Knitting a recursive sweater

“Knitting is usually considered a female activity and females are usually not considered to be inclined to mathematics, or to science in general. Nevertheless mathematical skills are necessary for knitting, because they help to realize symmetries, inversions, scalings and proportions; good abstraction capabilities are indeed needed to figure the final result out and to map […]

He and they approached hallucinations mathematically

In 2001, Paul Bressloff of the University of Utah, together with four colleagues from elsewhere, made a mathematical assault on the — until then — lack of understanding of what  happens in a so-called “geometric hallucination”. Here’s Bresloff: Here’s the study: “Geometric visual hallucinations, Euclidean symmetry and the functional architecture of striate cortex,” P. C. Bressloff, […]

Banding-together of breeders: Seven sperm abreast

Ig Nobel Prize winner Mahadevan (2007 Ig Nobel physics prize, for studying how sheets become wrinkled) and colleagues have taken an applied-mathematical look at yet another unanswered question. As happens so often with Mahadevan and his merry, varying band of collaborators, a better-than-anyone-had-before answer appeared. Details are in this study: “The dynamics of sperm cooperation in a competitive […]

A mathematical model of ‘Gone with the Wind’

Mathematicians (of any competent sort) are like writers: they believe that they can describe almost anything. This study is an exercise in write about using math to describe a love story: “A mathematical model of ‘Gone with the Wind’“, Sergio Rinaldi [pictured here], Fabio Della Rossa, Pietro Landi, Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, […]