Category Archives: Mathematics

Time Travel or Quantum Leap – Where Does Bitcoin Meet Relativity?

Artwork showing a Bitcoin symbol being sucked into a gravity well.  Image: NaturPhilosophieBlockchain Oddity

On 19 June 2018, a peculiar number emerged from the blockchain space.  The series of numbers and letters sent the cryptosphere into overdrive, sparking rampant talk of quantum computing breakthroughs, time travel, Satoshi’s return, and the esoteric meaning of Bitcoin.  Continue reading Time Travel or Quantum Leap – Where Does Bitcoin Meet Relativity?

We Consider Human Network Physiology and Medicine – The “Body Electric” – Part Deux

An illustration symbolising network physiology in medecine and the human organism integrated network, as a complex network with the Vitruvian man at its centre. The caption reads: "The human organism is an integrated network where complex physiological systems, each with its own regulatory mechanisms, continuously interact, and where failure of one system can trigger a breakdown of the entire network. A new field, Network Physiology, is needed to probe the network of interactions among diverse physiologic systems."

The Network Within Us

Everything is connected.  And so it is in the human body too.  Everything in the human body is connected.  No doubt that all your organs – heart, liver, lungs – work as one to keep you alive and as close as possible to a healthy state.  Continue reading We Consider Human Network Physiology and Medicine – The “Body Electric” – Part Deux

Lateral Thinking in Science – Who Are You?

A photographic montage showing Laura Dern, Benedict Cumberbatch and Lennie James in various cinematic and TV roles as scientists. The caption asks: "What kind of scientist should you be?"What kind of Scientist are you?

Already this article is beginning to sound like one of those sempiternal quizzes you so often get on social media… but it actually shows how science reality connects.  Are you having a scientific identity crisis? Continue reading Lateral Thinking in Science – Who Are You?

On the Evolution of Darwin’s Finches

A close-up photograph of a female Medium Ground Finch from South Plaza Island.Adapt or Die

Finches in the Galápagos Islands are being threatened by a parasitic fly that attacks their young, placing the same species of birds that helped Charles Darwin refine his theory of evolution in danger of extinction.  But the authors of a new study say that human intervention could alleviate the risk. Continue reading On the Evolution of Darwin’s Finches

Just a Second…

A close-up photograph of an analog clock showing the hands just reaching the hour.What Does a Second Look Like?

1/60 minute.  1/3,600 hour.  1/86,400 day.  1/1 hertz.  The duration of 9,192,631,770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of a 133 55Cs caesium isotope corresponds to one second.  But what does it look like?  And where might you find a second? Continue reading Just a Second…

Zeno’s Paradoxes or What Happened When Achilles and the Hare Decided to Outfox the Legendary Tortoise

A drawing showing Greek champion Achilles chasing the hare and the tortoise in a race to the finish, with the legendary tortoise in the lead.Wacky Races

How could the humble Tortoise ever beat legendary Greek champion, Achilles, in a race to the finish?  And what about that time when the champion of the animal kingdom simply ridiculed his next-door neighbour aka the Hare? Continue reading Zeno’s Paradoxes or What Happened When Achilles and the Hare Decided to Outfox the Legendary Tortoise

A Starry Starry Night or The Unexpected Maths in a Van Gogh’s Masterpiece

An image showing Van Gogh's painting "The Starry Night" (1889).Van Gogh’s Starry Night

When Classical Physics and Post-Impressionist artists meet, few results are as hauntingly beautiful or as enchanting as one of Vincent van Gogh’s most famous masterpieces.  The Starry Night embodies the inner, subjective expression of van Gogh’s response to Nature.  And the churning night sky he depicted tells of the artist’s very unique perception of the World around him… Continue reading A Starry Starry Night or The Unexpected Maths in a Van Gogh’s Masterpiece

A Classical Quantum Conundrum – When To Be or Not To Be… a Wave?

An animation showing the formation of the typical wave-particle duality interference pattern.Wav-icles?

Ever since French physicist Louis de Broglie first described the wave-particle duality in 1926, scientists have struggled to come to terms with this strange particularity of our natural World when observed at the quantum level.  Waves can be particles, and particles can be waves.  But are entities waves AND particles all at the same time?

Continue reading A Classical Quantum Conundrum – When To Be or Not To Be… a Wave?

