Posts Tagged 'Applied Maths'



Modelling the Markets

Mathematics now plays a fundamental role in modelling market movements [see this week’s That’s Maths column (TM067) or search for “thatsmaths” at irishtimes.com].

Dow-Jones Industrial Aversge for 6 May 2010. Graphic adapted from Sunday Times, 26 April, 2015.

Dow-Jones Industrial Average for the Flash-Crash on 6 May 2010.
Graphic adapted from Sunday Times, 26 April, 2015.

Continue reading ‘Modelling the Markets’

For Good Comms, Leaky Cables are Best

A counter-intuitive result of Oliver Heaviside showed how telegraph cables should be designed [see this week’s That’s Maths column (TM066) or search for “thatsmaths” at irishtimes.com].

Atlantic-Telegraph-Map Continue reading ‘For Good Comms, Leaky Cables are Best’

You Can Do Maths

Bragging about mathematical ineptitude is not cool. There is nothing admirable about ignorance and incompetence. Moreover, everyone thinks mathematically all the time, even if they are not aware of it. Can we all do maths? Yes, we can!  [See this week’s That’s Maths column (TM064) or search for “thatsmaths” at irishtimes.com].

Topological map of the London Underground network

When you use a map of the underground network, you are doing topology.

Continue reading ‘You Can Do Maths’

Earth’s Shape and Spin Won’t Make You Thin

Using a simple pendulum we can determine the shape of the Earth. That amazing story is told in this week’s That’s Maths column in The Irish Times (TM057 or search for “thatsmaths” at www.irishtimes.com ).

Is the Earth oblate like an orange (Newton) or prolate like a lemon (the Cassinis)?

Is the Earth oblate like an orange (Newton) or prolate like a lemon (the Cassinis)?

Continue reading ‘Earth’s Shape and Spin Won’t Make You Thin’

Light Weight (*)

Does light have weight? Newton thought that light was influenced by gravity and, using his laws of motion, we can calculate how gravity bends a light beam. The effect is observable during a total eclipse of the sun: photographs of the sky are compared with the same region when the sun is elsewhere and a radial displacement of the star images is found. But the amount predicted by Newton’s laws is only half the observed value.

Solar-Eclipse Continue reading ‘Light Weight (*)’

How Big was the Bomb?

By a brilliant application of dimensional analysis, G.I.Taylor estimated the explosive energy of the first atomic blast, the Trinity Test (see this week’s That’s Maths column in The Irish Times, TM053, or search for “thatsmaths” at irishtimes.com).

US army soldiers watching the first test of an atomic weapon, the Trinity Test.

US army soldiers watching the first test of an atomic weapon, the Trinity Test.

Continue reading ‘How Big was the Bomb?’

Sunflowers and Fibonacci: Models of Efficiency

The article in this week’s That’s Maths column in The Irish Times ( TM046 ) is about the maths behind the efficient packing of sunflowers and many other plants

Ibec-Sunflower

Strolling along Baggot Street in Dublin recently, I noticed a plaque at the entrance to the Ibec head office. It showed a circular pattern of dots, reminiscent of the head of a sunflower. According to the Ibec website, “The spiral motif brings dynamism … and hints at Ibec’s member-centric ethos.” Wonderful! In fact, the pattern in the logo is vastly more interesting than this. Continue reading ‘Sunflowers and Fibonacci: Models of Efficiency’


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