A mathematical look at frog choruses

A further attempt to understand croaking: “Spatio-Temporal Dynamics in Collective Frog Choruses Examined by Mathematical Modeling and Field Observations,” Ikkyu Aihara, Takeshi Mizumoto, Takuma Otsuka, Hiromitsu Awano, Kohei Nagira, Hiroshi G. Okuno and Kazuyuki Aihara, Scientific Reports, vol. 4, Article 3891, January 27, 1014. The authors, at Brain Science Institute, RIKEN and Kyoto University, and […]

Using mathematics to describe things no one knows how to describe well

Here are two cases where: (A)  people used mathematical equations to describe complicated things that nobody understands very well; and then (B) other people noticed the, uh, discrepancy. The British amateur who debunked the mathematics of happiness: “It seemed incredible to Brown, as though it had been made up. But the number was no invention. […]

Applying bacteria to solve the Burnt Pancake Problem

The Burnt Pancake Problem — a mathematical problem whose history Simon Singh recently put in context, in an article in The Guardian — can be attacked by using bacteria. This paper explains how: “Engineering bacteria to solve the Burnt Pancake Problem,” Karmella A. Haynes [pictured here], Marian L. Broderick, Adam D. Brown, Trevor L. Butner, […]

A washing machine filled with Legos and applied mathematics

Colin Lecher writes in Popular Science: “Random Structures from Lego Bricks and Analog Monte Carlo Procedures” is… about throwing Legos in a washing machine. And it is wonderful. Ingo Althöfer of Friedrich-Schiller University in Germany is the author of the minor masterpiece. From the introduction to the paper, allow Dr. Althöfer to explain: Within a larger experimental series we […]

The math controversy that, they say, led to a mental breakdown

In an essay called “The Root of Infinity: It’s Surreal!“, the ThatsMath blog writes about a dark side to the power of numbers. The Cantor mentioned here is George Cantor [pictured here], who pretty much created large subsets of certain branches of mathematics : … But the extended system was hugely controversial, and for good […]

Mathematics of Repulsive Behavior in an Exceptional Family

Mathematics sometimes is all about family. Here is one of those times: “Repulsive Behavior in an Exceptional Family,” Jeffrey Stopple [pictured here], arXiv:1108.6272, August 31, 2011. Stoppel, at the University of California, Santa Barbara, writes, using the royal “we”: “The existence of a Landau-Siegel zero leads to the Deuring-Heilbronn phenomenon, here appearing in the 1-level density in […]