The mathematics of movement

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The mathematics of movement can explain the behaviour of many organisms, from cells to humans. The Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences (INI) in Cambridge recently hosted a research programme called Mathematics of movement: an interdisciplinary approach to mutual challenges in animal ecology and cell biology (MMV) to bring together mathematicians and scientists from different areas to exchange ideas and exploit synergies. Areas such as cancer research and the conservation of endangered species all stand to benefit from this cross-fertilisation.

This collection of content looks at some of the mathematics involved in describing movement.

To know how it works, see how it moves — This article, based on an interview with three of the organisers of the MMV programme, explores the maths of movement and its applications.

How does human noise impact whales? — This episode of our Maths on the move podcast features mathematician Stuart Johnston, who has built a mathematical model to understand how human generated noise in the oceans impacts the annual migration of whales.

The dynamics of crowds — This article from our archive looks at a mathematical model for the behaviour of pedestrians, useful in designing buildings and evacuation procedures.

Mindless searching — This article from our archive explores how the motion of dogs and of molecular compounds can be described using similar mathematics.

Maths in a minute: Mathematical models — Mathematics can help with understanding movement because it can provide models. But what is a mathematical model? Find out in this short introduction.

Maths in a minute: Newton's laws of motion — Newton's laws are indispensable in physics. And although they work better for inanimate objects than for living things, no content collection on the mathematics of movement would be complete without them.

This content was produced as part of our collaboration with the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences (INI). The INI is an international research centre in Cambridge which attracts leading mathematicians from all over the world. You can find all the content from the collaboration here.

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