Gravitational Wave Neurons


by Serena Vinciguerra 

A neuroscience perspective on the gravitational wave community.

INSIDE OUT is not only a Pixar cartoon, but also a very intelligent slogan. I am not talking about emotions, but more generally about our brain. A more common view of our brain might be OUTSIDE IN: we use the brain to interpret the inputs we receive from outside. However, the brain is also the most powerful computer ever known, so why not try the INSIDE OUT modality, and be inspired by our brains as computational models?

The brain is a biological network composed of nerve cells (neurons) connected to each other. We can imagine neurons as calculation units which compute a weighted sum of the received electric inputs. If this sum reaches a particular threshold, a new electric signal is generated, propagated and finally transmitted to other neurons.

vinciguerra_2017_image2 Serena hiking on the Forra del Lupo (Folgaria) trail – Italy

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The top 10 mathematical achievements of the last 5ish years, maybe

Just another top ten list.

Simple City

I have recently been going through my book Maths 1001 making updates for a forthcoming foreign edition (of which more in future). So I have been looking over mathematical developments since approximately 2009. Thus, I present ten major developments in the subject since around then, arranged arbitrarily in ascending order of top-ness.

"Socolar-Taylor tile" by Parcly Taxel - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons - “Socolar-Taylor tile” by Parcly Taxel – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

10. Mochizuki’s claimed proof of the abc conjecture.   The countdown kicks off on an awkward note. If Shinichi Mochizuki’s 2012 claimed proof of the abc conjecture had gained widespread acceptance, it would definitely top this list. As it is, it remains in limbo, to the enormous frustration of everyone involved.

9. The weak Goldbach conjecture. “From 7 onwards, every odd number is the sum of three primes.” We have known since 1937 that this holds for all large enough…

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Infinite series: not quite as weird as some would say

Skulls in the Stars

Updated with a third footnote clarifying my use of the term “diverge,” thanks to suggestion by Evelyn Lamb, who has also written an excellent discussion of the problem with the video.  At the end of this post I list all the critiques I’ve found so far.

I feel like one of those grizzled action heroes who, having given it all up, is dragged reluctantly out of retirement for one more big mission.  Over the past month or so (honestly, I forget how long I was working on things), I wrote a series of blog posts on the “weirdness” of infinity in mathematical set theory.  Hopefully, there were two things that I got across in those posts: (1) infinity can be very weird, but (2) it can be comprehended, and even reasonable, once one understands the assumptions and limitations built into the mathematics.

Having retired from writing those posts, the other…

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do Prof. Dr. Samuel Rocha de Oliveira

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