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Stanford University Student Attempts to Reconstruct History of Geometry Diagrams

Lee traced the changes in diagrams over the course of human history

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Geometry Diagrams
Various Geometry Solids. Pixabay
  • New approach to this study made by Eunsoo Lee who is a PhD student in Classics at Stanford University
  • Lee was confused by the blind spot in the study of Elements which changed drastically over time after multiple copies and translations
  • His professor considered his project as unique and groundbreaking in the field of classics

June 26, 2017: Geometry diagrams and patterns have been with us for a very long time. Whether we liked it or not, we all had to make diagrams and read geometry books when we were in school. Now, researchers are trying to understand the geometric patterns through examinations of texts and writing which is also known as philology.

There is a new approach to this study made by Eunsoo Lee who is a PhD student in Classics at Stanford University by tracing the changes and variations in diagrams over the course of human history.

Lee examined the changes in diagrams used in a collection of 13 books on mathematical and geometry concepts called Elements, written by Euclid, an ancient Greek mathematician.

Lee first got to know about Elements during his mathematics undergraduate degree at Seoul National University. He said, “I was fascinated by its simple logic and structure.”

Reviel Netz, professor of classics said, “Until recently, no one has really examined the visual side of ancient science, you would try to recover the words that people said but you didn’t try to recover the visual impact, the images.”

Lee was confused by the blind spot in the study of Elements which changed drastically over time after multiple copies and translations. This became the basis of Lee’s project, which his professor considered as unique and groundbreaking in the field of classics.

Netz Said, “We’ve come to realise just how central images are to scientific thinking. You do one kind of science when you assume that diagrams are precise pictures, and you do a different kind of science when diagrams are assumed to be just rough sketches.”

Prepared by Sumit Balodi of NewsGram. Twitter: @sumit_balodi

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Stanford Study Ranks India among the Laziest People in the World

A recent study by a group of researchers at Stanford have revealed that Indians are among the laziest people in the world

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Laziest People
Indians average just 4,297 steps a day. Wikimedia
  • A Stanford study has ranked India 39 in the world for the laziest people 
  • China, and particularly Hong Kong, has the most active people
  • The research also found out that Indian women walk even less than men

July 17, 2017: Researchers at Stanford University carried out a study on 46 countries to find out the levels of laziness. In its finding, Indians ranked 39 and thus among the laziest people.

Indian people average only about 4,297 steps a day. It was also observed that women in India walk much less than men. While men registered an average of 4,606 steps daily, women averaged 3,684 steps.

The world average is 4,961 steps. The Americans stood at an average of 4,77,4 steps daily.

ALSO READ: Cosmetic Industry is Booming: Thanks to Young Indians!

The most active people, according to the research, are the Chinese and mainly the ones in Hong Kong. Other notably active people are from Ukraine and Japan. The people in these countries walk more than 6,000 steps daily, mentioned ANI report.

With a daily average of just 3,513 steps, the Indonesians ranked as the laziest people in the world. Other laziest countries include Malaysia and Saudi Arabia. These countries have an average of fewer than 3,900 steps.

The researchers at Stanford University installed step-counters in smartphones and used that information for the research. 700,000 people from 46 different countries were part of the research, which has been published in the journal called Nature.

– Prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394

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Maryam Mirzakhani : The First Woman to Win Fields Medal in Mathematics Equivalent of Nobel Prize Dies

Maryam Mirzakhani died of breast cancer at the age of 40

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Stanford University professor Maryam Mirzakhani received the Fields Medal, the top honor in mathematics, in 2014. Source: (VOA)
  • Maryam Mirzakhani was the only woman to win mathematics equivalent of Nobel Prize
  • She died on Saturday as she was battling breast cancer
  • She was born in Iran and joined Stanford University in 2008 as a mathematics professor

Maryam Mirzakhani, a Stanford University professor who was the first and only woman to win the prestigious Fields Medal in mathematics, has died. She was 40.

Mirzakhani, who battled breast cancer, died Saturday, the university announced. It did not indicate where she died.

In 2014, Mirzakhani was one of four winners of the Fields Medal, which is presented every four years and is considered the mathematics equivalent of the Nobel Prize. She was named for her work on complex geometry and dynamic systems.

