Think you make many decisions "off the cuff"? Mathematic findings indicate there may be more science to our choices.

# Month: May 2010

## High Value in Keeping Internet Secure

If you have the necessary math know-how, it can really pay.

John Tate, a scientist from the University of Texas at Austin was recently awarded the Abel Prize–thought of as math’s Nobel–for his work with Algebraic Number Theory. It’s one of the math principles that lies at the heart of internet security, a facet of everyday living in today’s world.

And the world desperately needs top mathematicians to help safeguard our cyber information. The prize, presented by the King of Norway, includes a $1 million cash award.

## Boltzmann Equation Solved

It may not seem like a spectacular feat for a group of university mathematicians to solve an equation, but when that equation is 140 years old (not to mention, has implications for many other scientific fields), it begins to catch some attention.

The Boltzmann Equation has been used since the late 1860s to help mathematicians and scientists model how gases distribute themselves and respond to environmental changes. Although it has been widely used for such a long time (and has worked, for that matter), it had not been explained until now.

Two researchers from the University of Pennsylvania recently unlocked the equation to help us see that it does, in fact, hold water. Their work has added validity to many scientific practices of the past century.

## “Like” this: Math helps figure out Facebook

Many people find themselves on Facebook and other social networking sites to avoid studying. But for some, Facebook IS a study.

Researchers from UNC Chapel Hill are using math to understand the nature of social patterns and how networks evolve.

Because human social networks can be complicated, it has been difficult for researchers to understand them until now.

And the research is being applied to more than just networking sites. The group of scientists have applied their methods to understanding voting practices of the U.S. Senate.

The research "identified some interesting details, including points of historical transition in the Senate and indications of different groups among Facebook users, " UNC reports.

## The Universe Runs On Math

Check out this interview of Shing-Tung Yau, the mathematician known for conceiving the math behind string theory.

Learn about how this mathematician, who grew up in poverty in China, eventually graduated with advanced degrees. He then went on to conceive the math that supports string theory, the idea that holds that the universe is built of ten-dimensional subatomic vibrating strings. His story that will have you rethinking the possibilities of math.