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Physicists help show math behind growth of 'coffee rings'

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Slightly stretched particles exhibited a rare Kardar-Parisi-Zhang growth process. (Credit: Art: Felice Macera)

Jan. 18, 2013 — Last year, a team of University of Pennsylvania physicists showed how to undo the "coffee-ring effect," a commonplace occurrence when drops of liquid with suspended particles dry, leaving a ring-shaped stain at the drop's edges. Now the team is exploring how those particles stack up as they reach the drop's edge, and they discovered that different particles make smoother or rougher deposition profiles at the drop edge depending on their shape.

These resultant growth profiles offer tests of deep mathematical ideas about growing interfaces and are potentially relevant for many...

Replacing fossil fuels: Utilizing sea wave to generate electricity

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TechAndComputer (Nov. 30, 2012) — Researchers Dr Ismail, Dr Muhammad Murtadha and Baharin Abu Bakar from Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia have carried out a conceptual study on mathematical modelling for sea wave in electricity generation.

This conceptual study focused on using Oscillating Wave Column (OWC) which is considered as the most efficient way to utilize sea waves, the largest power source on earth, to generate electricity. Previous studies have revealed that global...

Mathematics used to identify contamination in water distribution networks

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TechAndComputer (Nov. 28, 2012) — None of us want to experience events like the Camelford water pollution incident in Cornwall, England, in the late eighties, or more recently, the Crestwood, Illinois, water contamination episode in 2009 where accidental pollution of drinking water led to heart-wrenching consequences to consumers, including brain damage, high cancer risk, and even death. In the case of such catastrophes, it is important to have a method to identify and curtail...

How infidelity helps nieces and nephews: Men may share more genes with sisters' kids than cheating wife's kids

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A University of Utah study produced new mathematical support for a theory that explains why men in some cultures often feed and care for their sisters' children: where extramarital sex is common and accepted, a man's genes are more likely to be passed on by their sister's kids than by their wife's kids. (Credit: © yanlev / Fotolia)

TechAndComputer (Nov. 27, 2012) — A University of Utah study produced new mathematical support for a theory that explains why men in...

Model sheds light on chemistry that sparked origin of life

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The question of how life began on a molecular level has been a longstanding problem in science. (Credit: Copyright Michele Hogan)

TechAndComputer (Nov. 26, 2012) — The question of how life began on a molecular level has been a longstanding problem in science. However, recent mathematical research sheds light on a possible mechanism by which life may have gotten a foothold in the chemical soup that existed on the early Earth.

Researchers have proposed several...

Star Trek classroom: Next generation of school desks

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This shows the SynergyNet classroom. (Credit: Durham University)

TechAndComputer (Nov. 22, 2012) — Researchers designing and testing the 'classroom of the future' have found that multi-touch, multi-user desks can boost skills in mathematics.

New results from a 3-year project working with over 400 pupils, mostly 8-10 year olds, show that collaborative learning increases both fluency and flexibility in maths. It also shows that using an interactive 'smart'...

Scientists pioneer method to predict environmental collapse

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Researcher Enlou Zhang takes a core sample from the bed of Lake Erhai in China. (Credit: University of Southampton)

TechAndComputer (Nov. 19, 2012) — Scientists at the University of Southampton are pioneering a technique to predict when an ecosystem is likely to collapse, which may also have potential for foretelling crises in agriculture, fisheries or even social systems.

The researchers have applied a mathematical model to a real world situation, the...

New model reveals how huddling penguins share heat fairly

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Group of young magellan penguins, Falkland Islands. (Credit: © lisastrachan / Fotolia)

TechAndComputer (Nov. 16, 2012) — Penguins that face the bitter cold and icy winds of Antarctica often huddle together in large groups for warmth during storms. Mathematicians at the University of California, Merced created a model of penguin huddles that assumes each penguin aims solely to minimize its own heat loss. Surprisingly, the model reveals that such self-centered...

Pursuing problematic polymers

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TechAndComputer (Nov. 16, 2012) — "You look at the material world and see objects and how you can use them. I look at the material world and see a fascinating hidden life which is within our control, if we can only understand how it works," says Jane Lipson, the Albert W. Smith Professor of Chemistry at Dartmouth. Lipson looks at things from the point of view of both a chemist and a physicist. "What I do lies between the two sciences, and there is some engineering thrown in there, too,"...

Mathematical counseling for all who wonder why their relationship is like a sinus wave

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An example of a modeled relationship, in this case between Romeo (solid lines) and Juliet (dashed lines). The tau (τ) above the individual figures indicates the delay in reactivity. Delays that are too short (2,364). Delays in the range of 0,83-2,364 cause stability in Romeo and Juliet’s relationship. (Credit: Image courtesy of Radboud University Nijmegen)

TechAndComputer (Nov. 15, 2012) — Neuroinformaticians from Radboud University Nijmegen provide a...

