### 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…

### Using statistics ethically to combat 'a scientific credibility crisis'

A recent survey suggests that many researchers have tried and failed to reproduce other scientists’ experiments as well as their own. Georgetown University’s Rochelle Tractenberg, Ph.D., is on a mission to help change that by promoting ethical statistical practices. She’ll lead a panel discussion on the topic Sunday at the AAAS meeting in Boston. Credit: Georgetown University Can statistics…

### Mathematical models predict how we wait in line, traffic

As New Jersey drivers approach the George Washington Bridge to enter New York City, a digital sign flashes overhead with estimates of the delays on the upper and lower levels of the bridge. Most drivers choose the level with the shortest predicted wait. But a few savvy drivers choose the other level, expecting that the…

### 'Field patterns' as a new mathematical object

A disturbance branching out with time, and at long time is localized on a field pattern. One may think of currents flowing along these lines and branching. Credit: Ornella Mattei. University of Utah mathematicians propose a theoretical framework to understand how waves and other disturbances move through materials in conditions that vary in both space…

### Fractal edges shown to be key to imagery seen in Rorschach inkblots

Rorschach’s Blot Seven is shown at the top (a). Note the tell-tale fractal signatures of irregular curves or shapes at the edges of the symmetrical image. Some people see a woman’s head with a ponytail. Below (b) the inkblot has been altered with the fractal borders removed. The ability to see hidden patterns is reduced.…

### Five important lessons we can learn from statistician Hans Rosling

Hans Rosling: presenter of the facts. Credit: Neil Fantom/flickr, CC BY I first came across Hans Rosling’s work while I was trying to make mathematics students fall in love with statistics. His TED talks are inspirational since they present data in new and dynamic ways, but not just that, they’re also educational and eye-opening. Rosling…

### 'Bright but poor' pupils years behind better-off peers, study claims

“Bright but poor” children in Britain are lagging years behind their better-off peers in educational achievement, a report has found, despite producing world-leading performances in certain subjects. An analysis of the OECD’s programme for international student assessment (Pisa) found that pupils in the top 10% for attainment but bottom 10% by income – classed as…

### Mathematically optimizing traffic lights in road intersections

Credit: Scott Meltzer/public domain Traffic modeling has been of interest to mathematicians since the 1950s. Research in the area has only grown as road traffic control presents an ever-increasing problem. Generally, models for traffic flow in road networks are time-dependent and continuous, that is, they describe traffic by a continuum rather than as individual drivers…

### Atlanta Falcons to win Super Bowl: Pitt professor used in-game data from the past seven NFL seasons

Konstantinos Pelechrinis. Credit: University of Pittsburgh The Atlanta Falcons will defeat the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 51. This prediction comes from a University of Pittsburgh researcher who backs his claim with seven years of National Football League (NFL) data and statistics. “Increasingly, we are seeing NFL coaches and executives embracing analytics to improve…

### Mathematical model reveals parental involvement can 'immunize' students from dropping out

Study’s statistical tipping point for parent versus peer influences. Credit: Proceedings of the Royal Society A Newsflash for American high school students—choose friends wisely, or they may end up costing you your education. In fact, new mathematical modeling from Arizona State University, Northeastern Illinois University, and the University of Texas at Arlington documents the exact…