The top most-visited stories of the past week included an amazing image of Jupiter’s second largest moon, solving billions of mathematical equations in just minutes, relief and delight as the Philae spacecraft woke up, Einstein saving the Quantum Cat, a fundamental change in wireless communications, a 40-year-old algorithm problem put to rest, news that a black hole’s surface is no deadly firewall, and an applied mathematician’s theory on what happened to Malaysia Airlines flight 370. We’ve collected these top hits below, in case you missed them.
Applied Mathematician Theorizes what Happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
The plight of Malaysia Airlines flight 370 (MH370) is one of the biggest mysteries in aviation history, but an interdisciplinary research team led by a Texas A&M University at Qatar math professor has theorized the ill-fated plane plunged vertically into the southern Indian Ocean in March 2014.
Black Hole Surface is No Deadly Firewall
Are black holes the ruthless killers we’ve made them out to be? According to one professor of physics, the recently proposed idea that black holes have “firewalls” that destroy all they touch has a loophole. In fact, he says the world could be captured by a black hole, and we wouldn’t even notice.
Longstanding Problem Put to Rest: 40-year-old Algorithm can’t be solved More Efficiently
Comparing the genomes of different species — or different members of the same species — is the basis of a great deal of modern biology. DNA sequences that are conserved across species are likely to be functionally important, while variations between members of the same species can indicate different susceptibilities to disease. The basic algorithm for determining how much two sequences of symbols have in common is more than 40 years old.
New Technology could Fundamentally Change Future Wireless Communications
Radio systems, such as mobile phones and wireless Internet connections, have become an integral part of modern life. However, today’s devices use twice as much of the radio spectrum as is necessary. New technology is being developed that could fundamentally change radio design and could increase data rates and network capacity, reduce power consumption, create cheaper devices and enable global roaming.
Einstein saves the Quantum Cat: Relativity Theory Applicable in other Research Areas
Einstein’s theory of time and space will celebrate its 100th anniversary this year. Even today it captures the imagination of scientists. In an international collaboration, researchers have discovered that this world-famous theory can explain yet another puzzling phenomenon: the transition from quantum behavior to our classical, everyday world.
Philae Spacecraft Finally Wakes Up after Seven Long Months of Silence
To scientists’ relief and delight, the Philae spacecraft that landed on a comet last fall has woken up and communicated with Earth after seven long months of silence, ESA announced June 14, 2015. Philae became the first spacecraft to settle on a comet when it touched down on icy 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in November. But the solar-powered probe came down with a bounce and ended up in the shadow of a cliff instead of in direct sunlight.
Now, Billions of Questions can be answered in about 3 Minutes
Stanford Professor Charbel Farhat and his research team at the Army High Performance Computing Research Center used a new, high-end, massively parallel computer to demonstrate the power of algorithms that instruct processors to work together to solve challenging problems. They directed 22,000 processors to solve billions of mathematical equations in just a few minutes, a rare feat in computer engineering.
Jupiter’s Cratered Moon Callisto
The speckled object depicted here is Callisto, Jupiter’s second largest moon. This image was taken in May 2001 by NASA’s Galileo spacecraft, which studied Jupiter and its moons from 1995 until 2003. Similar in appearance to a golf ball, Callisto is covered almost uniformly with pockmarks and craters across its surface, evidence of relentless collisions.