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Math formula gives new glimpse into the magical mind of Ramanujan

Black hole illustration. Modern day mathematicians drew on modern mathematical tools that had not been developed before Ramanujan's death to prove that a mock modular form could be computed just as Ramanujan predicted. The result is a formula for mock modular forms that may prove useful to physicists who study black holes. (Credit: NASA, M. Weiss (Chandra X-Ray Center))

Dec. 17, 2012 — December 22 marks the 125th anniversary of the birth of Srinivasa Ramanujan, an Indian mathematician renowned for somehow intuiting extraordinary numerical patterns and connections without the use of proofs or modern mathematical tools. A devout Hindu, Ramanujan said that his findings were divine, revealed to him in dreams by the...

Olympic Games in Rio 2016: Mathematical formula can predict medal haul, including impact of home advantage

TechAndComputer (Sep. 19, 2012) — Team GB is only likely to clock up 46 medals in the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016, say researchers who used a mathematical formula three years ago to predict performance for London 2012, and came up with a medal haul of 63.

In the end, Team GB won 65 medals in London, so the prediction was only out by two.

The formula, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, is based on all cities and countries that have hosted the Olympic...

Girls' mathematics performance more likely to suffer than boys' as a result of mathematics anxiety

TechAndComputer (July 9, 2012) — If a train is travelling a distance of 55 miles at 150mph, how long will it take to reach its destination? If the thought of having to answer this question makes you apprehensive, then you may have mathematics anxiety. A new study published July 9 in BioMed Central's open access journal Behavioral and Brain Functions reports that a number of school-age children suffer from mathematics anxiety and, although both genders' performance is likely to be...

Knowledge of fractions and long division predicts long-term math success

TechAndComputer (June 15, 2012) — From factory workers to Wall Street bankers, a reasonable proficiency in math is a crucial requirement for most well-paying jobs in a modern economy. Yet, over the past 30 years, mathematics achievement of U.S. high school students has remained stagnant -- and significantly behind many other countries, including China, Japan, Finland, the Netherlands and Canada.

A research team led by Carnegie Mellon University's Robert Siegler has identified a...

Toddler spatial knowledge boosts understanding of numbers

TechAndComputer (June 13, 2012) — Children who are skilled in understanding how shapes fit together to make recognizable objects also have an advantage when it comes to learning the number line and solving math problems, research at the University of Chicago shows.

The work is further evidence of the value of providing young children with early opportunities in spatial learning, which contributes to their ability to mentally manipulate objects and understand spatial...

Study finds twist to the story of the number line: Number line is learned, not innate human intuition

TechAndComputer (Apr. 25, 2012) — Tape measures. Rulers. Graphs. The gas gauge in your car, and the icon on your favorite digital device showing battery power. The number line and its cousins -- notations that map numbers onto space and often represent magnitude -- are everywhere. Most adults in industrialized societies are so fluent at using the concept, we hardly think about it. We don't stop to wonder: Is it "natural"? Is it cultural?

Now, challenging a mainstream scholarly...

Study finds twist to the story of the number line: Number line is learned, not innate human intuition

TechAndComputer (Apr. 25, 2012) — Tape measures. Rulers. Graphs. The gas gauge in your car, and the icon on your favorite digital device showing battery power. The number line and its cousins -- notations that map numbers onto space and often represent magnitude -- are everywhere. Most adults in industrialized societies are so fluent at using the concept, we hardly think about it. We don't stop to wonder: Is it "natural"? Is it cultural?

Now, challenging a mainstream scholarly...

Math teachers demonstrate a bias toward white male students, study finds

TechAndComputer (Apr. 16, 2012) — While theories about race, gender, and math ability among high school students have long been debated, a recent study found that math teachers are, in fact, unjustifiably biased toward their white male students. This study was published in a new article released in the April 2012 issue of Gender & Society (GENDSOC), the official journal of the Sociologists for Women in Society, published by SAGE.

"This speaks to the presence of a perhaps...

Getting in rhythm helps children grasp fractions, study finds

TechAndComputer (Mar. 22, 2012) — Tapping out a beat may help children learn difficult fraction concepts, according to new findings due to be published in the journal Educational Studies in Mathematics. An innovative curriculum uses rhythm to teach fractions at a California school where students in a music-based program scored significantly higher on math tests than their peers who received regular instruction.

"Academic Music" is a hands-on curriculum that uses music notation...

Girls' verbal skills make them better at arithmetic, study finds

TechAndComputer (Feb. 23, 2012) — While boys generally do better than girls in science and math, some studies have found that girls do better in arithmetic. A new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, finds that the advantage comes from girls' superior verbal skills.

"People have always thought that males' advantage is in math and spatial skills, and girls' advantage is in language," says Xinlin Zhou of Beijing Normal...

