Differential equations and the role of coincidence

In a project funded by the Austrian Science Fund FWF, a team directed by mathematician Erika Hausenblas is investigating how the pressure of flowing liquids can be described when taking into account random perturbations. Differential equations are a physicist’s most important tool. From Newton’s law of gravitation to quantum physics one will scarcely find a…

Brian Dann obituary

My father, Brian Dann, who has died aged 90, was a poet and publisher of poetry, who, with my mother, organised thousands of poetry readings and other cultural activities in south London. Born in Camberwell, Brian acquired from his father, Albert, a jeweller, and his mother, Sylvia (nee Lee), a lifelong enthusiasm for learning. His…

Mathematical theorem finds gerrymandering in PA congressional district maps

The current congressional districting of the state of Pennsylvania. Credit: Carnegie Mellon University Pennsylvania’s congressional district maps are almost certainly the result of gerrymandering according to an analysis based on a new mathematical theorem on bias in Markov Chains developed by Carnegie Mellon University and University of Pittsburgh mathematicians. Their findings are published in the…

Mathematics is beautiful (no, really)

Fractals in stone by Jami Masjid. Credit: Ankush.sabharwal/wikipedia, CC BY-SA For many people, memories of maths lessons at school are anything but pretty. Yet “beautiful” is a word that I and other mathematicians often use to describe our subject. How on earth can maths be beautiful – and does it matter? For me, as a…