Have you ever wondered what your brain is really doing as you sweat your way through a math test? Now you can see for yourself, thanks to a new brain imaging study from Carnegie Mellon University that captured the brain activity of people in the act of solving math problems.
Following Melania’s now-infamous speech from the Republican Convention, a Canadian physicist has calculated the odds of those words and phrases appearing in the same order as Michelle Obama’s speech eight years ago. Looking at his answer, let’s just say it would be a coincidence of cosmic proportions.
Rock and mountain climbers rely on strong, yet elastic ropes to keep them safe should they happen to fall. Now mathematicians at the University of Utah have come up with an equation to design an ideal climbing rope—one that would be safer and more durable. They described this perfect rope, and a promising class of…
If you fold a pizza in half lengthwise to eat it (the proper way to eat pizza), then you’re actually utilizing mathematician Carl Gauss’s “theorem egregium” or the “remarkable theorem.”
If you’ve ever been frustrated at your inability to complete a level of Super Mario Brothers, here’s a little something to cheer you up. Computer scientists have demonstrated that solving a level in the popular video game is tantamount to solving some of the hardest problems in computational science.
Each year, the migratory monarch butterfly embarks on an extraordinary journey from eastern North America to central Mexico. A multidisciplinary team of scientists has now created a model circuit that finally explains how these insects are able to navigate across such vast distances.
Everyone learns in grade school that you can’t divide by zero, but few of us ever learn (or fully understand) why. The stock answer is that it gives you an answer of infinity. The truth is a bit more nuanced than that, and an old mechanical calculator offers the perfect illustration.
Mathematicians have discovered a surprising pattern in the expression of prime numbers, revealing a previously unknown “bias” to researchers.
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…
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has awarded its prestigious Crafoord Prize, honoring three scientists who have made outstanding achievements in black hole physics and a special kind of geometry.
The complexity of a puzzle is usually dependent on how many tiny pieces are crammed inside its box. But by introducing mathematical fractals into the design, this plain nine-piece puzzle by Oscar van Deventer looks like a nightmare to solve.
Rumors are swirling that Opeyemi Enoch, a professor from the Federal University of Oye Ekiti in Nigeria, has solved the Riemann Hypothesis, a problem that has vexed mathematicians for over 150 years. Too bad it’s not true.
You bid, you win, you pay the amount that you bid. That’s the rule for auctions, right? And that’s why you want to make the lowest bid you think will win. One type of auction, though, takes the guesswork out of it with economic theory.
Men, am I right? They’re everywhere. But why are there so many of them?
Technically speaking, pianos tuned to coventional 12-tone equal temperament aren’t actually in perfect tune. A new video from MinutePhysics explains the math behind this musical oddity, and why in the case of pianos, close enough is good enough.
Until recently, there were just 14 known convex pentagons (nonregular, five-sided shapes with outward-pointing angles) that could “tile the plane” (be arranged with flush sides on a flat surface, with no gaps or overlaps). But last month, some thirty years since the 14th was discovered, a 15th was identified.
Diophantes was a Hellenistic Greek mathematician who lived around 200 AD. His claim to fame comes from substituting symbols for numbers and operations in equations, thus creating algebra, but everything else we know about his life comes from a single algebraic riddle.
We all know that numbers can help us understand the beauty of nature. But in this excerpt from the new book A Beautiful Question: Finding Nature’s Deep Design by Nobel Prize-winning physicist Frank Wilczek, he shows how it goes a lot deeper than that. Did the ancient mathematician Pythagoras know something we don’t?