The most frequently quoted example of the crowd wisdom phenomenon comes from a 1987 study in which researchers asked 56 students to estimate the number of jelly beans in a jar. The average of the gues…

##### Mesmerizing Fractals

Introduction Do you ever wonder what mathematicians study—and why? Most of what they do is complex and difficult to understand, but fractal art might give us a glimpse. Mathematicians study frac…

##### U.S. Mental Health Chief: Psychiatry Must Get Serious about Mathematics

What do you plan to achieve in your first year in office? I won’t be doing anything radical. I am just going to listen to and learn from all the stakeholders—the scientific community, the …

##### U.S. Students Improve in Science–but Just Barely

“I am encouraged that we see some progress in grades four and eight—it’s not dramatic but it is significant,” says David Evans, executive director of the National Science…

##### The Mathematics of Cake Cutting

Two young computer scientists have figured out how to fairly divide cake among any number of people, setting to rest a problem mathematicians have struggled with for decades. Their work has startled m…

##### Crack the Code! Make a Caesar Cipher

Introduction If you need to send a secret message to a friend, how could you prevent other people from reading it? One way is to encrypt the message—that is, use a secret code that only you and …

##### New Take on an Ancient Method Improves Way to Find Prime Numbers

But Helfgott, 38, went even farther back in time and conceived an improved version of the sieve of Eratosthenes, a popular method for finding prime numbers that was formulated circa 240 B.C. Helfgott&…

##### The Kilogram’s Makeover Is Almost Complete

This is a serious problem for modern science, given that many technologies depend on an accurate measurement of the kilogram, says Stephan Schlamminger, a physicist at the National Institute of Standa…

##### What Does Half-Life Mean?

So, what is a half-life? What’s the math behind it? And what does it have to do with the amount of caffeine left in your body at the end of the day … and even with calculating the ages of …