Mathematics as weapon against desertification

Google Earth image from the research area (8°5’N; 47°27’E), with clear vegetation patterns.  Ph.D. student Robbin Bastiaansen applies mathematics to get insight in practical problems. By comparing mathematical models with developments in existing ecosystems, he hopes to demystify the process of desertification. His research has been published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS),…

Can you solve it? Cutting the perfect slice

Hello guzzlers, Scalpels at the ready! Today, three dissection puzzles. 1. Can you cut the shape below into two identical parts using one single line? The line does not have to be straight. This jagged geometrical brainteaser is from the vault of American science writer Martin Gardner, who died in 2010. The Gathering for Gardner…

Bitcoin better than the dollar?

Will bitcoin topple the dollar of its pedestal? Credit: IFJ PAN The name cryptocurrency does not inspire trust. Advanced statistical analysis for the Bitcoin market carried out at the Institute of Nuclear Physics of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Cracow, however, has not shown any significant differences between its basic statistical parameters and their…