Power and pitfalls of symbolic equations
Tracing the history of all those x’s and y’s.
Some people have bad memories of high school algebra, with all those x’s and y’s that seem to come from nowhere, as i...
A better espresso, the scientific way
A multidisciplinary team says its coffee quality adds up.
You know coffee is serious business when mathematicians, physicists and materials scientists start working together o...
History: Al-Khwarizmi, maths master
Persian composed the oldest works on arithmetic and algebra.
Al-Khwarizmi featured on a stamp released by the then USSR in 1983 to mark what was considered the 1200th anniversary...
The mathematical mystery of interlocking shells.
Perfect interlocking of the two valves in the brachiopod fossil Kutchirhynchia obsoleta. Below: A simulated bivalved ...
David Harvey wins AustMS Medal
UNSW mathematician recognised by national society.
Associate Professor David Harvey demonstrating the old-school method of multiplication which is impractical when mult...
Maybe you shouldn’t follow the leader
Model suggests performance ranking reduces meritocracy.
It’s one of the least engaging aspects of a modern economy: the mania to quantify and rank the performance of individ...
Gladys West maps the future
She played a ‘pivotal role’ in a popular technology.
A brief item appeared on the Cosmos website on 6 March 2019 with the headlines “A mathematician, idolised”, and “GPS ...
History: Otto Schmidt, Russian hero
He was a man of many talents, and many awards.
Otto Schmidt on a Russian stamp released in 1966. Credit: Post of the Soviet Union / Public domain If Otto Yulyevi...
Exploring where maths analogies shed light on reality.
In some ways, mathematics is like literature. It has its own definitions and grammatical rules – although unfortunate...
A formula for simulating softness
Perception is influenced by geometric properties.
US researchers say they have developed a formula for accurately simulating softness, opening the way to create more r...
The brilliance of Venn diagrams
British mathematician also had a love for cricket.
In late July 2019, Britain’s Evening Standard newspaper reported on how soon-to-be prime minister Boris Johnson had p...
Volume and decision-making linked by maths
Psychophysics receives much-needed experimental validation.
Time holds the key to the explanation of Weber's law. Credit: Diogo Matias, Champalimaud Foundation The time it ta...