## The Hairy Ball Theorem revisited – a newer, shorter, proof

Once proved, mathematical theorems* tend to stay proved. Nevertheless, they can sometimes still be improved – say, by making them shorter. Take, for example proofs for The Hairy Ball Theorem. Mathematician Henri Poincaré first drew attention to the Hairy Ball Theorem in 1885 with his treatise ‘Sur les courbes déﬁnies par les équations différentielles (III)’ Journal de […]

## The Lowdown on Cricket Ball Tampering – via NASA

“As all true gentlemen cricketers know, only natural substances such as sweat or saliva can be legally used as a polishing agent, although the odd use of ‘Vaseline’ or ‘Brylcreem’ is often at the centre of a ball tampering controversy. “ And, as rule 41.3.2 of the ‘Laws of Cricket.’ clearly states : “It is […]

## Slowing down ping pong for TV (study)

“The medial [sic] appeal of table tennis seems to go down in terms of TV hours, at least outside Asia. One of the reasons is the fact that the speed of the game is nowadays so high that it is very hard for spectators to follow the balls.” So, in terms of slowing down the […]

## Things researchers do with ping-pong balls

If you are one of those who thinks that a ping-pong (table tennis) ball is only good for playing ping-pong (table tennis) then you’d be wrong. Researchers across the globe have found them useful in many ways – for example: ○ To simulate snow avalanches (videos here in .avi format) ○ As a surgical aid […]

## Ball squeezing for enhanced creativity (update)

Some say that squeezing balls can enhance one’s creativity. [for background see: from 2010, Improbable article : ‘Ball squeezing and creativity’] Questions can arise however – such as ‘what kind of balls might work best’ and ‘under what circumstances’? Answers may depend on the kind of creative task in hand, as is postulated in a […]

## Improbable doings in Vienna this coming week

The organizers posted a sneak preview of the ‘sneak preview’ event at the University of Vienna on Thursday evening, January 29: Und hier die nächste Veranstaltung in unserem Rahmenprogramm: Als sneak preview zur Mitternachtseinlage wird  Marc Abrahams am Donnerstag, den 29.1., eine seine sehr speziellen Vorlesungen an der Uni Wien halten; auch dies eine Premiere: es handelt sich […]

## Join us, improbably, at the Vienna Science Ball on January 31

An invitation to you — yes, you! —  from Vienna, Austria: Ladies and gentlemen, dear colleagues, For the first time, the City of Vienna is staging the Vienna Science Ball. On Saturday, 31 January 2015, Vienna’s City Hall will be turned into a festive venue for the city’s science and research community. In a city renown […]

## Billiard balls versus the earth

“All balls must be composed of cast phenolic resin plastic and measure 2 ¼ (+.005) inches [5.715 cm (+ .127 mm)] in diameter and weigh 5 ½ to 6 oz [156 to 170 gms]. Balls should be unpolished, and should also not be waxed. Balls should be cleaned with a towel or cloth free of […]