Science & Technology Almanac

By Lynn Lauerman | Go to book overview

DISCIPLINE BY DISCIPLINE:


Mathematics

MATHEMATICS: NEWS

ABEL PRIZE

New Prize in Mathematics

Norway recently announced the creation of the Abel Prize, an annual, international award in the field of mathematics. The first Abel Prize will be given in the year 2003. Made possible by a $22 million government endowment, the prize rivals the prestige of a Nobel prize (there is no Nobel prize for mathematics).

The new prize was established in memory of famed Norwegian mathematician Niels Henrik Abel, who died in 1829 at the age of 26. Despite his short life of poverty he earned the enduring respect of fellow mathematicians, and before his death he published proof of the insolvable nature of fifth-degree algebraic equations known as quintics.

The goal of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters in awarding the Abel Prize is to increase awareness of the importance of mathematics in all areas of science. Until now, the only comparable award has been the Fields Medal, which is bestowed every four years and is restricted to mathematicians under the age of 40.


KNOT THEORY

Knot Theory News

Mathematicians recently gained new insights into certain aspects of knot theory. In the February 2001 issue of the Journal of the American Mathematical Society, mathematicians Joel Mass of the University of California-Davis, and Jeffrey Lagarias of AT&T Labs-Research in Florham Park, New Jersey, announced a formula for the upper limit of the number n of special manipulations, known as Reidemeister moves, that are required to undo a tangle. Although the number is huge, 2100,000,000,000n, which limits its practical use, the discovery that an upper boundary even exists is considered a significant milestone.

In mathematics, knots are studied as theoretical closed curves in space, as opposed to the familiar knots with trailing ends that we see in common use. Knot theorists define the unknot, also known as the trivial knot, as a tangle with no crossings that cannot be undone without severing the closed loop. Thus, a circle and a figure eight are unknots, as is the magician’s seemingly knotted rope that simply shakes out with a single tug. The upper boundary formula as described by Hass and Lagarias applies to the unknot.

In a separate observation, published in the October 2001 issue of the European Physical Journal, Polish physicists reported their computer analysis of a knot’s writhe, a measure of how a knot twists upon itself. They discovered that, so far, these plotted values follow principles of quantum theory. That is, their results fell into discrete groupings, reminiscent of electrons moving around an atom’s nucleus. This has led some to suggest a relationship to superstring theory, which proposes that all matter is composed of time-space loops that are coiled upon themselves into strings.

Knot theorists continue to ponder the implications of these ongoing discoveries about knots and the properties that govern them. A better understanding of how knots work is already helping scientists to probe the way that some viruses interrupt coils of DNA, and is providing new insights for physicists in their quest to understand the structure of universe.


MATH ANXIETY

Fear of Math Lowers Performance

A study, published in the June 2001 issue of the Journal of Experimental Psychology, suggests that math anxiety

-203-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Science & Technology Almanac
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 514

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.