### Mathematicians invent tool to judge when voting maps have been unfairly drawn

This map shows a shifting kaleidoscope of partisan advantage, for US Congressional voting districts, since 1972. The size of each state is adjusted according to its number of seats in 2012. “The 2003 Texas redistricting is striking,” notes UVM’s Greg Warrington who created a new mathematical tool, a declination, used to measure the gerrymandering shown…

### Sustained bacterial outbreak in mosquitoes limits spread of life-threatening diseases

Medical practitioners, such as those at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, frequently utilize mathematical models when determining how to best control the spread of mosquito-borne illnesses. Diseases such as chikungunya, dengue fever, malaria, and Zika virus can be life-threatening, and no effective vaccine currently exists. While most mitigation strategies aim to eliminate popular…

### The genius at Guinness and his statistical legacy

Statistics has Guinness to thank for the Student’s t-test. Credit: Flickr/Scott Thompson, CC BY This St Patrick’s Day, revellers around the world will crowd the streets seeking one of Ireland’s national drinks: a pint of Guinness. But besides this tasty stout, one of the most fundamental and commonly used tools of science also has its…

‘I don’t even know how much this is going to cost.’ Credit: shutterstock Suppose, a litre of cola costs US\$3.15. If you buy one third of a litre of cola, how much would you pay? The above may seem like a rather basic question. Something that you would perhaps expect the vast majority of adults…

### Did you solve it? The Pi Day party starts here

In my puzzle blog earlier today I set you three pi-flavoured puzzles. 1. Move one matchstick below to make the equation approximately correct Solution The traditional approximation for pi is 22/7, which has led some people to suggest Pi day should be July 22. 2. Goddfrey and Steven are pi-ous ninth century monks. It is…

### Can you solve it? The Pi Day party starts here

Hi guzzlers, Wednesday is Pi Day, an annual date of celebration in the mathematical community because March 14, or 3/14, using the US convention for dates, looks like 3.14, which is pi to two decimal places. Pi – usually written as the Greek letter π – is the ‘circle constant’. Take any circle you like.…

### A model for autoignition in turbulent jets

The hydrodynamic structure of a free round turbulent jet of fuel (ethanol/water mixture) and oxidizer (air), injected into an ambient of supercritical water at rest (left) and at the instance of spontaneous autoignition of the hydrothermal flame (right). The images were taken in the high-pressure combustion laboratory at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio.…

### New study takes the guesswork out of selecting and seeding teams for 'March Madness'

Credit: Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences New research has developed an automated approach for narrowing down and ranking the field of Division 1 college basketball teams from 351 to the 68 that would play in the annual “March Madness” basketball tournaments, watched by more than 80 million people each year. Each year,…

### Want to predict March Madness? New method identifies key statistics, outperforms others in accuracy

University of Illinois researchers have developed a method using causal inference for predicting upsets in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament that outperforms many other techniques. In addition to improved accuracy, the method stands out because it relies on publicly available data, making it reproducible and more accessible for others to use. The paper reporting the…

### Teachers, pedagogical skills, and the obstacle of intuition

When a task calls for intuitive knowledge, as in “subtracting means taking something away,” its complexity often goes unnoticed. However, when intuitions are not mobilized – having to grasp, for instance, that subtracting means “finding the difference” – the task is considered difficult, and seemingly requires the use of specific educational strategies. Researchers at the…