Puzzle play improves math skills

TechAndComputer (Feb. 17, 2012) — An important context for figuring out problems through reasoning is puzzle play, say researchers at University of Chicago.

Psychologist Susan Levine and colleagues recently conducted a study that found 2-4 year-old children, who play with puzzles, have better spatial skills when assessed at 4 1/2 years of age.

After controlling for differences in parents' income, education and overall amount of parent language input, researchers say puzzle...

Puzzle play helps boost learning math-related skills

TechAndComputer (Feb. 16, 2012) — Children who play with puzzles between ages 2 and 4 later develop better spatial skills, a study by University of Chicago researchers has found. Puzzle play was found to be a significant predictor of spatial skill after controlling for differences in parents' income, education and the overall amount of parent language input.

In examining video recordings of parents interacting with children during everyday activities at home, researchers found...

Numeracy: The educational gift that keeps on giving?

TechAndComputer (Feb. 10, 2012) — Cancer risks. Investment alternatives. Calories. Numbers are everywhere in daily life, and they figure into all sorts of decisions. A new article published in Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, examines how people who are numerate -- that's like literacy, but for numbers -- understand numbers better and process information differently so that they ultimately make more informed...

Fall of Communism changed mathematics in US

TechAndComputer (Feb. 7, 2012) — The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1992 brought an influx of Soviet mathematicians to U.S. institutions, and those scholars' differing areas of specialization have changed the way math is studied and taught in this country, according to new research by University of Notre Dame Economist Kirk Doran and George Borjas from Harvard University.

Titled "The Collapse of the Soviet Union and the Productivity of American Mathematicians," the study will...

Research reveals why hedge funds are an unlikely large source of systemic risk

TechAndComputer (July 28, 2011) — he Journal of Financial Economics recently published a paper by Andrew Ang, Chair, Ann F. Kaplan Professor of Business and Chair, Finance and Economics Division at Columbia Business School; Sergiy Gorovyy, PhD candidate, Columbia Business School; and Gregory B. van Inwegen, Head of Quantitative Research/Managing Director for Tailored Portfolio Group of Citi Private Bank, that was the first paper to formally...

TechAndComputer (July 28, 2011) — he Journal...

Key early skills for later math learning discovered

TechAndComputer (July 25, 2011) — Psychologists at the University of Missouri have identified the beginning of first grade math skills that teachers and parents should target to effectively improve children's later math learning.

A long-term psychology study indicates that beginning first graders that understand numbers, the quantities those numbers represent, and low-level arithmetic will have better success in learning mathematics through the...

TechAndComputer (July 25, 2011) —...

Building a better math teacher

TechAndComputer (June 24, 2011) — For years, it has been assumed that teachers -- specifically math teachers -- need to master the content they intend to teach. And the best way to do this is to take courses beyond that content.

Yet in a paper published June 23 in the Education Forum of the journal Science, Dr. Brent Davis of the University of Calgary says research does not support this common belief. There is little evidence that advanced...

TechAndComputer (June 24, 2011) — For years...

Sharing wisdom, teacher to teacher

TechAndComputer (June 22, 2011) — How do you teach math students to speak and write effectively about what they do? Crucially, how do you teach their teachers -- themselves mathematicians -- how to impart and evaluate these skills?

Faced with this problem, a group of instructors in MIT's Department of Mathematics decided that many heads are better than one. They began brainstorming ways to encourage teacher-to-teacher collaboration, bridging...

TechAndComputer (June 22, 2011) — How do you...

Poor 'gut sense' of numbers contributes to persistent math difficulties

TechAndComputer (June 17, 2011) — A new study published June 17 in the journal Child Development finds that having a poor "gut sense" of numbers can lead to a mathematical learning disability and difficulty in achieving basic math proficiency. This inaccurate number sense is just one cause of math learning disabilities, according to the research led by Dr. Michele Mazzocco of the Kennedy Krieger Institute.

Approximately 6 to 14 percent of...

TechAndComputer (June 17, 2011) — A new study...

Want better math teachers? Then train them better

TechAndComputer (June 9, 2011) — It's time for the United States to consider establishing higher standards for math teachers if the nation is going to break its "vicious cycle" of mediocrity, a Michigan State University education scholar argues in Science magazine.

As American students continue to be outpaced in mathematics by pupils in countries such as Russia and Taiwan, William Schmidt recommends adopting more rigorous, demanding and...

TechAndComputer (June 9, 2011) — It's time for...

Inconsistent math curricula hurting US students, study finds

TechAndComputer (June 20, 2011) — A new study finds important differences in math curricula across U.S. states and school districts. The findings, published in the May issue of the American Journal of Education, suggest that many students across the country are placed at a disadvantage by less demanding curricula.

Researchers from Michigan State University and the University of Oklahoma used data from the 1999 Trends in International Mathematics...

TechAndComputer (June 20, 2011) — A new...