Plus Blog
March 25, 2008
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Physical demonstration of mathematical traffic modelRecently, Plus reported on work done by mathematicians from the Universities of Exeter, Bristol and Budapest into why traffic jams often occur for seemingly no reason. Now, for the first time, researchers from several Japanese universities have recreated this effect by placing 22 vehicles on a 230metre singlelane circuit. The drivers drove at a steady 30 kilometres per hour, and whilst initially the traffic flowed smoothly, eventually a backwards travelling shockwave developed which forced some cars to almost stop and others to increase their speed to 40 kilometres per hour to catch the car in front. Watch the video below, which comes from the New Scientist channel on youtube. You can read more about this in the original New Scientist article. posted by westius @ 3:00 PM 
March 25, 2008
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Mathematical physicist wins 2008 Templeton PrizeThe 2008 Templeton Prize has been awarded to Polish mathematical physicist Michael Heller. Heller has worked for more than 40 years in theology, philosophy, mathematics and cosmology, and intends to use the £820,000 prize to set up a crossuniversity and interdisciplinary institute to investigate questions in science, theology and philosophy. 16th century depiction of Genesis (Michelangelo, Sistine Chapel): God creates Adam. Like Galileo, Heller thinks that mathematics is the "language of
God."
The Templeton Prize was founded in 1972 by philanthropist Sir John Templeton, and is awarded annually to a living person for "progress toward research or discoveries about spiritual realities". It is the world's largest annual monetary prize of any kind given to an individual (£820,000). Plus reported on John Barrow's success in 2006. Heller has been rewarded for "developing sharply focused and strikingly original concepts on the origin and cause of the Universe, often under intense (communist Poland) governmental repression." Heller's work these days is largely in noncommutative geometry, which he uses to attempt to remove the problem of a cosmological singularity at the origin of the Universe. "If on the fundamental level of physics there is no space and no time, as many physicists think," says Heller, "noncommutative geometry could be a suitable tool to deal with such a situation." You can read more on noncommutative geometry in the Plus article Quantum Geometry. posted by westius @ 2:00 PM 0 Comments: 
March 18, 2008
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Happy Belated Pi DayMarch 14th, when written in the US format with the month before the day, is 3.14 — which makes last Friday Pi Day! To belatedly celebrate this momentous day, here are some of the articles about Pi we have featured on Plus:
Pi Day also happily happens to be Albert Einstein's birthday. We can now look forward to various Pi Approximation Days:
posted by westius @ 9:42 AM 0 Comments: 
March 13, 2008
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Beyond Measure: Conversations across art and science is a new exhibition at Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge that explores how geometry is used by artists and astronomers, engineers, surgeons, architects, physicists and mathematicians — among many others — as a means to explain, understand and order the world around us. Built around a series of workshops, talks and discussions, Beyond Measure will offer many different ways of engaging with geometry, and many different views of the world we live in. The exhibition draws parallels between the artist’s studio, the laboratory and the study as equivalent places for thinking, imagining and creating. Read more...Labels: Latest news posted by westius @ 1:18 PM 0 Comments: 
March 12, 2008
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Have you ever attended a Royal Institution Mathematics Masterclass?If you have, then the Royal Institution of Great Britain would like to hear from you. Since 1981 the RI Masterclasses in Mathematics have been enriching school maths for 12 to 14 yearolds. Now the RI is for the first time undertaking an independent evaluation of the programme. "This is a very exciting opportunity," says Sara Santos, Clothworkers' Fellow in Mathematics at the RI, "We are seeking to further improve our already successful programme, even perhaps reshape it to challenge and enthuse our finest young minds." If you have participated in any of the RI Mathematics Masterclasses for Young People (any time between 1981 and now), you can now record your memories and reflections in this online questionnaire. The questionnaire takes around 15 minutes to complete. "It might be a precious amount of time for you, but your feedback is invaluable for us," says Sara. "We are also trying to keep in touch with the Masterclasses community." To keep in touch, please visit the RI website, email the RI on maths@ri.ac.uk, or join the group RI Mathematics Masterclasses for Young People on Facebook . posted by Plus @ 2:29 PM 0 Comments: 
March 10, 2008
Monday, March 10, 2008
Maths and Science through the medium of songThey say that music is a very mathematical pursuit. Here at Plus, we have written about mathematics and music many times. The MASSIVE database is a website that contains information on over 2500 science and mathematics songs. Some songs are for children, others for professors. Some are by professional recording artists, others recorded in garages. The site is maintained by Greg Crowther, who is affiliated with the University of Washington, Science Groove, and the Science Songwriters' Association. MASSIVE is part of the US National Science Foundation's National Science Digital Library. My personal favourite science song? She Blinded me with Science by Thomas Dolby — and you can find this song in the database. Another way of tracking down science songs is by doing a search for science at LastFM. What is your favourite science or mathematics song? posted by westius @ 3:00 PM < 2 Comments:
