Search Content | Science News

ADVERTISEMENT

MISSION CRITICAL

Support credible science journalism.

Subscribe to Science News today.

Search Content

E.g., 01/20/2018
E.g., 01/20/2018
Your search has returned 11 articles:
  • Math Trek

    Aircraft Boarding by the Numbers

    It shouldn't be that hard to get passengers on board an aircraft in a timely manner. But there are complications. Flights are often full. Privileged fliers generally get seated first. Some passengers may simply disregard boarding announcements and go out of turn. Luggage doesn't cram easily into packed overhead bins. Someone ends up in the wrong seat and has to switch. A plane's seat...

    07/21/2006 - 15:54 Numbers
  • Feature

    Calculating Swarms

    The frenetic scurrying of ants around a nest may seem like much ado about nothing. There's method in their madness, however.

    All this activity adds up to ingenious strategies for collectively working out the shortest path to a food source, combining forces to move a large, unwieldy object, and performing other functions crucial to an ant colony's well...

    06/18/2004 - 17:11 Computing
  • Math Trek

    Mathematical Art on Display

    The term "mathematical art" usually conjures up just one name–that of Dutch graphic artist M. C. Escher (1898–1972). Many people are familiar with Escher's endless staircases, hyperbolic tilings, Möbius ants, intricate tessellations, and other creations. They may also be aware of the intertwining of mathematics and art during the Renaissance, with the...

    04/02/2003 - 10:20 Numbers
  • Feature

    The Power of Partitions

    Just a year before his death in 1920 at the age of 32, mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan came upon a remarkable pattern in a special list of whole numbers.

    The list represented counts of how many ways a given whole number can be expressed as a sum of positive integers. For example, 4 can be written as 3 + 1, 2 + 2, 2 + 1 + 1, and 1 + 1 + 1 + 1. Including 4 itself...

    12/13/2002 - 15:52 Numbers
  • Feature

    Great Computations

    Computers at home or in the office often sit idle for minutes, hours, or days at a time. The Internet now allows researchers to take advantage of this enormous reservoir of unused computer power.

    More than 1.6 million people have downloaded software to sift through signals collected by the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico as part of a search for signs of...

    09/06/2002 - 17:54 Numbers
  • Math Trek

    Jazzing Up Euclid's Algorithm

    Earlier this year, the journal Computing in Science & Engineering (CISE) published a list of the top 10 algorithms of the century (see http://computer.org/cise/articles/Top_Algorithms.htm).

    "Computational algorithms are probably as old as civilization," Francis Sullivan of the Institute for Defense Analyses' Center for Computing Sciences in Bowie, Md. noted in an editorial in the...

    08/12/2002 - 16:29 Numbers
  • Math Trek

    A Minimal Winter's Tale

    The organizers of the Breckenridge snow sculpture championships in Colorado must be getting used to having a mathematical element in their annual competition.

    For the second year in a row, a team assembled by mathematician Stan Wagon of Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn., participated in the international event. In its debut effort last...

    08/09/2002 - 15:48 Numbers
  • News

    Searchers capture a champion megaprime

    A participant in the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS) has identified the largest prime number yet. When printed out, its digits would fill more than 450 pages of Science News.

    Discovered by 20-year-old Michael Cameron of Owen Sound, Ontario, the new champion prime is 213,466,917 – 1, which runs to 4,053,946 decimal digits.

    A prime is a whole number evenly divisible by...

    12/11/2001 - 11:14 Numbers
  • Feature

    A Rocky Bicentennial

    Built atop a 12th-century tower in the royal palace of Sicily, the Palermo Observatory has a commanding view of domed cathedrals, an ornate opera house, and an ancient gateway with rooftop gallery and colonnade. But what really draws the eye are the craggy mountains on the horizon.

    At noon, they frame the aqua-blue...

    07/24/2001 - 10:44 Astronomy
  • Feature

    Surprisingly Square

    For many decades, the study of the sums of squares was a stagnant backwater of mathematical research. This state of affairs changed unexpectedly in 1996 when mathematician Stephen C. Milne of Ohio State University in Columbus unveiled powerful new formulas for enumerating representations of numbers as the sums of squares.

    Milne's discoveries "came as...

    06/08/2001 - 09:54 Numbers