Get enough dots together and your faulty eyeballs start seeing things. With random dot patterns, a simple move of the dots by a few degrees can create trippy concentric circles or wild swirls that move all around the paper. With a more uniform grid of dots, the pattern looks like you’re jumping through a portal into…
After a slow fourth quarter in 2015, many economists predict the United States economy will rebound for a stronger showing later this year. That’s promising news. So why do many of us feel like we’re not doing so well—even in times of relative prosperity?
This one’s a doozy in that there is a lot going on. The goal is simple, you need to escape a collapsing tunnel with a group of nine people (including yourself). It’s all the other variables that confuse things.
Guess the Correlation is a very simple game indeed: Look at a scatter plot, guess the correlation coefficient, win or lose. Are you mathematically minded enough to take on the challenge?
The <pointy brackets> are an archetypal pair of characters in the world of computing. But if you’ve ever wondered how they became so pervasive, you’re in luck.
More than a thousand years before the first telescopes, Babylonian astronomers tracked the motion of planets across the night sky using simple arithmetic. But a newly translated text reveals that these ancient stargazers also used a far more advanced method, one that foreshadows the development of calculus over a…
A new fractal analysis of London’s dense network of streets and intersections reveals that a green belt meant to encourage migration to the suburbs had the opposite effect. The city has just became denser. People really seem to love urban living, especially in a thriving city like London. The work could shed light on…
Assuming you can say two digits a second and have evolved beyond the need for food, sleep, or a social life, the largest prime number ever discovered would take you more than four months to even say. So you’ll forgive the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search project, the impressive minds behind the discovery, if they…
Cutting a pizza can be a stressful experience: are the slices equal? Now, a team of mathematicians has found some new ways to cut pizzas into exotic slices, while still ensuring that the all-important size considerations are met.
New Year’s revelers will be heading out to all kinds of parties tonight, and chances are a good percentage will be tempted by the presence of a chocolate fountain—just a teensy bit of indulgence before those resolutions kick in. Perhaps those with a scientific bent could find themselves pondering, just for a moment,…
Do all the presents you give away over the holidays look like they were wrapped in the dark? Don’t worry: this video features a series of mathematical tricks to help you ensure your gifts always look neatly wrapped.
Tropical forest are large, complex and easy to get lost in—which isn’t helpful if you’re trying to study them. Now, scientists are using these amazing immersive mathematical models to understand the intricacies of tree canopies around the world.
Today’s Google Doodle — in most of the world, at least — celebrates the 200th anniversary of George Boole’s birth. We all have a lot to thanks Boole for, as he created the mathematics that underpins the logical operations of computing.
Want to know whether Anne Boleyn knew Utopia author Thomas More? There was a time when that answer would have involved painstakingly combing through historical archives hunting for arcane clues. But now you can search a massive online digitized database and get the answer in a fraction of the time.
Everyone knows what the iconic right-handed helix of DNA looks like, with its inter-linking string of molecules forming a pleasing, gentle twist. But there’s more to the shape than meets the eye, and this video explains some of the mathematical secrets lurking within DNA.
Facial recognition systems use all kinds of clever software to work out who you are and even how you’re feeling. But in this video explainer, Dr Michel Valstar explains how a simple piece on analysis known as a Local Binary Pattern can help detect your expression.
A math question posed to Scottish teenage students has received a great deal of criticism for being too hard. Can you solve it?
Here’s another classic math riddle for you to prune your brain on a little bit: if people were lined up from tallest to shortest (meaning a person can see everything in front of them) and all wearing black or white hats, can you figure out which color hat you were wearing even if you had no idea how many black or…
Everybody knows that embarrassing “nope” moment in the movie theater when CGI explosions just don’t look real at all. Fortunately, science has helped Hollywood improve things in recent years — and this video shows how.