Mathematics Research News

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A collection of press releases about mathematics research conducted by Penn State scientists.
Nova-like explosion of spinning live bacteria explained
06 April 2018Suspensions of live bacteria in a viscous liquid do not act as expected when spun at certain speeds and now a team of researchers knows why the bacterial aggregation appears to explode when the spinning stops.
Mathematical model mimics melanoma
30 November 2017Cancer cells’ ability to tolerate crowded conditions may be one key to understanding tumor growth and formation, according to a mathematical model that has been applied to cancer cell growth for the first time.
Flexible flagella fight flow: Bacteria change a liquid’s properties and escape entrapment
27 June 2017A flexible tail allows swimming bacteria to thin the surrounding liquid and to free themselves when trapped along walls or obstacles, according to Penn State researchers. This finding could influence how bacterial growth is controlled.
An ecological invasion mimics a drunken walk
11 January 2017A theory that uses the mathematics of a drunken walk describes ecological invasions better than waves, according to Tim Reluga, associate professor of mathematics and biology, Penn State.
New mathematical method reveals structure in neural activity in the brain
19 October 2015A newly-developed mathematical method can detect geometric structure in neural activity in the brain. "Previously, in order to understand this structure, scientists needed to relate neural activity to some specific external stimulus," said Vladimir Itskov, associate professor of mathematics at Penn State University. "Our method is the first to be able to reveal this structure without our knowing an external stimulus ahead of time. We've now shown that our new method will allow us to explore the organizational structure of neurons without knowing their function in advance."
Mathematical approach provides a new step in resolving the mystery of glass
16 January 2015An interdisciplinary team of mathematicians and physicists has developed a new quantitative approach to understanding the mysterious properties of the materials called glasses. The study is described in a paper in the Nature Publishing Group journal Scientific Reports on January 16, 2015. The research, led by Leonid Berlyand, professor of mathematics at Penn State University and Valerii Vinokur, Argonne Distinguished Fellow in the Materials Science Division of the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois, enables a breakthrough in the description of the subclass of glasses, known as a “Coulomb glass,” and has wide-ranging application to understanding a variety of glassy systems in nature.
Turning Up the Voltage Stops Opposites from Attracting, Study Finds
16 September 2009Whether gazing into lava lamps or watching balsamic vinegar mix with olive oil, people have long been transfixed by the seemingly mystical way that droplets of one liquid find each other within another liquid and join together. Conventional scientific wisdom has held that this merging of liquid droplets, a process called coalescence, is enhanced by applying an electrical field. But a new study, which will be published in the 17 September 2009 issue of the journal Nature, shows that an increased electrical field actually can prevent droplets from merging.
Select Group of High-School Students Learns Science, Math at Penn State and Presents Research at Public Event
17 July 2008  
How to Rip and Tear a Fluid
01 June 2007  
New Sculpture Looks Beyond Three Dimensions
13 October 2005Open House and Dedication of Unique Sculpture to be Hosted by Department of Mathematics on 21 October
Penn State Gets Grant for Math Research and Education
21 October 1998  

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