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Math959 articles archived since 1845

The Unsolvable Problem

After a years-long intellectual journey, three mathematicians have discovered that a problem of central importance in physics is impossible to solve—and that means other big questions may be undecidable, too

October 9, 2018 — Toby S. Cubitt, David Pérez-García and Michael Wolf

Burning Man's Mathematical Underbelly

It’s mostly an art festival, but attendees are impressively fascinated with science and math

September 14, 2018 — Seth Stannard Cottrell and The Mathematical Intelligencer

People Ration Where They Roam

An analysis of the movement of some 40,000 people suggests most of us frequent only 25 places—and as we sub in new favorites, we drop old ones. Christopher Intagliata reports.

July 2, 2018 — Christopher Intagliata

Why Tau Trumps Pi

A growing movement argues that killing pi would make mathematics simpler, easier and even more beautiful

June 28, 2018 — Randyn Charles Bartholomew

Celebrate Tau Day with an Extra Slice of Pi

To understand tau, you need to understand pi. Watch how mathematicians from Archimedes on have wrapped their heads around the math of circles.

June 28, 2018 — Shelley Sandiford, Lydia Chain and Deboki Chakravarti

Computers Predict Pop Chart Success

An evolutionary analysis of pop tunes revealed that over the past 30 years songs have grown sadder—but the big hits buck that trend. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

May 24, 2018 — Christopher Intagliata

Radar Scans Detail North Korean Nukes

Scientists have added radar info to seismic data, isotope measurements and optical imagery to study covert nuclear tests. Christopher Intagliata reports.

May 14, 2018 — Christopher Intagliata

How Seashells Take Shape

Mathematical modeling reveals the mechanical forces that guide the development of mollusk spirals, spines and ribs

April 19, 2018 — Derek E. Moulton, Alain Goriely and Régis Chirat

The Same, Only Different

A column about the surprising cultural, structural, philosophical, and mystical features common to mathematics and food

April 4, 2018 — Jim Henle and The Mathematical Intelligencer

Math Cracks a Knuckle-Cracking Mystery

The source of knuckle cracking sounds is much debated—but new mathematical models may reconcile two opposing views. Christopher Intagliata reports.

March 29, 2018 — Christopher Intagliata