Mathematics is about numbers, shapes, symmetry, chance, change and more. Much more! Math is not only the most rigorous mental discipline ever invented, it's among the richest, most wide-ranging and most useful. Mathematics is also central to the information revolution. Downloadable music files, DVD movies, digital special effects and secure online credit card transactions, essentially any software application you can think of, owes its existence not just to computers, but to the mathematical algorithms that run on computers.

Pingpong balls break the sound barrier

Mechanical engineering and technology students at Purdue University built a supersonic, air-powered cannon that shoots pingpong balls at speeds so fast they break the sound barrier.

The math of shark skin

The rough surface of shark skin helps sharks move faster through the water. Mathematicians have developed an equation for how this roughness translates into less viscosity for a swimming shark.

Super strings

The quest to find the ultimate building blocks of nature is one of the oldest in all of physics. While we are far from knowing the answer to that question, one intriguing proposed answer is that all matter is composed of tiny "strings." The known particles are simply different vibrational patterns of these strings. In this video, Fermilab's Dr. Don Lincoln explains this idea, using interesting and accessible examples of real-world vibrations.

What is a semiconductor?

Semiconductors are in everything from your cell phone to rockets. But what exactly are they, and what makes them so special? Find out from Jamie, a Ph.D. student in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT.

Episode 8: Go with your gut

In Episode 8, Charlie and Jordan chat about the many different species of gut microbes, explore how math is helping ovarian cancer research and investigate the smell coming from water pipes in West Virginia's Elk River area.

What pennies reveal about randomness

Salvatore Torquato, professor of chemistry at Princeton University, explains his research on the theoretical packing of pennies and how it provides new insights on the nature of randomness.

The search for the origin of dark energy

Members of the Dark Energy Survey collaboration explain what they hope to learn by studying the southern sky with the world's most advanced digital camera, mounted on a telescope in Chile.

Could you love math?

Jere Confrey is an NSF-funded researcher at the College of Education at NC State University. Her work in mathematics education provides a valuable perspective on the challenges and opportunities around having a positive relationship with math. She is one of the #WomenInSTEM we are highlighting for Women's History Month.

Center for Computational Relativity and Gravitation

The Center for Computational Relativity and Gravitation at the Rochester Institute of Technology is dedicated to research the frontiers of numerical relativity and astrophysics and gravitational wave physics. The Center is funded in part by the National Science Foundation and integrates state-of-the-art science, performance computing and scientific visualization.

A glass conducter

A light bulb has the glass carefully removed, leaving the glass base and filament intact. The bulb is connected to AC electricity, and the filament quickly and dramatically burns out. This leaves the two wires that originally supported the filament separated by the glass in the base. Take a propane torch and heat the glass base (the bulb remnants are still connected to the electricity), a point is reached where the heated glass is no longer isolating the two wires from each other, but has become a conductor of electricity. As the electricity flows, the heat generated lights up the glass, the propane torch can be removed, and the glass continues to glow very brightly.

Flashy grape

A grape makes a great dipole antenna, and makes a great (small and safe) series of sparks in the microwave.