In this week's Chaos, researchers use a theoretical model to examine what effect extreme views have on making the entire system more polarized. The group's network-based model extends a popular approach for studying opinion dynamics, called the Cobb model, and is based on the hypothesis that those with opinions farther from the middle of a political spectrum are also less influenced by others, a trait known to social scientists as 'rigidity of the extreme.'
It is clear that we must prioritize identifying and alleviating the conditions that made the Covid-19 pandemic possible. Even as it rages, scientists are already asking if it is more than just a virus, but rather a symptom emerging from something much deeper, a nonlinear dynamical system of coupled pathologies underlying a veneer of 'progress' in an increasingly fragile, volatile, hyperconnected world.
Cryptocurrencies have been treated as a financial terra incognita -- they enjoyed growing interest but also raised concerns due to their virtuality. The use of statistical methods utilizing correlation matrices to analyze the hundred most-traded virtual currencies shows that the cryptocurrency market in the last two years is less and less different from the mature global currency market (Forex) and becomes independent of it. It means cryptocurrencies can be considered a serious and full-fledged financial instrument.
Tokyo, Japan - Researchers from Tokyo Metropolitan University have used machine learning to study spin models, used in physics to study phase transitions. Previous work showed that image/handwriting classifying AI could be applied to distinguish states in the simplest models. The team showed the approach is applicable to more complex models and found that an AI trained on one model and applied to another could reveal key similarities between distinct phases in different systems.
Usain Bolt's 200m record has not been beaten for ten years and Florence Griffith Joyner's for more than thirty years. And what about if the secret behind beating records was to use mathematics? Thanks to a mathematical model, french researchers have proved that the geometry of athletic tracks could be optimised to improve records. They recommend to build shorter straights and larger radii in the future.
Brownian motion describes the random movement of particles in fluids, however, this revolutionary model only works when a fluid is static, or at equilibrium. In real-life, fluids often contain particles that move by themselves, which can cause stirring in the fluid, driving it away from equilibrium. Now researchers have presented a novel theory to explain observed particle movements in these dynamic environments.
Need to reduce high-pitched noises? Science may have an answer. Theoretical physicists report that materials made from tapered chains of spherical beads could help dampen sounds that lie at the upper range of human hearing or just beyond.
Researchers from Osaka University and the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology have cultured epithelial-like cancer cells on an artificial substrate and observed their collaborative self-organization into network structures that may function as nutritional conduits and provide vascular access. Understanding of the parameters that govern this coordinated behavior, including the various forces responsible, may explain tumor growth and metastasis, thus providing a basis for developing new anticancer drugs.
'How do cells with complementary functions arrange themselves to construct a functioning tissue?' said study co-author Bo Wang, an assistant professor of Bioengineering. 'We chose to answer that question by studying a brain because it had been commonly assumed that the brain was too complex to have a simple patterning rule. We surprised ourselves when we discovered there was, in fact, such a rule.'
Researchers of AMOLF and TU Delft have seen light propagate in a special material without it suffering from reflections. The material, a photonic crystal, consists of two parts that each have a slightly different pattern of perforations. Light can propagate along the boundary between these two parts in a special way: it is topologically protected and, therefore, does not bounce back at imperfections.