Add new comment

Want facts and want them fast? Our Maths in a minute series explores key mathematical concepts in just a few words.
What do chocolate and mayonnaise have in common? It's maths! Find out how in this podcast featuring engineer Valerie Pinfield.
Is it possible to write unique music with the limited quantity of notes and chords available? We ask musician Oli Freke!
How can maths help to understand the Southern Ocean, a vital component of the Earth's climate system?
Was the mathematical modelling projecting the course of the pandemic too pessimistic, or were the projections justified? Matt Keeling tells our colleagues from SBIDER about the COVID models that fed into public policy.
PhD student Daniel Kreuter tells us about his work on the BloodCounts! project, which uses maths to make optimal use of the billions of blood tests performed every year around the globe.
"A real snowflake is not perfectly symmetrical  but you get the idea". Yes, that picture's a wonderful but not perfect example of the point in the text: "If I give you a picture of one of the six spikes, you immediately know what the whole thing looks like: simply fit six copies of the spike around a common centre point, and that's your snowflake". On examination those spikes differ from each other in the size and disposition of the offshoots they bear, but not haphazardly. For example the "south east" spike sports offshoots whose length is clearly limited by those on the adjacent two spikes, that is until it reaches out far enough into sufficient space to branch out on its own more freely. The southwest spike is similarly having a crowding effect on the east spike, as does its colleague the northeast. So it's not one but at least two you need to predict. This triple may explain the overall hexagonal structure. What's the law here? Maybe that objects  gases, crystals, tree branches  expand into the available space, limited by neighbouring expansions. What rules do they use to accomplish this? Those may be along the lines of Fibonacci and related sequences which essentially describe asymmetric, not symmetric, division and expansion.
Chris G