinion polls ahead of the 2020 election were the most inaccurate in a generation, according to Josh Clinton, Abby and Jon Winkelried Chair and professor of political science, who recently served as chair of a special task force convened by the American Association for Public Opinion Research specifically to evaluate polling. The task force found that polling during the two weeks before the election overstated support for then-Democratic nominee Joe Biden by 3.9 percentage points, which was the largest polling error since 1980 when support for Democratic nominee Jimmy Carter was overestimated by 6 percentage points. The presidential election between Biden, the eventual winner, and incumbent president Donald Trump was much closer than polling had indicated. A report detailing the task force’s discoveries and conclusions is here.

  • New study provides a solution for engineering cellular materials
    on July 14, 2021 at 9:14 am

    A new study by a Swansea University academic has announced a new mathematical formula that will help engineers assess the point at which cellular materials, which are used a wide range of applications ranging from aerospace to the construction industry, will bend and buckle.

  • Research rebuttal paper uncovers misuse of Holocaust datasets
    on June 29, 2021 at 6:44 pm

    Aerospace engineering faculty member Melkior Ornik is also a mathematician, a history buff, and a strong believer in integrity when it comes to using hard science in public discussions. So, when a story popped up in his news feed about a pair of researchers who developed a statistical method to analyze datasets and used it to purportedly refute the number of Holocaust victims from a concentration camp in Croatia, it naturally caught his attention.

  • Pac-Man and Picasso: Researcher pushes the boundaries of learning in mathematics education
    on June 24, 2021 at 7:36 pm

    Earth is a round planet where flat surfaces and perfect shapes are scarce, but assignments in many geometry courses are completed on grid paper with simplified line segments and symmetrical polygons.

  • Urban green space brings happiness when money can’t buy it anymore
    on June 22, 2021 at 12:52 pm

    Urban green spaces, such as parks, backyards, riverbanks, and urban farmlands, are thought to contribute to citizen happiness by promoting physical and mental health. While a number of previous studies have reported the mental benefits of green space, most had been conducted in the affluent parts of the world like the United States and Europe, and only a few involved a multi-country setting.

  • Researchers find optimal way to pay off student loans
    on June 18, 2021 at 5:46 pm

    After graduating or leaving college, many students face a difficult choice: Try to pay off their student loans as fast as possible to save on interest, or enroll in an income-based repayment plan, which offers affordable payments based on their income and forgives any balance remaining after 20 or 25 years.

  • COVID-19 spread model shows how vaccination affects pandemic
    on June 17, 2021 at 4:18 pm

    RUDN University mathematicians built a model of COVID-19 spreading based on two regression models. The mathematicians divided the countries into three groups, depending on the spreading rate and on the climatic conditions, and found a suitable mathematical approximation for each of them. Based on the model, the mathematicians predicted the subsequent waves. The forecast was accurate in countries where mass vaccination was not introduced. The results are published in Mathematics.

  • Predicting the evolution of a pandemic
    on June 15, 2021 at 2:35 pm

    The inclusion of biological uncertainty and the latest case data can significantly improve the prediction accuracy of standard epidemiological models of virus transmission, new research led by KAUST and the Kuwait College of Science and Technology (KCST) has shown.

  • Quantifying the role of chance in professional football
    on June 7, 2021 at 4:32 pm

    In football, chance is defined as actions or situations occurring during the game that cannot be planned and are therefore difficult to train for. Take for instance deflected shots, balls that rebound off the post only to be kicked straight into the goal or goals that are unintentionally assisted by a defender. The primary focus of most researchers has been on analyzing success factors, to enable the coach to build these systematically into the training program. But they have often neglected to include the pure chance factor at play. This is because of the difficulty of integrating such random chance factors into training routines and game patterns.

  • Applying mathematics takes ‘friendship paradox’ beyond averages
    on June 4, 2021 at 10:59 am

    The friendship paradox is the observation that the degrees of the neighbors of a node within any network will, on average, be greater than the degree of the node itself. In other words: your friends probably have more friends than you do.

  • Mathematician boosts domain decomposition method for asynchronous parallel computing
    on June 3, 2021 at 4:50 pm

    A RUDN University mathematician and his colleagues from France and Hungary developed an algorithm for parallel computing, which allows solving applied problems, such as in electrodynamics or hydrodynamics. The gain in time is up to 50%. The results are published in the Journal of Computational and Applied Mathematics.

  • Declassified Cold War code-breaking manual has lessons for solving ‘impossible’ puzzles
    on May 31, 2021 at 12:45 pm

    The United States National Security Agency—the country’s premier signals intelligence organization—recently declassified a Cold War-era document about code-breaking.

  • Scientists recognize intruders in noise
    on May 25, 2021 at 2:08 pm

    A team of scientists from MIPT and Kazan National Research Technical University is developing a mathematical apparatus that could lead to a breakthrough in network security. The results of the work have been published in the journal Mathematics.

  • The golden ratio: An ancient Greek formula could be responsible for most hit musicals
    on May 14, 2021 at 4:03 pm

    “What’s the secret to your success?” A simple question asked frequently of those who have achieved greatness in their field. Sometimes, that secret is so well disguised even the successful individual is unaware of its influence.

