Peter Lynch

132 results

Atmospheric flow is chaotic: a small change in the starting values can lead to a wildly different forecast.

Weather forecasting relies on supercomputers used to solve the mathematical equations that describe atmospheric flow. The accuracy of the forecasts is(...)

CP Snow compared ignorance of the Second Law of Thermodynamics to ignorance of Shakespeare. Photograph: Picasa 3.0

In a famous lecture in 1959, scientist and author C P Snow spoke of a gulf of comprehension between science and the humanities, which had split into “(...)

Space weather concerns the influence on the Earth’s magnetic field and upper atmosphere of events on the sun

Space weather, first studied in the 1950s, has grown in importance with recent technological advances. It concerns the influence on the Earth’s magnet(...)

Queueing at Dublin Airport in busier times. Computational modelling confirms a single queue is the more efficient organisation, with shorter waiting times than multiple queue systems. Photograph: Frank Miller

Queueing is a bore and waiting to be served is one of life’s unavoidable irritants. Whether we are hanging on to a phone, waiting for response from a (...)

Goldbach’s conjecture is one of the best-known unsolved problems in mathematics.

The starting point for rigorous reasoning in mathematics is a system of axioms. An axiom is a statement that is assumed, without demonstration, to be (...)

Climate models are complex computer programs with millions of lines of code.

Climate prediction models are markedly defective, even in reproducing the changes that have already occurred. Given the great importance of climate ch(...)

  The term algorithm comes from the name of Persian mathematician al-Khwarizmi. Photograph courtesy of    Prof Irfan Shahid

From the name of the Persian polymath al-Khwarizmi, who flourished in the early ninth century, comes the term algorithm. An algorithm is a set of simp(...)

Leonhard Euler revolutionised mathematics, greatly extending its boundaries. He was inexhaustible: no other mathematician has been so prolific

Mathematicians are an odd bunch. Isaac Newton was decidedly unpleasant, secretive and resentful while Carl Friedrich Gauss, according to several biogr(...)

English mathematician John Horton Conwa, who was stricken down by Covid last April. Photograph: Dith Pran/The New York Times

An old nursery rhyme begins “Monday’s child is fair of face/Tuesday’s child is full of grace”. Perhaps character and personality were determined by th(...)

Christmas tree: When divided up by red, blue and gold kites and darts, no two adjacent regions are the same colour.

When decorating our Christmas trees, we aim to achieve an aesthetic balance. Let’s suppose that there is a plenitude of baubles, but that their colour(...)

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