We Use Math Blog

Using Math to Predict Patient Response

Dr. Cary Oberije, a postdoctoral researcher in The Netherlands, has found that mathematical models can be used to accurately predict patients' responses to treatment. Prediction models were used to analyze lung cancer patients' likelihood of survival and suffering from further complications. Currently, mathematical models are not widely used in medicine, but Dr. Oberije's findings suggest a bright future for integrating mathematics into medicine. Read more about the study here.


Monkeying Around


A University of Rochester study shows that baboons are able to understand numbers. Experimenters showed the monkeys peanut-filled cups and the monkeys then chose which cup contained more peanuts. Read more about the experiment and its conclusions here.

A Mathematician's Major League Baseball Projections

Mathematician Bruce Bukiet of the New Jersey Institute of Technology has once a gain predicted a champion for the 2013 Major League Baseball season. Bukiet provides a mathematical analysis to compute the number of games each team should win during the regular season. In the past, Bukiet has correctly predicted the World Series champion and even the number of games each team will win! Check out his predictions for this year here and learn more about baseball projections using mathematics here.

Space Exploration Using Math

Software Engineers at SpaceX recently participated in a crowd-sourced interview on Reddit. One person asked, "What experience/schooling does one need to get a job with SpaceX?" SpaceX responded (in summary), "Study math and know your sorting algorithms." Read more about SpaceX and their coding systems here.

Gender Gap Closes in Math Competitions

In most math competitions, girls underperform relative to their male classmates. Brigham Young University economist Joe Price has shown that girls can perform as well as boys when the competition format is adjusted. With this new understanding, researchers can focus on helping girls perform better in competitive environments. Read more about the study here.

Celebrating Pi Day (3/14...get it?)

Did you know...

-the United States House of Representatives formally supported the designation of Pi Day in 2009.

-in 1988, the first formal Pi Day celebration was held in San Francisco. It was created by Larry Shaw, the "Prince of Pie."

-the Massechusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) mails its acceptance letters for delivery on March 14th.

-Princeton, New Jersey celebrates both Pi Day and Albert Einstein's birthday with a pi recitation contest, pie eating contest, and an Einstein look-alike contest!

-raps about Pi exist! View one that was recognized on NPR here.

-For information of the SF Exploratorium celebration, click here.

-Need some ideas for your own Pi Day celebration? Here are eight steps to a perfect Pi Day.

Math in the Medical World

Max Little is an applied mathematician who developed a voice analysis software for Parkinson's disease screening. The Parkinson's Voice Initiative asked for volunteers to recite simple vocal sounds over the phone which were recorded for further analysis. This algorithmic software has a 98.6% accuracy rate in detecting Parkinson's disease. Though it is not yet an official method of diagnosis, its cost effectiveness, simplicity in screening, and ability to reach a large population make it very promising. Click here for a link to Max Little's talk explaining his initiative, and click here to find out more and monitor the study's progress.


Pancake Problem

Before Microsoft, Bill Gates was a mathematician! During his sophomore year at Harvard, he formulated an algorithm to figure out the minimum number of flips it takes to sort a stack of pancakes. Listen to or read the NPR interview with Dr. Lewis, Gates' professor who introduced him to the problem. For background information and the "burnt pancake problem," click here.

The Key to PSAT Math Success

A new study from Western University shows a correlation between fluency in basic math and high achievement on the math portion of the PSAT. Watch the video and read more here.

Can Math Save the World?


A new world-wide initiative, Mathematics of Planet Earth 2013, will tackle global issues such as natural disasters and sustainability. Mathematicians will dedicate the year 2013 to researching and finding solutions for problems plaguing our world. Another major objective of the project is to inform the public of the relevance of math in modern calamities. Read more about MPE2013 here. Check the website for upcoming events and discoveries. The United States launch of this initiative is this week at the Joint Math Meeting in San Diego, California.

The most common question students ask math teachers at every level is “When will I use math?” WeUseMath.org is a non-profit website that helps to answer this question. This website describes the importance of mathematics and many rewarding career opportunities available to students who study mathematics.



Figures represent salary potential.


Dr. Cary Oberije, a postdoctoral researcher in The Netherlands, has found that mathematical models can be used to accurately predict patients' responses to treatment. Prediction models were used to analyze lung cancer patients' likelihood of survival and...

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