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Mathematicians take notice


notices2The Notices is the world’s most widely read magazine aimed at professional mathematicians. Notices provides opportunities for mathematicians and students of mathematics to find out what is going on in the field. Each issue contains one or two such expository articles that describe current developments in mathematical research, written by professional mathematicians. The Notices also carries articles on the history of mathematics, mathematics education, and professional issues facing mathematicians, as well as reviews of books, plays, movies, and other artistic and cultural works involving mathematics.

In a recent paper published in the Notices, a team of researchers at Texas A&M University at Qatar believe they have solved an important puzzle,  simulating the most likely crash scenario for the puzzling MH370, which disappeared in mysterious circumstances. (MH370 went missing March 8 on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing along with its crew and 227 passengers, and no traces of the plane have been found to date). They say a crash of this type, with the plane entering the water like a diver, would create the least resistance and mean the aircraft would not break up into small pieces on the ocean surface. Rather, large parts of the aircraft would have remained intact and sunk to the sea floor, leaving little evidence behind.They ran computer simulations on a supercomputer to test five different crash scenarios and found that this was the most likely reason no debris was found even after extensive searches.

MH370 modelling

The nosedive water-entry or a water-entry with a steep pitch angle, is the most likely scenario,” the researchers wrote. “This particular assertion is speculative but forensic, based mainly on the observations of the computed data in the prior section, combined with the understanding of aviation precedents, atmospheric and ocean surface conditions.”

They add that studying the MH370 crash is important to increasing understanding of mathematics and engineering in relation to aviation.

The crash of an airliner into ocean is a profoundly tragic event,” they wrote.

But on the mathematical and engineering side, there should be significant interest in its modelling and computation so that one can understand the physical mechanisms better in the hope of improving aircraft crashworthiness and survivability. ”

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NCEA Level 2 Algebra Problem. Using the information given, the shaded area = 9, that is:
y(y-8) = 9 –> y.y – 8y – 9 =0
–> (y-9)(y+1) = 0, therefore y = 9 (can’t have a distance of – 1 for the other solution for y)
Using the top and bottom of the rectangle,
x = (y-8)(y+2) = (9-8)(9+2) = 11
but, the left side = (x-4) = 11-4 = 7, but rhs = y+? = 9+?, which is greater than the value of the opp. side??
[I think that the left had side was a mistake and should have read (x+4)?]

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