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Articles on Mathematics

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Australia ranks poorly for the number of graduates emerging with a science degree.

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…
A universe composed differently could still support complex life. Susan NYC

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…
The cut-and-choose technique has been preventing tantrums since antiquity. free form by prudence

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…
Do we take the sophistication of numbers one to ten for granted? duncan

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…
Improved modelling will help predict future climatic events, like changing summer rainfall. AAP

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…
Alan Turing, through pure mathematics, laid the foundations for the modern computer. Leo Reynolds

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…
More maths teachers means better outcomes for students. Flickr

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…
Knowing what’s hard and easy is, in itself, quite hard. JuniorMonkey

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…
When you know the numbers, things get a whole lot easier. Roberto Bouza

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…
Is it a plane? No, it’s Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics. William West/AFP

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…
Pi pie

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…

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