Sunday May 28th 2017

‘Recent Work’ Archives

How we got to Ceres

How we got to Ceres

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft recently reached the orbit of Ceres, a dwarf planet and the largest object in the asteroid belt. Read more about the journey here. [Read More]

Archimedes in the Fence

Archimedes in the Fence

According to ancient historians, Archimedes spent the last moments of his life drawing figures in the dirt, so deeply entranced with the pleasures of geometry that he failed to notice the bloody pillage of Syracuse right outside his door. Aloofness, it’s tempting to [Read More]

Mathematics in Metal

Mathematics in Metal

      A mathematical surface known as the Klein bottle is like a mischievous, mathematical cousin of the Moebius Strip, where the inside and the outside are the same side. Among topologists, the Klein bottle is well known as an example of a closed, [Read More]

Paging Dr. Data

Paging Dr. Data

For doctors who treat trauma patients, prediction is key: Will a patient die in the next 30 minutes? Why or why not? What about the next six hours? And after that? What’s the best treatment? How might the patient respond to that treatment in the best- and worst-case [Read More]

Numbers and verse

Numbers and verse

  The universe is a grand book, Galileo noted in 1623, written in the language of mathematics. Those poor souls who don’t understand that language, he cautioned, wander about in a “dark labyrinth.”   I wrote a short piece about math in poetry [Read More]

Northern Hibernaculum

Northern Hibernaculum

  For years, biologist Susi von Oettingen at the US Fish and Wildlife Service tracked the devastation in New England wrought by White Nose Syndrome (WNS), a disease that infects hibernating bats. By some estimates, the disease has killed nearly seven million bats since [Read More]

More than a signature

More than a signature

  Three days before Christmas in 1995, Linda Horton, a medical researcher in Nashville, Tenn., was diagnosed with a large, fast-growing tumor in her breast. She quickly began her treatment course: chemotherapy to shrink the tumor, followed by a mastectomy—her doctors [Read More]

Just Press Print

Just Press Print

A person with a failing vital organ usually has only one treatment option: get a new one. But right now, that often means joining a long waiting list and hoping for the best. Moving up that list means someone ahead of you gets taken off it – either through their death, [Read More]

Patents for software?

Patents for software?

  AT SOME point in their career every mathematician comes up against the question, is mathematics invented or discovered? The query makes some cranky. The answer doesn’t directly affect their work, after all, and the discussion often leads nowhere useful. [Read More]

Cutting Cancer’s Engine

Cutting Cancer’s Engine

Not every hypothesis in cancer research has the same staying power. Some emerge with fanfare and hype, only to fade when follow-up research fails to support a promising theory—or when an upstart steals the spotlight. But even when a promising idea gets pushed aside, [Read More]

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Latest Topics

How nonequilibrium thermodynamics speaks to the mystery of life

How nonequilibrium thermodynamics speaks to the mystery of life

In his 1944 book What is Life?, Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger argued that organisms stay alive precisely by [Read More]

Solving a math problem to create art

Solving a math problem to create art

Optimization is the mathematical quest for the best way to do something, from finding the shortest distance between two [Read More]

The Internet of Things wants to link all facets of our world

The Internet of Things wants to link all facets of our world

A 94Fifty looks like an ordinary basketball. You can inflate, dribble, pass, shoot, swoosh and slam-dunk it. But [Read More]

When your stuff spies on you

When your stuff spies on you

In October 2016, hackers hit a company called Dyn. Hackers are people who write computer programs that can break into [Read More]

The return of supersolids!

The return of supersolids!

We learn it from a young age: solids hold their shapes; liquids flow. Physical states of matter are mutually exclusive. [Read More]

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