Math can be deeply complex and elegant. It can explain how the planets move through space and how the particles that make up the universe interact.And while honeybees can't yet write out Einstein's general theory of relativity, new evidence suggests the clever little pollinators can perform simple addition and subtraction after a few math classes.Published in Science Advances on Feb. 6, a team of researchers from Australia and France have shown that bees can perform simple arithmetic, adding and subtracting small numbers by studying colour-coded shapes."Our study provides an important building block for understanding how brains can evolve an ability to do maths," says Adrian Dyer, a co-author on the study from RMIT University.To test the buzzers' ability to perform arithmetic, the team used a three-chambered maze shaped like a Y, training bees to enter through a hole into a small chamber where they would see their first stimulus: blue or yellow shapes on a plain, grey background. The … [Read more...] about Bees can solve math problems with addition and subtraction now
Solving math problems
Bees don't just buzz around and make honey; they also do math problems in their free time that would stump the average 4-year-old. Last year, a group of researchers in Australia reported that bees understand the concept of "zero." Now, a new study by the same group suggests that the insects can also do basic addition and subtraction. The team reported its findings today (Feb. 6) in the journal Science Advances. A couple of decades ago, scientists thought that such higher-level processing was limited to human and some other primate brains. But then, researchers looked a bit closer, finding that dolphins could understand what zero meant and that Alex the parrot (and even some spiders) could do basic arithmetic. The findings called into question the "position that there's something special about the human brain," said the new study's senior author, Adrian Dyer, an associate professor at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. [The 5 Smartest Non-Primates … [Read more...] about Bees Can Solve Math Problems That Would Stump the Average Toddler
Long before robots could run or cars could drive themselves, mathematicians contemplated a simple mathematical question. They figured it out, then laid it to rest—with no way of knowing that the object of their mathematical curiosity would feature in machines of the far-off future. Quanta Magazine About Original story reprinted with permission from Quanta Magazine, an editorially independent publication of the Simons Foundation whose mission is to enhance public understanding of science by covering research developments and trends in mathematics and the physical and life sciences. The future is now here. As a result of new work by Amir Ali Ahmadi and Anirudha Majumdar of Princeton University, a classical problem from pure mathematics is poised to provide iron-clad proof that drone aircraft and autonomous cars won’t crash into trees or veer into oncoming traffic. “You get a complete 100-percent-provable guarantee that your system” will be collision-avoidant, … [Read more...] about A Classical Math Problem Gets Pulled Into Self-Driving Cars
In 1950 Edward Nelson, then a student at the University of Chicago, asked the kind of deceptively simple question that can give mathematicians fits for decades. Imagine, he said, a graph—a collection of points connected by lines. Ensure that all of the lines are exactly the same length, and that everything lies on the plane. Now color all the points, ensuring that no two connected points have the same color. Nelson asked: What is the smallest number of colors that you’d need to color any such graph, even one formed by linking an infinite number of vertices? Quanta Magazine About Original story reprinted with permission from Quanta Magazine, an editorially independent publication of the Simons Foundation whose mission is to enhance public understanding of science by covering research developments and trends in mathematics and the physical and life sciences. The problem, now known as the Hadwiger-Nelson problem or the problem of finding the chromatic number of the plane, … [Read more...] about An Anti-Aging Pundit Solves a Decades-Old Math Problem
Everyone knows I like to analyze the trailers of upcoming movies—in particular, movies that I'm excited about. In this case, it's Incredibles 2. I have high hopes for this one since the first Incredibles was really great. In the trailer, we see Mr. Incredible doing his job—helping out with math homework (that's one of the things dads do). Here is how that goes down. Dash: "That's not the way you're supposed to do it, dad. They want us to do it this way." Mr. Incredible: "I don't know that way—why would they change math? Math is math. Math is math!" This is what makes a great movie. There are probably quite a few parents that can relate to this. But who is right? Is math math? Or are you supposed to do it some other way? How about an example? Solve the following: Timmy has 2,314 pieces of candy that he want to share between among his group of 8 friends. How many pieces of candy does each friend get? Yes, I think that's a silly question—but I also think that … [Read more...] about Asks: What’s the Right Way to Solve a Math Problem?