Ebola NOW! The Exponential Growth of a Deadly Outbreak

A photograph showing one of the containment-suited Ebola doctors caring for a yound victim of the illness during the Liberia epidemic in 2014.The Ebola Crisis is Growing Exponentially

“The West Africans are scared” said Ban Ki-moon at a meeting of the United Nations in Washington U.S., discussing the growing threat of Ebola.  And you could feel the sense of urgency as World leaders discussed the Ebola crisis.  Not enough money has been put forward to tackle the disease.  We are late in our response.  And the clock is ticking…   Continue reading Ebola NOW! The Exponential Growth of a Deadly Outbreak

The Perfect Hollandaise Sauce – More Science in the Kitchen…

A photograph showing the classic (and ever so delicious) "There goes my diet" eggs Benedict!Make the Perfect Hollandaise Sauce

Eggs Benedict!  The perfect breakfast item.  Probably.  If both you and I love this indulgent breakfast staple, it’s down to that wonderful creamy and tangy garnish that is really the glue that holds the eggs benedict together.  The perfect Hollandaise sauce… Continue reading The Perfect Hollandaise Sauce – More Science in the Kitchen…

Scotland’s Quiet Revolutions – One Nation with Sovereign Achievements… and a Pure Dead Brilliant Future!

A photograph of the countryside north of Glasgow - sheep grazing. Image: NaturPhilosophieScotland’s Quiet Revolutions

It seems quiet at first, and even dull.  Not much happening…  Dreich, as one might say!  Sad.  Grim.  Bleak.  Not much to do…  Not much to see here…  Just sheep…  But wait!!  Look closer!  Is that Dolly in this field?  Now, that’s interesting!  Oh, Aye, we’re in Scotland!  It changes EVERYTHING…  Continue reading Scotland’s Quiet Revolutions – One Nation with Sovereign Achievements… and a Pure Dead Brilliant Future!

Friends or Fourth Cousins

A photograph of a group of friends hugging each other. Friends or Fourth Cousins.Do your Friends have Similar Genomes?

Do you know who your fourth cousins are?  The chances are you don’t.  But do you know who your friends are?  Of course, you know that much.  But did you ever stop and think why or how your friends are your friends?  Could your friends actually share part of your DNA, to the same extent a distant family member does? 

Continue reading Friends or Fourth Cousins

Satellite of Love – It’s Up, Up and Away for Scotland’s UKube-1

An artist's impression of the new Scotland UKube-1 micro-satellite in orbit around Earth.Scotland’s First Nano-Satellite

Earlier this month, UKube-1, a satellite built by Glasgow-based technology firm Clyde Space, successfully launched on a test flight from Baikonur, Kazakhstan.  It is the first ever spacecraft to be fully assembled in Scotland. Continue reading Satellite of Love – It’s Up, Up and Away for Scotland’s UKube-1

Calculating Entropy – The Energy of Change

A drawing showing a snowflake of Ice melting into molecules of water. From order to disorder, there is only entropy.It’s About Heat and Temperature

What is the difference between heat and temperature?  Heat is thermal energy.  Temperature is a measurement of the average kinetic energy of the particles which compose the matter being tested.  When heat flows into a material, one of two things happen: either the temperature of the material can rise, or there may be a change in its state (such as from ice to liquid, or liquid to vapour). Continue reading Calculating Entropy – The Energy of Change

Colossal Genius: Alan Turing

A black and white portrait of Alan Turing - the man behind the Enigma decryption.60 Years Hence

Today’s the 60th Anniversary of the Death of Alan Turing – a genial mathematician, a cryptographer and one of the pioneers of computer science at Bletchley Park.  He is considered one of the greatest minds of the 20th Century.  Alan Turing‘s life was one of complexity and secret triumphs, overshadowed by a very public tragedy.  Continue reading Colossal Genius: Alan Turing

Up Archimedes! – The Principle of Buoyancy

A photograph showing a huge mass of helium balloons carrying their human payload up into the sunset sky. Image: Jonathan FrappeArchimedes’ Principle and Helium Balloons

Buoyancy is the upward force exerted by a fluid that opposes the weight of an object immersed in a particular substance.  Essentially, this is what Archimedes (c.287 BC – c.212 BC) observed when he stated that:

“Any object, wholly or partially immersed in a fluid, is buoyed up by a force equal to the weight of the fluid displaced by the object.”  Continue reading Up Archimedes! – The Principle of Buoyancy

Winning at Rock-Paper-Scissors… Lizard-Spock!

A picture representing the traditional game of Rock, Paper, Scissors.A Little Game Theory

What is the ultimate strategy for winning at rock-paper-scissors?  According to three physicists in China, the answer does not lie in having absolutely no strategy and ensure that your choice of weapon is completely random, unlike previously thought.  If that strategy seemed obvious, perhaps you haven’t played the game enough to delude yourself into thinking that this might be a winning strategy…  Continue reading Winning at Rock-Paper-Scissors… Lizard-Spock!

