n-body problem

In the n-body problem, we seek to describe the interaction between a fixed number of objects under Newton’s Law of Gravity. A simple equation given by Newton in 1687 describes the gravitational attraction between two objects. Using a computer, we can compute the sum of the forces acting on a fixed number of objects. Once this is known, we can deduce where the object will be in the next time step.

These images show some newly discovered periodic (repeating) orbits for 3 and 4 bodies.

Caption A: Three bodies with equal mass orbiting on a figure eight. This result was published in 2000.

Caption B: Three bodies of unequal mass. This system is similar to a planet orbiting a binary star system.

Caption C: Two pairs of bodies orbiting about each other.

Caption D: An orbit discovered in 2008 by Tiancheng Ouyang, Duokui Yan, and Skyler Simmons at BYU.

This problem is far from a mathematical curiosity. For example, NASA uses computations like these to model motions for launches of space probes and other spacecraft.


Links to other useful sites

University of Arizona Video
This video from the University of Arizona highlights some of the many career options that are available to you with a degree in Mathematics.

The Mathematical Association of America

Mathematical Moments

An excellent source for making math fun in the school classroom and beyond.

Get answers to all your questions about math and read answers to other people’s questions.

Challenging problems, advice, and support for students and teachers interested in math competitions.

A radio show about math by Professor Chaim Goodman-Strauss and Journalist Kyle Kellams.

Movies about math in real life with algebra activities.

Math Fun Facts are ideas and puzzles that will change the way you think.

Open Problem Garden is a collection of unsolved problems in mathematics.

Has some fun math games and resources for teachers.

Why Do Math shows that an undergraduate mathematics education can be an entryway to rewarding and engaging career opportunities.

A mathematical dictionary and glossary for students

Additional information about mathematical careers:

The Mathematical Association of America has some information about mathematical career choices.

The American Mathematical Society has some profiles of people employed in mathematical careers.

The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics has additional information about careers in applied math

How math is used in the real world.



Poster Dimensions: 27″ X 18″

Poster Dimensions: 18″ X 27″

Poster Dimensions: 18″ X 27″

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