Whenever you smell the lovely smell of fresh coffee or drop a tea bag into hot water you're benefiting from diffusion: the fact that particles moving at random under the influence of thermal energy spread themselves around. It's this process that wafts coffee particles towards your nose and allows the tea to spread around the water. Diffusion underlies a huge number of processes and it has been studied intensively for over 150 years. Yet it wasn't until very recently that one of the most important assumptions of the underlying theory was confirmed in an experiment.
It's 21st of October and for puzzle lovers this can only mean one thing: the G4G Celebration of mind. This annual party celebrates the legacy of Martin Gardner, magician, writer and father of recreational maths, with mathemagical events in his honour happening all over the world.
In 1982 Dan Shechtman discovered a crystal that would revolutionise chemistry. He has just been awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his discovery — but has the Nobel committee missed out a chance to honour a mathematician for his role in this revolution as well?
With Euorpean governments struggling to avert imminent
disaster in the Euro zone, the award of this year's Nobel Memorial Prize in
Economic Sciences could not be more relevant. The prize has gone to
Thomas Sargent and Christopher Sims whose work explores how and if
policy decisions can affect the economy and how unexpected shocks
spread through it.
Next year sees the centenary of Alan Turing's birth. To celebrate, the Mathscareers website is running a competition for 17 to 19 year-olds. Your task is to write an article on Turing's work and the prize is £100 Amazon voucher and having your article published on the website. See the Mathscareers website for more details.
Today is Ada Lovelace Day celebrating the work of women in mathematics, science, technology and engineering. Since Plus is run entirely by women, we're very happy to join in! We've got plenty of articles and podcast by or about women mathematicians, so we've put together a selection of favourites.