A rock, a paper, a scissors, a bunch of lizards

Hannah Fry, in this Numberphile video, tots up the cases of rock-paper-scissors mathematics as applied to lizards: This goes back, more or less, to a sex study published in the year 2000: “Polygyny, mate-guarding, and posthumous fertilization as alternative male mating strategies,” Kelly R. Zamudio and Barry Sinervo, PNAS, 2000 97 (26) 14427-14432. Here’s a photo of rock-paper-scissors/lizards […]

Mathematicians’ Romantic Yearning for Love and Chaos

Here’s the latest chapter in a possibly endless series of papers by different mathematicians fancifully using the metaphors and mathematics of chaos to tell and re-tell tales of love:  “Love stories can be unpredictable: Jules et Jim in the vortex of life,” Fabio Dercole and Sergio Rinaldi, Chaos: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Nonlinear Science, vol. 24, 023134, 2014. […]

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, […]

Fitness: round holes and square holes, pegged

Wolfram Mathworld bores down into a much-discussed-by-others-but-usually-idly question about pegs and holes: The answer to the question “which fits better, a round peg in a square hole, or a square peg in a round hole?” can be interpreted as asking which is larger, the ratio of the area of a circle to its circumscribed square, or the area of thesquare to its circumscribed circle? […]

Behold the Non-Squeezing Property Of Contact Balls

The field of mathematics often supplies papers that demand attention even from casual observers. Here’s a new one: “Non-Squeezing Property Of Contact Balls,” Sheng-Fu Chiu, arXiv 1405.1178v1, May 6, 2014. The author is at Northwestern University. Here’s detail from the study: BONUS (unrelated): “IMPROVEMENT IN MACHINES FOR SQUEEZING PUDDLERS BALLS,” US Patent #190,385, granted to E. […]

First attempts to model bipolar patients as harmonic oscillators

People with bipolar disorder swing between mood extremes. A team of mathematicians decided to see how much of that swinging they could describe mathematically. Mason Porter, then at the Georgia Institute of Technology and now at Oxford University, with several US colleagues, published a study in 2009, Mathematical Models of Bipolar Disorder. It appeared in the journal Communications […]