Have you ever wondered what your brain is really doing as you sweat your way through a maths test? Now you can see for yourself, thanks to a new brain imaging study from Carnegie Mellon University that captured the brain activity of people in the act of solving maths problems.

# Tagged With mathematics

If you've ever been frustrated at your inability to complete a level of *Super Mario Brothers*, here's a little something to cheer you up. Computer scientists have demonstrated that solving a level in the popular video game is tantamount to solving some of the hardest problems in computational science.

Designer Love Hultén is probably best known for his Pixel Vision, a tiny portable gaming machine made of wood that's reminiscent of the folding Game Boy Advance. His latest creation doesn't play games, but it does generate mesmerising fractals guaranteed to burn hours of time.

More than a thousand years before the first telescopes, Babylonian astronomers tracked the motion of planets across the night sky using simple arithmetic. But a newly translated text reveals that these ancient stargazers also used a far more advanced method, one that foreshadows the development of calculus over a thousand years later.

A new fractal analysis of London's dense network of streets and intersections reveals that a green belt meant to encourage migration to the suburbs had the opposite effect. The city has just became denser. People really seem to love urban living, especially in a thriving city like London. The work could shed light on how modern cities evolve, and help guide future urban growth policies.

The complexity of a puzzle is usually dependent on how many tiny pieces are crammed inside its box. But by introducing mathematical fractals into the design, this plain nine-piece puzzle by Oscar van Deventer looks like a nightmare to solve.

Your cousin's Facebook friends are probably going nuts over this image that claims to show how the early history of Arabic geometric design informs how we write numerals today. "Each figure contains its own number of corners and angles," reads the text. That's half-true of the drawings in the image. The rest is patently false.

Earlier this year, an 80-year-old Japanese chalk company went out of business. Nobody, perhaps, was as sad to see the company go as mathematicians who had become obsessed with Hagoromo Fulltouch Chalk, the so-called "Rolls Royce of chalk".

**Video:** The MinutePhysics series has always been a goldmine of interesting facts and science explainers. But prepare to have your mind blown wide open this time as Henry Reich shows you an alternate way to manually subtract large numbers — by doing addition instead.

The Golden Ratio is the secret, silver bullet for refined design and balanced aesthetics. It's on display in great works of art like the Mona Lisa. Even the Apple logo leans on the Golden Ratio for mathematical order. At least that's what you've been told. FastCo Design's John Brownlee has news for you though: "It's bullshit."

Inspired by the naturally-occurring mathematical Fibonacci sequences found in pine cones and sunflowers, Stanford University's John Edmark designed and 3D-printed these sculptures that appear come to life — with bizarre undulating animations — when filmed spinning using a strobe light or video camera with a high-speed shutter.