RIP Sir Michael Atiyah

Rest in peace, Sir Michael Atiyah. Many scientists have called Atiyah the best mathematician in Britain since Isaac Newton.

Read also our previous posts:

Source: New York Times

Michael Atiyah, a British mathematician who united mathematics and physics during the 1960s in a way not seen since the days of Isaac Newton, died on Friday. He was 89.

The Royal Society in London, of which he was president in the 1990s, confirmed the death but gave no details. Dr. Atiyah, who was retired, had been an honorary professor in the School of Mathematics at the University of Edinburgh.

Dr. Atiyah, who spent many years at Oxford and Cambridge universities, revealed an unforeseen connection between mathematics and physics through a theorem he proved in collaboration with Isadore Singer, one of the most important mathematicians of the last half of the 20th century.

His work with Dr. Singer, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, led to the flowering of string theory and gauge theory as ways to understand the structure and dynamics of the universe, and has provided powerful tools for both mathematicians and theoretical physicists.

Indian Scientist: Albert Einstein was wrong and that gravitational waves should be renamed “Narendra Modi Waves”

Source: BBC

According to BBC World News,

Some academics at the annual Indian Science Congress dismissed the findings of Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein.

Hindu mythology and religion-based theories have increasingly become part of the Indian Science Congress agenda.

But experts said remarks at this year’s summit were especially ludicrous.

The 106th Indian Science Congress, which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, runs from 3-7 January.

The head of a southern Indian university cited an old Hindu text as proof that stem cell research was discovered in India thousands of years ago.

G Nageshwar Rao, vice chancellor of Andhra University, also said a demon king from the Hindu religious epic, Ramayana, had 24 types of aircraft and a network of landing strips in modern day Sri Lanka.

Another scientist from a university in the southern state of Tamil Nadu told conference attendees that Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein were both wrong and that gravitational waves should be renamed “Narendra Modi Waves”.

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Christmas Present for Gifted Kids

This microscope set will be ideal for gifted children who are interested in biology, or science in general. Learning about the microscope is the first step towards the study of life sciences/medicine/biological sciences.

This set is made and endorsed by National Geographic, a popular science magazine in the US.

National Geographic Dual LED Student Microscope – 50+ Pc Science Kit Includes Set of 10 Prepared Biological & 10 Blank Slides, Lab Shrimp Experiment, 10X-25X Optical Glass Lenses & More! (Silver)

See also: Recommended Educational Toys

Free Entry into Science Centre (In Conversation with … John Edmark)

Students interested in the fusion of math, science and art may be interested to attend this wonderful event. Note: Pre-registration is needed for your free entry into the Science centre.


24 March 2018   10:30 – 12:00

Location: Maxwell Auditorium

The Tinkering Studio @ Science Centre Singapore cordially invites you to interact with John Edmark, inventor, designer and artist who teaches design at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. His most recent work is a series of animated sculptures called Blooms which endlessly unfolds and animates as it spins beneath a strobe light.

Come join us for this talk where John will share his work with logarithmic spiral structures, Fibonacci numbers, and the Golden Ratio (Ф), and how it all led to his inventing Blooms. His masterful illusions are the results of a marriage between art and mathematics.

RSVP: to Ms Jenny Leong by 18 March 2018.

Pre-registration is required for your complimentary entry into the Science Centre.

It’s mathematically impossible to beat aging, scientists say

According to Math, no one can live forever. So far, the only counterexample that I know of is Turritopsis dohrnii, also known as the “immortal jellyfish”. The article doesn’t seem to address this counterexample though.

Source: Science Daily

Aging is a natural part of life, but that hasn’t stopped people from embarking on efforts to stop the process.

Unfortunately, perhaps, those attempts are futile, according to University of Arizona researchers who have proved that it’s mathematically impossible to halt aging in multicellular organisms like humans.

“Aging is mathematically inevitable — like, seriously inevitable. There’s logically, theoretically, mathematically no way out,” said Joanna Masel, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and at the UA.

Masel and UA postdoctoral researcher Paul Nelson outline their findings on math and aging in a new study titled “Intercellular Competition and Inevitability of Multicellular Aging,” published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Current understanding of the evolution of aging leaves open the possibility that aging could be stopped if only science could figure out a way to make selection between organisms perfect. One way to do that might be to use competition between cells to eliminate poorly functioning “sluggish” cells linked to aging, while keeping other cells intact.

However, the solution isn’t that simple, Masel and Nelson say.

Two things happen to the body on a cellular level as it ages, Nelson explains. One is that cells slow down and start to lose function, like when your hair cells, for example, stop making pigment. The other thing that happens is that some cells crank up their growth rate, which can cause cancer cells to form. As we get older, we all tend, at some point, to develop cancer cells in the body, even if they’re not causing symptoms, the researchers say.

Read more at: Science Daily

The scientist nuns: In pursuit of faith and reason

Source: Aleteia

Making a career out of science, just like joining a religious order, requires dedication and discipline. Some tireless souls have managed to do both.

In 1965, Mary Kenneth Keller became the first woman to obtain a PhD in Computer Science. She was also a nun.

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1913, Keller entered the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Dubuque, Iowa, in 1932. Eight years later, she professed her vows, before obtaining B.S. and M.S. degrees in mathematics from DePaul University in Chicago, where she became fascinated by the incipient field of computer science.

As a graduate student, she spent semesters at other schools, including New Hampshire’s Ivy League college Dartmouth, which at that time was not coeducational. For her, however, the school relaxed its policy on gender, and she worked in the computer center, where she contributed to the development of the BASIC programming language that became so instrumental to the early generation of programmers.

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Alternate Admission Route to NUS Computing


Good news to students who are interested to study Computer Science. There is now an alternative route for students who are short of the cut-off point (currently at least two A’s).

To win a place on the increasingly popular computer science degree course at the National University of Singapore (NUS), students need at least two As for their A levels. Next year though, students eyeing a computing degree can be admitted through another route.

They can take up a five-month-long computer programming course at NUS and if they do well, gain fast-track admission into the degree course, even though they may fall short of the required grades.

Recommended Educational Toys

Does your child complain that science is “boring”? This may be because science is often taught in a boring manner. The solution may be to supplement teaching with hands-on experiments that develop the inner curiosity of the child.

For parents looking to buy an educational toy for their child, here are two recommendations:

Educational Insights GeoSafari Micropro 48-Piece Microscope Set

For its price, it is one of the most affordable microscopes around. Suitable as a starter microscope for children interested in doing experiments. Suitable for upper primary (Grade 5/6) onwards.

For more serious/experienced students, they can consider AmScope B120C-E1 Siedentopf Binocular Compound Microscope, 40X-2500X Magnification, LED Illumination, Abbe Condenser, Two-Layer Mechanical Stage, 1.3MP Camera and Software Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10 which is probably even better than the microscope in your secondary school / junior college. It can be connected to the computer for deeper analysis.

Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 Electronics Discovery Kit

Electricity is one of the greatest inventions in the past century, and also a key component of the science syllabus from primary all the way to university. Learn more about circuits in this amazing toy. Suitable for lower primary onwards (Grade 1-3).