How close to invisible can a mirror be?

Credit: US Environmental Protection Agency (Phys.org)—In 2011, mathematicians Alexander Plakhov and Vera Roshchina proved that objects with mirror surfaces cannot be perfectly invisible. Now in a new study, Plakhov has returned to the problem, asking just how close to invisible a mirror-surfaced object can be. Using concepts from billiards and optics, he has shown that…

Tim Poston obituary

My friend and colleague Tim Poston, who has died aged 72, had an unorthodox academic career that combined pure mathematics with physics, engineering, computer science and medicine. He also co-authored two science-fiction novels. He was born in St Albans, Hertfordshire, to Ralph, a broadcaster and Anglican priest, and his wife, Mary (nee King), a teacher…

JCU team's winning basketball formula

Credit: CC0 Public Domain James Cook University scientists have come up with a winning formula for basketball teams looking to take home Olympic gold. JCU Associate Professor Anthony Leicht and Dr Carl Woods, along with Dr Miguel Gomez from Spain, analysed every moment of 156 men’s basketball games played at the last four Olympics. …

On a collision course with game theory

Attention, collision ahead! What’s true for rugby players also applies to pedestrians talking a walk in the city – and can now be calculated. Credit: Fanny Schertzer / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 3.0 How do pedestrians behave in a large crowd? How do they avoid collisions? How can their paths be modeled? A new approach…