How Do We Know How Old the Sun Is? The Royal Observatory, Greenwich, and animation studio Beakus join together to explain how Kepler and Newton’s laws help us figure out the weight of the sun, how the age of our solar system can be calculated by studying meteorites, and how that data helps us determine the sun’s age.
Showing 38 posts tagged math
Travel back in time to Ancient Greece where revolutionary thinkers – from Thales, Pythagoras, Democritus and Aristotle to Euclid, Archimedes, and Hypatia of Alexandria – helped define the rules and language of mathematics.
For Greek thinkers, maths wasn’t simply a means of calculating amounts but a way of testing reality and understanding the true nature of the world around them. Indeed, Pythagoras is believed to have coined both the words “philosophy” (“love of wisdom”) and “mathematics” (“that which is learned”).
From the Ri Channel, Phoebe Halstead, and 12foot6, this is the two-minute story of math’s great Greek Legacy: How the Ancient Greeks shaped modern mathematics.
In 1961, an interactive exhibition called Mathematica: A World of Numbers… and Beyond inaugurated the new science wing at Los Angeles’ California Museum of Science and Industry. Sponsored by IBM, it was an innovative exhibit designed by husband and wife team Charles and Ray Eames, and lucky for us, it included five short animations that explored a handful of math concepts. Watch three of our favorites:
Also, Topology – how a closed curve dissects a plane into inside and outside sections:
And in the archives, don’t miss this iconic Eames film: Powers of Ten.
Why do birds often fly in a “V” shape formation? Researchers at the UK’s Royal Veterinary College have gathered data from individual ibises in a migratory flock to study why this pattern is so popular: their relative position and wing flap timing gives them extra lift from the upward motion of air created by the bird ahead of them.
In 2011, as part of a reintroduction programme, captive-bred ibises following an ultralight aircraft to their wintering grounds arranged themselves in the shape of a V. Data loggers on their backs captured every position and wing flap, yielding the most compelling experimental evidence yet that birds exploit the aerodynamics of the familiar formation to conserve energy.
Sea Level! What is it and how do scientists calculate it? As it turns out, there are actually many complexities in determining this measurement. For example, Earth isn’t actually a sphere, gravity is stronger and weaker at different points around the globe, and of course, there are a lot of mountains that are no where near water — so how do we know what sea level would be? In this video, Minute Physics explains the details.
After you’ve watched, check out these related links: ellipsoid, geoid, geodesists, Mount Everest, Chimborazo Volcano, Space.com’s Best Gravity Map Yet Shows a Lumpy, Bumpy Earth, and this clarifying and not-to-be-missed animated gif of Earth’s gravity field.