Modeling What Happens to Frozen Rotating Lasagna

Things take a turn in this roundabout technical study of lasagna: “Multiphysics modeling of microwave heating of a frozen heterogeneous meal rotating on a turntable,” Krishnamoorthy Pitchai, Jiajia Chen, Sohan Birla, David Jones, Ric Gonzalez, and Jeyamkondan Subbiah, Journal of Food Science, vol. 80, no. 12, 2015, pp. E2803-E2814. (Thanks to Mason Porter for bringing […]

Modelling heat loss from a semi-spherical cow udder

Theoretical physicists are sometimes accused of making over-simplifications for mathematical models. This has lead to many variations on the spherical cow story, where a physicist claims to be able to cure a sick cow, but only if it is a spherical cow in a vacuum. Oddly, most iterations of this tale ignore heat radiated from […]

Anything goes with Ecological Niche Modelling? Even Sasquatch?

Authors J. D. Lozier, P. Aniello and M. J. Hickerson remind us, in a 2009 editorial for the Journal of Biogeography that : “[…] very sensible-looking, well-performing (based on AUC and threshold tests) ENMs [Ecological Niche Models] can be constructed from questionable observation data.“ They demonstrate by building an Ecological Niche Model to predict the […]

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 […]

The effect of centrifugal birthing on an art critic

Rachel Lavin writes in The University Times, about Science Gallery [Dublin]‘s “Fail Better” exhibition: Some of the highlights are Christopher Reeve’s wheelchair, Samuel Beckett’s original manuscript drafts of Westward Ho, and most intriguingly, a human birthing machine that earned itself an Ig Nobel Prize. The machine has been rebuilt for viewing and is available to […]

To Predict Home-Based Shopping Trips, Fuzzily

Of all the fuzzy intervening opportunity models, this one is most explicitly designed to predict home-based shopping trips: “A fuzzy intervening opportunity model to predict home-based shopping trips.” Shahriar Afandizadeh [pictured here], Seyed Mehdi Yadi Hamedani, Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering, 2012, 39:(2), 203-222,  The authors are at the School of Civil Engineering, Iran University of Science […]