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Suburban students outpace rural and urban peers in math

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TechAndComputer (June 19, 2012) — American students living in the suburbs are outpacing their urban and rural counterparts in mathematics achievement, with Asian and white students scoring the highest among all races and ethnicities, and students from higher socioeconomic backgrounds doing better overall, according to new research from the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire.

The research was conducted by Suzanne Graham, associate professor of education at UNH and faculty fellow at the Carsey Institute, and Lauren Provost, doctoral candidate in education at UNH. It is presented in the brief "Mathematics Achievement Gaps Between Suburban Students and their Rural and Urban Peers Increase Over...

Driving without a blind spot may be closer than it appears

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TechAndComputer (June 7, 2012) — A side mirror that eliminates the dangerous "blind spot" for drivers has now received a U.S. patent. The subtly curved mirror, invented by Drexel University mathematics professor Dr. R. Andrew Hicks, dramatically increases the field of view with minimal distortion.

Traditional flat mirrors on the driver's side of a vehicle give drivers an accurate sense of the distance of cars behind them but have a very narrow field of view. As a result, there...

Math predicts size of clot-forming cells

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TechAndComputer (May 25, 2012) — UC Davis mathematicians have helped biologists figure out why platelets, the cells that form blood clots, are the size and shape that they are. Because platelets are important both for healing wounds and in strokes and other conditions, a better understanding of how they form and behave could have wide implications.

"Platelet size has to be very specific for blood clotting," said Alex Mogilner, professor of mathematics, and neurobiology...

Can mathematics help Usain Bolt run faster?

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TechAndComputer (Apr. 4, 2012) — Usain Bolt can achieve faster running times with no extra effort on his part or improvement to his fitness, according to a study published today in Significance, the magazine of the Royal Statistical Society and the American Statistical Association. Cambridge Professor of Mathematical Sciences John D. Barrow illustrates how, based on concrete mathematical evidence, Bolt can cut his world record from 9.58 seconds to 9.45.

Usain Bolt holds the current...

Patterns seen in spider silk and melodies connected

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TechAndComputer (Dec. 8, 2011) — Using a new mathematical methodology, researchers at MIT have created a scientifically rigorous analogy that shows the similarities between the physical structure of spider silk and the sonic structure of a melody, proving that the structure of each relates to its function in an equivalent way.

The step-by-step comparison begins with the primary building blocks of each item -- an amino acid and a sound wave -- and...

TechAndComputer (Dec. 8, 2011) — Using...

Learning spatial terms improves children's spatial skills

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TechAndComputer (Nov. 9, 2011) — Preschool children who hear their parents describe the size and shape of objects and then use those words themselves perform better on tests of their spatial skills, researchers at the University of Chicago have found.

The study is the first to show that learning to use a wide range of spatial words predicts children's later spatial thinking, which in turn is important in mathematics, science and technology....

TechAndComputer (Nov. 9, 2011) — Preschool...

Big, little, tall and tiny: Learning spatial terms improves children's spatial skills

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TechAndComputer (Nov. 9, 2011) — Preschool children who hear their parents describe the size and shape of objects and then use those words themselves perform better on tests of their spatial skills, researchers at the University of Chicago have found.

The study is the first to show that learning to use a wide range of spatial words predicts children's later spatial thinking, which in turn is important in mathematics, science and technology....

TechAndComputer (Nov. 9, 2011) — Preschool...

Using math and light to detect misshapen red blood cells

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TechAndComputer (Oct. 31, 2011) — Misshapen red blood cells (RBCs) are a sign of serious illnesses, such as malaria and sickle cell anemia. Until recently, the only way to assess whether a person's RBCs were the correct shape was to look at them individually under a microscope -- a time-consuming process for pathologists. Now researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) have pioneered a technique that will allow doctors...

TechAndComputer (Oct. 31, 2011) —...

New report offers roadmap for success in K-12 STEM education

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TechAndComputer (June 28, 2011) — From educators to leaders in industry, there is broad agreement that U.S. schools have a crucial challenge in improving teaching and learning in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) among students from kindergarten through high school. A background in STEM is not only essential to many current and future careers; it is also a means for citizens to understand and participate in an increasingly complex...

TechAndComputer (June 28, 2011) — From...

Intuitions regarding geometry are universal, study suggests

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TechAndComputer (May 26, 2011) — All human beings may have the ability to understand elementary geometry, independently of their culture or their level of education.

This is the conclusion of a study carried out by CNRS, Inserm, CEA, the Collège de France, Harvard University and Paris Descartes, Paris-Sud 11 and Paris 8 universities (1). It was conducted on Amazonian Indians living in an isolated area, who had not studied geometry at school and...

TechAndComputer (May 26, 2011) — All...

Species reemergence after collapse: Possible but different, mathematical model shows

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TechAndComputer (May 23, 2011) — Species pairs that disappear through hybridization after human-induced changes to the environment can reemerge if the disturbance is removed, according to a new mathematical model that shows the conditions under which reemergence might happen.

