It’s probably in your inbox already – the invitation to join your teenage nephew’s March Madness bracket challenge. Favorite methods for picking winning teams abound – some people pick by uniform color, some by geography, some by which mascot could devour the other.
If your preferred method is statistics, however, University of Utah senior Sean Sloan can help. Sloan is a mathematics major by day, but by night, or at least any night that the Utah Jazz play at home, he’s a basketball operations intern at Vivint Smart Home Arena. As a part of the Jazz’ analytics team, Sloan helps track players’ movements during games using a camera network above the arena, which helps calculate player statistics for each game. Front office and coaching staff then use the statistics to assess areas of weakness and strength, both for individual players and for the team as a whole.
Picture a mathematician. Is it a man with wild hair scribbling incomprehensible symbols on a blackboard? Is it someone like Charlie Eppes from “NUMB3RS,” prone to episodes of preternatural clairvoyance filled with floating equations and sudden flashes of critical insight? Whoever it is, does the thought of complex math fill you with dread?
If so, six graduate students in mathematics would like to change your mind.
On Saturday, March 11, the students will present a program titled “Math Medley: A Taste of Modern Research” at the Leonardo museum in Salt Lake City from 2-4 p.m. Admission to the event and the museum’s daylong Puzzles & Pi Jubilee, is included in regular museum admission. For 10 minutes each, the students will talk about their math research, followed by a Q&A session with the audience. The topics include guiding unmanned vehicles, the randomness in cell processes and imagining an alternate universe. (See complete list of speakers and topics below)
University of Utah mathematicians propose a theoretical framework to understand how waves and other disturbances move through materials in conditions that vary in both space and time. The theory, called “field patterns,” published today in Proceedings of the Royal Society A.
Field patterns are characteristic patterns of how disturbances react to changing conditions. Because field patterns exhibit characteristics of both propagating waves and localized particles, field pattern theory may answer some of the questions posed by quantum mechanics, in which objects can be treated as both particles and waves. First author Graeme Milton further posits that field patterns could describe the natures of the fundamental components of matter in the universe.
Michael Zhao, Salt Lake City native and senior in mathematics pursuing an honors degree at the University of Utah, has received the prestigious Churchill Scholarship to study at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. Zhao becomes one of only 15 students nationally to receive this award and is the second Churchill Scholar for the U.
When spring comes to the Arctic, the breakup of the cold winter ice sheets starts at the surface with the formation of melt ponds. These pools of melted snow and ice darken the surface of the ice, increasing the amount of solar energy the ice sheet absorbs and accelerating melt. A team including University of Utah mathematician Kenneth Golden has determined how these melt ponds form, solving a paradoxical mystery of how a pool of water actually sits atop highly porous ice. Their results are published in Journal of Geophysical Research – Oceans.
Nicholas Gibbs, BS’82, Mathematics, grew up close to the U. His family’s home was just two blocks north of campus, and summer days were spent riding bicycles between classroom buildings and construction sites that would later be University landmarks.
The common cold is an unwelcome yet familiar visitor this time of year. But how much do we really know about it? The term “common cold” is actually a catch-all for several different families of viruses that give us cold-like symptoms. The most common type is a small RNA virus called a rhinovirus, made up of just 10 genes. Researchers think it most likely originated as an enterovirus, a virus most commonly found in the low pH environment of the human gut, that mutated and developed an affinity for the comfy moist confines of the nose and throat.
Kudos to Kelly MacArthur for being awarded a Professors Off Campus grant for the year 2014-2015. This was awarded by the Tanner Humanities Center, and is used to link the University and community by encouraging scholars to go “on site” into the community and develop research and service projects in schools, churches, government offices and public interest groups.