By Michael Greshko, Inside Science – Mathematics that can describe coffeepots, forest fires and flu outbreaks may also underpin the brain’s response to anesthesia, a new study suggests.

The mathematical model of the brain, published in Physical Review Letters, marks the latest attempt to simulate the surprisingly complicated effects of general anesthetics across the brain.

Following one of the largest-scale scientific reproducibility investigations to date, a group of psychology researchers has reported results from an effort to replicate 100 recently published psychology studies; though they were able to successfully repeat the original experiments in most all cases, they were able to reproduce the original results in less than half, they report.

Sepsis kills more Americans every year than AIDS, breast cancer and prostate cancer combined but it gets far less attention. Unlike those other diseases, hours can make the difference between life and death in sepsis.

Weyl points, the 3D analogues of the structures that make graphene exceptional, were theoretically predicted in 1929. Today, an international team of Physicists from MIT and Zhejiang University, found them in photonic crystals, opening a new dimension in photonics.

I’ve come to believe that mathematics, as an investigative science, as a practical discipline and as a creative art, shares many characteristics with cookery.

It’s not just spaghetti alla carbonara, it’s the whole business of inventing dishes and preparing them. It’s an analogy with many parts, and it has consequences.

To introduce myself: I’m a professional mathematician, an amateur cook and an enthusiastic eater. The ideas in this essay are distilled from years of formal reasoning, mad culinary experiments and adventurous meals. In short, I’ve found that:

  1. I do mathematics for much the same reasons that I cook.

Comparing the genomes of different species — or different members of the same species — is the basis of a great deal of modern biology because DNA sequences conserved across species are likely to be functionally important, while variations between members of the same species can indicate different susceptibilities to disease.
Mathematical biologist Dr. Jamie Wood wanted to know how birds collectively negotiate man-made obstacles such as wind turbines which lie in their flight paths and that led to a research project with colleagues in the Departments of Biology and Mathematics at York and scientists at the Animal and Plant Health Agency which found that the social structure of groups of migratory birds may have a significant effect on their vulnerability to avoid collisions with obstacles, particularly wind turbines.

The researchers created a range of computer simulations to explore if social hierarchies are beneficial to navigation, and how collision risk is affected by environmental conditions and the birds’ desire to maintain an efficient direct flight path.
There are those who believed that B.B. King wasn’t the world’s greatest guitar player, including the man himself. In a recent interview he said:

I call myself a blues singer, but you ain’t never heard me call myself a blues guitar man. Well, that’s because there’s been so many can do it better'n I can, play the blues better'n me.

And his musical vocabulary was limited. King once told Bono: “I’m no good with chords, so what we do is, uh, get somebody else to play chords… I’m horrible with chords”. He even claimed that he couldn’t play and sing at the same time.

When ants go exploring in search of food they end up choosing collective routes that fit statistical distributions of probability, according to a team of mathematicians who analyzed the trails of a species of Argentine ant. 

It's unknown how flocks of birds, shoals of fish, lines of ants and other complex natural systems organize themselves so well when moving collectively so researchers from Spain and the U.S. analyzed the movements of Argentine ants (Linepithema humile, an invasive species in many parts of the world) while they forage or explore an empty space (a petri dish) and then they proposed a model explaining how they form their routes.

It took human culture millennia to arrive at a mathematical formulation of non-Euclidean spaces - but that was not because of a limitation of our brains. 

Instead, it's likely that even the brains of rodents get there very naturally every day.