The findings, published in the journal Evolution, are important for conservationists and ecosystem managers interested in preserving, or even restoring, systems that have...

TechAndComputer (May 23, 2011) — Species...

Using social networking to tap collective intelligence of online study groups

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TechAndComputer (May 4, 2011) — Taking their cue from social media, educators at Carnegie Mellon University have developed a social networking application called Classroom Salon that engages students in online learning communities that effectively tap the collective intelligence of groups.

Thousands of high school and university students used Classroom Salon (CLS), http://www.classroomsalon.org/, this past academic year to share their ideas about...

TechAndComputer (May 4, 2011) — Taking...

Mathematical model simulating rat whiskers provides insight into sense of touch

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TechAndComputer (Apr. 7, 2011) — Researchers at Northwestern University have developed a mathematical model that will allow them to simulate how rats use their whiskers to sense objects around them. The model enables further research that may provide insight into the human sense of touch.

Hundreds of papers are published each year that use the rat whisker system as a model to understand brain development and neural processing. Rats move their...

TechAndComputer (Apr. 7, 2011) —...

To meet, greet or retreat during influenza outbreaks?

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TechAndComputer (Mar. 28, 2011) — When influenza pandemics arrive, the specter of disease spread through person-to-person contact can mean that schools close, hand sanitizer sales rise, and travellers stay home. But is severing social and business interactions with our neighbors really better than taking a chance on getting sick?

"Infectious disease can mean making trade-offs between the risks and rewards of meeting others," says Eli Fenichel, an...

TechAndComputer (Mar. 28, 2011) — When...

Deciphering hidden code reveals brain activity

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TechAndComputer (Mar. 29, 2011) — By combining sophisticated mathematical techniques more commonly used by spies instead of scientists with the power and versatility of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), a Penn neurologist has developed a new approach for studying the inner workings of the brain. A hidden pattern is encoded in the seemingly random order of things presented to a human subject, which the brain reveals when observed with...

TechAndComputer (Mar. 29, 2011) — By...

Researchers gain new insight into the foreign exchange market

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TechAndComputer (Mar. 17, 2011) — Physicist Guannan Zhao, Ph.D. student at the University of Miami, and his collaborators have developed a mathematical model to describe the timing of price changes of currencies and the overall dynamics of the Foreign Exchange (FX) market. Zhao presented his findings in a keynote address on March 12, at the second International Conference on Financial Theory and Engineering (ICFTE 2011), in Shanghai, China.

The...

TechAndComputer (Mar. 17, 2011) —...

Taking mathematics to heart

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TechAndComputer (Mar. 14, 2011) — Did you know that heart attacks can give you mathematics? That statement appears on the web site of James Keener, who works in the mathematics of cardiology. This area has many problems that are ripe for unified attack by mathematicians, clinicians, and biomedical engineers.

In an article to appear in the April 2011 issue of the Notices of the American Mathematical Society, John W. Cain, a mathematician at...

TechAndComputer (Mar. 14, 2011) — Did you know...

Gender stereotypes about math develop as early as second grade

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TechAndComputer (Mar. 14, 2011) — Children express the stereotype that mathematics is for boys, not for girls, as early as second grade, according to a new study by University of Washington researchers. And the children applied the stereotype to themselves: boys identified themselves with math whereas girls did not.

The "math is for boys" stereotype has been used as part of the explanation for why so few women pursue science, mathematics and...

TechAndComputer (Mar. 14, 2011) — Children...

Can bees color maps better than ants?

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TechAndComputer (Mar. 21, 2011) — In mathematics, you need at most only four different colors to produce a map in which no two adjacent regions have the same color. Utah and Arizona are considered adjacent, but Utah and New Mexico, which only share a point, are not. The four-color theorem proves this conjecture for generic maps of countries, but actually of more use in solving scheduling problems, scheduling, register allocation in computing and...

TechAndComputer (Mar. 21, 2011) — In...

Two languages in peaceful coexistence in one society

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TechAndComputer (Mar. 4, 2011) — Physicists and mathematicians from the University of Santiago de Compostela in Spain are putting paid to the theory that two languages cannot co-exist in one society.

Analysing the pattern of populations speaking Castilian, the most common language spoken in Spain, and Galician, a language spoken in Galicia, the North West autonomous community of Spain, the researchers have used mathematical models to show that...

TechAndComputer (Mar. 4, 2011) —...

Just like me: Online training helpers more effective when they resemble students

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TechAndComputer (Mar. 2, 2011) — Opposites don't always attract. A study from North Carolina State University shows that participants are happier -- and perform better -- when the electronic helpers used in online training programs resemble the participants themselves.

"It is important that the people who design online training programs understand that one size does not fit all," says Dr. Lori Foster Thompson, an associate professor of psychology...

TechAndComputer (Mar. 2, 2011) —...