# Articles on Mathematics

## How far away is everybody? Climbing the cosmic distance ladder

Let’s talk numbers for a moment. The moon is approximately 384,000 kilometres away, and the sun is approximately 150 million kilometres away. The mean distance between Earth and the sun is known as the…

## Science, maths and the future of Australia

Australia faces many big challenges – in the economy, health, energy, water, climate change, infrastructure, sustainable agriculture and the preservation of our precious biodiversity. To meet these, we…

## Where is everybody? Doing the maths on extraterrestrial life

During a lunch in the summer of 1950, physicists Enrico Fermi, Edward Teller and Herbert York were chatting about a recent New Yorker cartoon depicting aliens abducting trash cans in flying saucers. Suddenly…

## Peer Review: The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning

Welcome to Peer Review, a series in which we ask leading academics to review books written by people working in the same field. Here Geraint Lewis, Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Sydney…

## Cutting cake (and eating it too) – the sticky maths of fair division

I work on the mathematics of sharing resources, which has led me to consider emotions such as envy, behaviour such as risk-taking and the best way to cut a cake. Like, I suspect, many women, my wife enjoys…

## Magic numbers: the beauty of decimal notation

While adding up your grocery bill in the supermarket, you’re probably not thinking how important or sophisticated our number system is. But the discovery of the present system, by unknown mathematicians…

## Getting projections right: predicting future climate

Region by region projections of how climate is likely to change over the coming decades help to make the prospect of global warming more tangible and relevant. Picturing the climate we are likely to have…

## Maths ability may be inborn

Maths ability in preschool children is strongly linked to an inborn and primitive “number sense,” according to new research…

## Explainer: the point of pure mathematics

What is pure mathematics? What do pure mathematicians do? Why is pure mathematics important? These are questions I’m often confronted with when people discover I do pure mathematics. I always manage to…

## Mathematics: Why we need more qualified teachers

There is a crisis in the education system, and it’s affecting the life chances of many young Australians. The number of secondary teaching graduates with adequate qualifications to teach mathematics is…

## Turning “junk” noise into energy with maths

A new mathematical framework has been developed that could be used to turn road vibrations, airport runway noise and other…

## Timetables – hard to read, even harder to build

When you look at a train or university timetable you don’t think about how the timetable was made – you’re thinking about your trip or where your next class is. In that moment, you couldn’t care less about…

## If I had a blank cheque I’d … turn IBM’s Watson into a maths genius

Welcome to the second instalment of If I had a blank cheque … a series in which leading researchers reveal what they could (and would) do in their discipline if money were no object. Today we hear from…

## Want to win at gambling? Use your head

GAMBLING IN AUSTRALIA – Some say “punting is a mug’s game”. But is this always true, or can an astute gambler make long-term profits? Certainly not from casino games. Casinos make profits by paying less…

## Using maths to unlock the secrets of Parkinson’s

Mathematical models can be used to improve the quality of life for patients with Parkinson’s disease. The models are used…

## Algorithm to improve brain disease diagnosis

The clinical diagnosis of conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease could be made easier and more efficient…

## Superman returns – but who’s looking after his water?

Watching films such as Superman Returns or The Day after Tomorrow, you would have seen dramatic sequences of surging water and crumbling buildings. While doing so, mathematics was probably the last thing…

## Are Pi’s days numbered?

Some people have argued that Pi’s days are numbered and that other tools, such as tau, could do its job more efficiently. As someone who has studied Pi throughout his entire working life, my response to…

More Jobs