Will an old problem yield a new insight? Perhaps an elegant proof of the 4-colour theorem?

The 4-colour problem is one of the most famous mathematical problems. It resisted proof for more than a hundred years before finally succumbing; in the end, there was a valid proof, but one that relied on more than a thousand hours of computer time. Jim Tilley’s research suggests that a dramatic simplification might ultimately be possible. He has discovered a […]

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Sustainable water purification using biomass

Nanoscale cellulose materials obtained from the chemical treatment of biomass are very effective agents for the removal of toxic species from water, including heavy metal ions. Professor Benjamin S. Hsiao and his collaborators at Stony Brook University have developed a simple, inexpensive and environmentally friendly approach to preparing nanostructured cellulose for water purification, based on a nitro-oxidation reaction carried out […]

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Generalising the entropy formula through master equations

Entropy is one of the most important and most widely studied quantities in physics, and for centuries, its value has been robustly described using simple mathematical relationships. Yet however elegant, Tamás Biró at the Hungarian Academy of Science believes the formula is hiding a more complex array of relationships. Through constructing ‘master equations’ to describe these relationships, Biró and his colleagues […]

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NMR2: A highly accurate approach to protein-ligand binding

A novel method to determine accurately and efficiently the structure of the receptor binding sites in protein-ligand complexes promises to revolutionize drug discovery. Dr Julien Orts and his collaborators at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology are developing a powerful and general technique, based on liquid nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), to shed light on the details of how proteins interact […]

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Laser ablation in liquid: A powerful route to new nanoparticle catalysts

Dr Katharine Tibbetts (Virginia Commonwealth University) has been developing a novel approach for the synthesis of metal nanoparticles, based on a reactive laser ablation in liquid technique. She uses ultra-short laser pulses to ionise water molecules and generate a highly energetic plasma of electrons capable of reducing soluble metal ions to neutral atoms, which then coalesce to generate a nanoparticle […]

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Evaluating students’ perceptions of the roles of mathematics in society

Mathematical models Toshikazu Ikeda Research Outreach

Toshikazu Ikeda, Professor of Mathematics Education at Yokohama National University, has found that while mathematical modelling is often evaluated with respect to mathematical attributes, little academic consideration has been given to the non-mathematical viewpoint. To fill this knowledge void, he has developed an analytical tool to evaluate the changes in students’ perceptions of the roles of mathematics in society following […]

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Setting new horizons in electroplating of zinc die castings

zinc die casting Valeriia Reveko

Our supply of zinc, a metal abundant in our planet’s crust, could run out by 2100 unless we begin to change the way we use it. Collini Holding AG creates a step change in uncovering and addressing the core causes of common faults of plating on zinc die cast by investigating this material and the ways of it surface finishing […]

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Technological leapfrogging the global energy crisis: How can changing the role of science in developing countries help with an oncoming climate catastrophe?

In 1975, the Brazilian government launched the National Alcohol Program (NAP) with the sole aim of relieving the country’s crushing dependence on fossil fuels with a move to cleaner ethyl-alcohol based fuels – and, thanks to researchers like Professor José Goldemberg, of the University of São Paulo, the program was an overwhelming success. Combining the country’s own natural resources with technological leapfrogging – […]

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Opinion dynamics and consensus in social networks

Denis Fedyanin and Alexander Chkhartishvili are researchers at the V.A. Trapeznikov Institute of Control Sciences of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow. They use statistical modelling of social network structures to simulate opinion dynamics and decision making. Their recent work focuses on a consensus analysis of complex social network structures. The development of online social networks together with their influence on […]

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