  • The emergence of cooperation: Team mathematically describes importance of cooperation and reputation
    on May 13, 2021 at 3:37 pm

    Cooperation as a successful strategy has evolved in both nature and human society, but understanding its emergence can be a difficult task. Researchers have to abstract interactions between individuals into mathematical formulas to be able to create a model that can be used for predictions and simulations.

  • A new bridge between the geometry of fractals and the dynamics of partial synchronization
    on May 12, 2021 at 3:05 pm

    In mathematics, simple equations can generate a complex evolution in time and intriguing patterns in space. One famous example of this is the Mandelbrot set, named after the French-American mathematician of Polish origin, Benoit B. Mandelbrot (1924-2010), the most studied fractal. This set is based on a single quadratic equation with only one parameter and one variable. The fascinating fractal patterns of the Mandelbrot set have attracted attention far beyond mathematics.

  • Mathematicians find core mechanism to calculate tipping points
    on May 10, 2021 at 4:12 pm

    Climate change, a pandemic or the coordinated activity of neurons in the brain: In all of these examples, a transition takes place at a certain point from the base state to a new state. Researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have discovered a universal mathematical structure at these so-called tipping points. It creates the basis for a better understanding of the behavior of networked systems.

  • When will your elevator arrive? Two physicists do the math
    on May 3, 2021 at 4:37 pm

    The human world is, increasingly, an urban one—and that means elevators. Hong Kong, the hometown of physicist Zhijie Feng (Boston University), adds new elevators at the rate of roughly 1500 every year…making vertical transport an alluring topic for quantitative research.

  • Benefits of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine outweigh its risks, modeling study suggests
    on April 27, 2021 at 3:00 pm

    The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is suspected of being linked to a small number of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) cases, which recently emerged within Europe as millions of people received vaccinations. This led several countries to suspend AstraZeneca injections and investigate the causal links to DVT.

  • ‘Star light, star bright’ as explained by math
    on April 26, 2021 at 1:20 pm

    The evolving periodicity of the brightness of certain types of stars can now be described mathematically.

  • New modeling provides greater scrutiny for supply chains
    on April 8, 2021 at 12:06 pm

    Unethical or destructive practices can be hidden within supply chains bringing us items we want and need. Dr. Arne Geschke uses data to drill into the complex global production web.

  • Big data tells story of diversity, migration of math’s elite
    on March 30, 2021 at 1:21 pm

    Math’s top prize, the Fields Medal, has succeeded in making mathematics more inclusive, but still rewards elitism, according to a Dartmouth study.

  • Insufficient financial reporting may lead to underestimation of environmental liabilities
    on March 25, 2021 at 1:03 pm

    European listed companies in the energy and mining sector provide, to say the least, sparse information on future environmental costs in their annual reports. Researchers believe that stricter guidelines are required as the lack of information may lead to underestimation of environmental liabilities, resulting in that future generations may have to bear the burden of cleanup costs.

  • Using econometrics to define effective COVID-19 lockdown strategies
    on March 23, 2021 at 12:27 pm

    Konstantinos Tatsiramos, Professor of Labour Economics in the Department of Economics and Management of the University of Luxembourg, and colleagues Nikos Askitas (Coordinator of Data and Technology, IZA-Institute of Labor Economics) and Bertrand Verheyden (Senior Researcher, Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research) evaluate the effects of 8 lockdown policies on the daily number of confirmed COVID-19 new cases and on the mobility patterns of the populations across 175 countries. The results were published recently in the journal Scientific Reports. These policies are international travel controls, public transport closures, cancelation of public events, restrictions on private gatherings, school and workplace closures, stay-at-home requirements, and internal mobility restrictions (across cities and regions).

  • New tool can help predict the next financial bubble
    on March 22, 2021 at 3:41 pm

    An international team of interdisciplinary researchers has identified mathematical metrics to characterize the fragility of financial markets. Their paper “Network geometry and market instability” sheds light on the higher-order architecture of financial systems and allows analysts to identify systemic risks like market bubbles or crashes.

  • Data scientists build more honest prediction models
    on March 19, 2021 at 1:03 pm

    On Nov. 3, 2020—and for many days after—millions of people kept a wary eye on the presidential election prediction models run by various news outlets. With such high stakes in play, every tick of a tally and twitch of a graph could send shockwaves of overinterpretation.

  • Cybersecurity pioneers win mathematics Abel Prize
    on March 17, 2021 at 3:34 pm

    The Abel Prize, which honours achievements in mathematics, was awarded Wednesday to Hungarian Laszlo Lovasz and Israeli Avi Wigderson for their contributions to computer security, the Norwegian Academy of Science said.

  • After cracking the ‘sum of cubes’ puzzle for 42, researchers discover a new solution for 3
    on March 11, 2021 at 7:27 pm

    What do you do after solving the answer to life, the universe, and everything? If you’re mathematicians Drew Sutherland and Andy Booker, you go for the harder problem.

  • Financial crashes, pandemics, Texas snow: How math could predict ‘black swan’ events
    on March 5, 2021 at 1:51 pm

    What if mathematicians could have seen COVID-19 coming, or could predict the next outbreak? Is it possible that numbers, manipulated by statistics, might warn of future market fluctuations and environmental disasters, or herald vast shifts in finance, trade, and employment?