The aftermath of calculator use in college classrooms

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TechAndComputer (Nov. 12, 2012) — Math instructors promoting calculator usage in college classrooms may want to rethink their teaching strategies, says Samuel King, postdoctoral student in the University of Pittsburgh's Learning Research & Development Center. King has proposed the need for further research regarding calculators' role in the classroom after conducting a limited study with undergraduate engineering students published in the British Journal of Educational...

Species persistence or extinction: Through a mathematical lens

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TechAndComputer (Nov. 12, 2012) — Scientists have estimated that there are 1.7 million species of animals, plants and algae on earth, and new species continue to be discovered. Unfortunately, as new species are found, many are also disappearing, contributing to a net decrease in biodiversity. The more diversity there is in a population, the longer the ecosystem can sustain itself. Hence, biodiversity is key to ecosystem resilience.

Disease, destruction of habitats, pollution...

Computational neuroscience: Memory-making is all about the connection

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A schematic diagram depicting the recall of a sequence of memory items when the network containing the pool of memory items is triggered by a stimulus. (Credit: Copyright : © 2012 A*STAR Institute for Infocomm Research)

TechAndComputer (Nov. 8, 2012) — A model that shows how connections in the brain must change to form memories could help to develop artificial cognitive computers

Exactly how memories are stored and accessed in the brain is unclear...

Supercomputing for a superproblem: A computational journey into pure mathematics

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TechAndComputer (Nov. 6, 2012) — A world-famous mathematician responsible for solving one of the subject's most challenging problems has published his latest work as a University of Leicester research report.

This follows the visit that famed mathematician Yuri Matiyasevich made to the Department of Mathematics where he talked about his pioneering work. He visited UK by invitation of the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences.

In 1900, twenty-three unsolved...

Disaster defense: Balancing costs and benefits

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TechAndComputer (Nov. 2, 2012) — Do costly seawalls provide a false sense of security in efforts to control nature? Would it be better to focus on far less expensive warning systems and improved evacuation procedures that can save many lives?

Seth Stein, a Northwestern University geologist, has teamed up with his father, Jerome Stein, an economist at Brown University, to develop new strategies to defend society against natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy as well as the...

Privacy vs. protection: Study considers how to manage epidemics in information blackouts

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TechAndComputer (Nov. 1, 2012) — When foot-and-mouth disease swept through the British countryside in early 2001, more than 10 million sheep, cattle and pigs were slaughtered to control the disease. Despite the devastation, the disease was contained within ten months in part owing to the availability in that country of finely detailed farm data, which enabled mathematical modelers to make accurate predictions about the spread of the disease and suggest optimal ways of managing...

Music in our ears: The science of timbre

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A new study offers insight into the neural underpinnings of musical timbre. (Credit: © vlorzor / Fotolia)

TechAndComputer (Nov. 1, 2012) — New research, published in PLOS Computational Biology, offers insight into the neural underpinnings of musical timbre. Mounya Elhilali, of Johns Hopkins University and colleagues have used mathematical models based on experiments in both animals and humans to accurately predict sound source recognition and perceptual timbre...

Computational medicine enhances way doctors detect, treat disease

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TechAndComputer (Nov. 1, 2012) — Computational medicine, a fast-growing method of using computer models and sophisticated software to figure out how disease develops -- and how to thwart it -- has begun to leap off the drawing board and land in the hands of doctors who treat patients for heart ailments, cancer and other illnesses. Using digital tools, researchers have begun to use experimental and clinical data to build models that can unravel complex medical mysteries.


When people worry about math, the brain feels the pain

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UChicago researchers have found that the higher a person’s anxiety about math, the more anticipating math activated areas of the brain related to experiencing pain. (Credit: Courtesy of Sian Beilock)

TechAndComputer (Oct. 31, 2012) — Mathematics anxiety can prompt a response in the brain similar to when a person experiences physical pain, according to new research at the University of Chicago.

Using brain scans, scholars determined that the brain areas...

Higher-math skills entwined with lower-order magnitude sense

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The dot test shows variation in people's ability to intuit number and area. (Credit: Image courtesy of Emory University)

TechAndComputer (Oct. 28, 2012) — The ability to learn complex, symbolic math is a uniquely human trait, but it is intricately connected to a primitive sense of magnitude that is shared by many animals, finds a study recently published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

"Our results clearly show that uniquely...

Formula unlocks secrets of cauliflower's geometry

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Cauliflower. The laws that govern how intricate surface patterns, such as those found in the cauliflower, develop over time have been described, for the first time. (Credit: © Africa Studio / Fotolia)

TechAndComputer (Oct. 23, 2012) — The laws that govern how intricate surface patterns, such as those found in the cauliflower, develop over time have been described, for the first time, by a group of European researchers.

In a study published October 24...