Fibonacci’s Golden Spiral – The Relationship between Maths and Nature

A close-up photograph of a cross section through a Nautilus shell showing that the Fibonacci sequence can be found everywhere in Nature.The Language of Nature

They are found everywhere in Nature.  From the leaf arrangement in plants, to the pattern of the petals of a flower, the bracts of a pine cone, or the scales of a pineapple.  The Fibonacci numbers are applicable to the growth of every living thing: a single cell, a grain of wheat, a hive of bees, all of mankind.  From sunflowers to sea shells, the same recurrent mathematical pattern can be observed in Nature, again, and again, and again…  Continue reading Fibonacci’s Golden Spiral – The Relationship between Maths and Nature

Magnetic “Monopole” Observed in Quantum System – The Lowdown on Electromagnetism

A representation of an artificial magnetic monopoles field.On the Trail of the Elusive Magnetic Monopole

Break a magnet into two pieces, and what do you obtain?  What you get, unsurprisingly perhaps, are two new magnets – each one with two sides of opposite polarity.  You don’t get a north half and a south half.  Back to square one, it seems…  Continue reading Magnetic “Monopole” Observed in Quantum System – The Lowdown on Electromagnetism

Euler’s Equation: A Thing of Great Beauty

A picture showing the equation for Euler's Identity: e^{i Pi} + 1 = 0.Euler’s Identity

Please take a moment to enjoy this thing of great beauty…  Simple to look at.  Yet incredibly profound.  Does it get any better than this?  Continue reading Euler’s Equation: A Thing of Great Beauty

http://www.roboearth.org/ – The Matrix is Everywhere…

A photograph showing an old-fashioned computer screen showing a lot of data in green font type on the black screen background and the words "The Matrix has you..." is displayed in the centre.What is RoboEarth?

A world wide web for robots to learn from each other and share information is being unveiled for the first time.  The eventual aim of the system is that both robots and humans will be able to upload information to the cloud-based database, which would act as a kind of common brain for machines.  Continue reading http://www.roboearth.org/ – The Matrix is Everywhere…

CSI Scotland: Murder by the Loch – Studying the Forensics…

A colour drawing of Ross Priory - an early 19th-century country house, located west of Gartocharn, West Dunbartonshire, on the south shore of Loch Lomond, Scotland. The scene of the crime? Forensic science and murder meet by the Loch.Can you Solve the Murder by the Loch?

Well, you can try…  I love a gothic mystery, don’t you?  😉

You have six weeks to do it – and a staged murder at Strathclyde University’s Ross Priory house – using the techniques of forensic science.  Starting NOW.  Continue reading CSI Scotland: Murder by the Loch – Studying the Forensics…

Amazing Grace Hopper

A black and white photograph of a young Grace Hopper.21st Century Women in Physics and Sciences

At a time when the United Kingdom’s Education System is being put on the spot for encouraging the enduring gender bias in subjects being taught at school, Google celebrates the 107 year-old birthday of Grace Murray Hopper in classic Google Doodlestyle.  That is, Dr Grace Hopper.  Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper.  “Amazing Grace” Hopper.  Continue reading Amazing Grace Hopper

Strings + A Capella = “Bohemian Gravity”?

Bohemian Gravity: "Any way you quantize, you encounter infinity."Describing The World Dynamics So Far

According to the current understanding of Physics, there is as yet no uniform field theory.  No all-encompassing well-rounded theory that would enable all the known fundamental forces and elementary particles to fit neatly into one simple model, and to be expressed in terms of a single field.

And since there is no accepted unified field theory, it remains an open line of research.  Canadian graduate student Timothy Blais decided to explore the idea and promote his findings in a way that really rocks…  ♫  Continue reading Strings + A Capella = “Bohemian Gravity”?

The Art and Science of Music Acoustics – From the Humble Flute to the Mighty Didgeridoo (Featuring Tarzan…)

A photograph featuring an aboriginal didgeridoo player sitting on the beach with his instrument.Fundamentals of Music Acoustics

Any signal that may be represented as an amplitude varying over time has a corresponding frequency spectrum.  This applies to concepts (and natural phenomena) that most human beings encounter daily, without giving them a second thought.  Such as visible light (and colour perception), radio/TV channels, wireless communications…  Even the regular rotation of the Earth.  Even the sound of music… Continue reading The Art and Science of Music Acoustics – From the Humble Flute to the Mighty Didgeridoo (Featuring Tarzan…)