Mathematics - General News

Maths in a minute: Statistical mechanics

 Mathematics - General News
 12 January 2022
When you put your hand in the fire you'll get burnt, and when you put it in the snow your fingers will get cold. Temperature is something our bodies can easily sense, and it's a very important phenomenon in the physical world. But what exactly is temperature? Why is ice cold? Statistical mechanics...

Understanding waning immunity

 Mathematics - General News
 10 January 2022
Marianne FreibergerThe Spanish flu pandemic came to an end because people who caught the disease (and didn't die) acquired long-lasting immunity. The pandemic killed tens of millions of people between 1918 and 1920. After an estimated 500 million people around the world had become infected there...

Maths in a minute: The normal distribution

 Mathematics - General News
 07 January 2022
What's the chance that a random woman you meet on the street is exactly 170cm tall? The question seems impossible to answer, but luckily maths can help. It tells us that the heights of people follow a probability distribution known as the normal distribution (also sometimes called a Gaussian...

What are probability distributions?

 Mathematics - General News
 07 January 2022
Probability distributions turn up in all areas of science (and in many Plus articles) so we've decided to have a closer look at them. The short explainers below explore what a probability distribution actually is, visit some of the most commonly used distributions, and a few important concepts in...

Maths in a minute: The gamma distribution

 Mathematics - General News
 07 January 2022
Suppose that during a given time period an event happens on average times. For example, you might know that on average you'll see three new posts on your social media feed per minute. This doesn't mean that the event will occur at regular intervals: seeing three posts a minute on average doesn't...

Maths in a minute: Probability distributions

 Mathematics - General News
 07 January 2022
Probability distributions describe processes that can have more than one outcome which you can't be sure about in advance. An example is rolling a die. There are six possible outcomes, namely the numbers 1 up to 6. As long as the die is fair, these are all equally likely to happen — you're just as...

Maths in a minute: The exponential distribution

 Mathematics - General News
 07 January 2022
Suppose that during a given time period an event happens on average times. For example, you might know that on average you'll see three new posts on your social media feed per minute. This doesn't mean that the event will occur at regular intervals: seeing three posts a minute on average doesn't...

Maths in a minute: The Poisson distribution

 Mathematics - General News
 07 January 2022
Suppose that during a given time period an event happens on average times. For example, you might know that on average you'll see three new posts on your social media feed per minute. This doesn't mean that the event will occur exactly times during every such time period: sometimes you might see...

Maths in a minute: The binomial distribution

 Mathematics - General News
 07 January 2022
In our brief introduction to probability distributions we talked about rolling dice, so let's stick with that example. Imagine I roll a die three times and each time you try and guess what the outcome will be. What's the probability of you guessing exactly k rolls right, where k is 0, 1, 2 or 3? ...

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