Also read: A Look Back In History: Contribution of Indian Mathematicians in the field of Mathematics

“Mirzakhani specialized in theoretical mathematics that read like a foreign language by those outside of mathematics: moduli spaces, Teichmüller theory, hyperbolic geometry, Ergodic theory and symplectic geometry,” according to the Stanford press announcement. “Mastering these approaches allowed Mirzakhani to pursue her fascination for describing the geometric and dynamic complexities of curved surfaces — spheres, doughnut shapes and even amoebas — in as great detail as possible.”

The work had implications in fields ranging from cryptography to “the theoretical physics of how the universe came to exist,” the university said.

Mirzakhani was born in Tehran, Iran, and studied there and at Harvard University. She joined Stanford as a mathematics professor in 2008.

‘Heart-rending’ loss

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani issued a statement Saturday praising Mirzakhani. “The grievous passing of Maryam Mirzakhani, the eminent Iranian and world-renowned mathematician, is very much heart-rending,” Rouhani said in a message that was reported by the Tehran Times.

Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said her death pained all Iranians, the Tehran Times reported.

“The news of young Iranian genius and math professor Maryam Mirzakhani’s passing has brought a deep pang of sorrow to me and all Iranians who are proud of their eminent and distinguished scientists,” Zarif posted in Farsi on his Instagram account. “I do offer my heartfelt condolences upon the passing of this lady scientist to all Iranians worldwide, her grieving family and the scientific community.”

Mirzakhani originally dreamed of becoming a writer but then shifted to mathematics.

When she was working, Mirzakhani would doodle on sheets of paper and scribble formulas on the edges of her drawings, leading her daughter to describe the work as painting, according to the Stanford statement.

Mirzakhani once described her work as “like being lost in a jungle and trying to use all the knowledge that you can gather to come up with some new tricks, and with some luck, you might find a way out.”

Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne called Mirzakhani a brilliant theorist who made enduring contributions and inspired thousands of women to pursue math and science.

Mirzakhani is survived by her husband, Jan Vondrák, and daughter, Anahita. (VOA)

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Software Tool designed to reduce risk of triggering man-made Earthquakes

The software, known as Fault Slip Potential (FSP), will be available for free starting March 2

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2010 Earthquake in Chile, Wikimedia

Feb 28, 2017: Two researchers at Stanford University have developed a software tool designed to reduce the risk of triggering man-made earthquakes where oil and gas production activities may trigger slip in nearby faults.

The software, known as Fault Slip Potential (FSP), will be available for free starting March 2, Xinhua news agency reported.

Acknowledging that “faults are everywhere in the Earth’s crust, so you can’t avoid them,” said Mark Zoback, professor of geophysics at Stanford’s School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences, who worked with his graduate student Rall Walsh on the project.

“Fortunately, the majority of them are not active and pose no hazard to the public. The trick is to identify which faults are likely to be problematic, and that’s what our tool does,” Zoback added.

Oil and gas operations can generate significant quantities of “produced water,” or brackish water that needs to be disposed of through deep injection to protect drinking water.

Energy companies also dispose of water that flows back after hydraulic fracturing in the same way.

This process can increase pore pressure, namely the pressure of groundwater trapped within the tiny spaces inside rocks in the subsurface, which in turn increases the pressure on nearby faults, causing them to slip and release seismic energy in the form of earthquakes.

The FSP tool uses three key pieces of information to help determine the probability of a fault being pushed to slip: the first is how much wastewater injection will increase pore pressure at a site; the second is knowledge of the stresses acting in the earth; the third is knowledge of pre-existing faults in the area.

Zoback and Walsh have started testing their FSP tool in Oklahoma, of mid-western US, which has experienced a sharp rise in the number of earthquakes since 2009, due largely to wastewater injection operations.

Their analysis suggests that some wastewater injection wells in Oklahoma were unwittingly placed near stressed faults already primed to slip.

The researchers believe regulators could use the tool to identify areas where proposed injection activities could prove problematic so that enhanced monitoring efforts can be implemented.

“Our tool provides a quantitative probabilistic approach for identifying at-risk faults so that they can be avoided,” Walsh was quoted as saying in a news release on Monday. (IANS)