Even if you don't know much physics, you probably know one of its core tenets: an object at rest stays at rest, and an object in motion stays in motion. In fact, in a vacuum where there's literally nothing to slow things down, things don't prefer being at rest or in motion. This plays out in real life all the time — when you're sitting in the bathroom on a plane, for instance, you can't feel that you're moving 800km an hour. You only feel the changes in your velocity via the bumps.
Tagged With mathematics
The number zero is something we all take for granted, yet its conceptual origin has eluded archaeologists and historians. An updated analysis of an ancient Indian manuscript is shedding new light on this longstanding mystery, showing that the symbol that would eventually evolve into the number zero emerged at least 500 years earlier than previously thought.
A popular chess problem known as the Queen's Puzzle has captivated mathematicians and computer scientists for years, yet no one has been able to write a computer program that can solve the conundrum quickly and efficiently. Researchers from the UK now claim that computers will never be up to the task — and they're offering a $US1 million ($1.3 million) to anyone who can prove them wrong.
Video: In Julius Horsthuis' short film Recurrence, he takes the audience on a slow descent into a sprawling metropolis he's created. But as you get closer and closer to the city, and try to make out details such as houses and skyscrapers, you start to realise that those tiny details only reveal more of the same, and that your descent is never going to end.
You are very lucky that you ended up about the size that you are today, somewhere between 30cm and 3m tall and weighing somewhere between 0.5 and 500kg. This is a very good size. Not to body shame, but if you were, say, a quadrillion times shorter and weighed a nonillion times less (that's one followed by 30 zeros), that would be very inconvenient for you. Everything would be very inconvenient for you.
One of the most well-accepted physical theories makes no logical sense. Quantum mechanics, the theory that governs the smallest possible spaces, forces our human brains to accept some really wacky, uncomfortable realities. Maybe we live in a world where certain observations can force our universe to branch into multiple ones. Or maybe actions in the present influence things earlier in time.
Imagine: You're at an airport with your fancy new bag rolling behind you. You have spent a little too much time deciding which plane snack will both taste good and not have too many kilojoules, and now must sprint to catch your plane. You make a turn and suddenly, your bag begins to wobble. No time to fix it, you are now dragging your suitcase sideways to the gate.
Mathematics is far more fraught with debate and disagreement than you might imagine. Arguments about things some of the smartest physicists have trouble understanding rage for years. Recently, a pair of mathematicians ignited some old flames — or rather, shattered some glass — with a new set of results that, if correct, have far-reaching implications in physics and even cybersecurity.
The hallways of maths and science history are overflowing with the achievements of white men, from Sir Isaac Newton to Steve Jobs; their faces are printed into primary school textbooks everywhere, and their achievements have been indelibly drilled into our minds, with countless awards and institutions named after them. To be brilliant is a gift, but who gets to be remembered as such involves privilege.
Researchers from the University of Liverpool have shown that it's possible to detect neurodegenerative disorders in famous artists by analysing subtle changes in their brush strokes over time. The technique could eventually be used to flag Alzheimer's and Parkinson's in artists before they're diagnosed.
Each year, tens of thousands of passengers get bumped from their scheduled flights because of overbooking. A new video from TED-Ed explains why companies do it, and why you have a right to be pissed off when it happens.
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.