Exploring the properties of a vanishingly-rare man-made element, and the AI that generates new mathematical conjectures.
In this episode:
01:04 Einsteinium’s secrets
Einsteinium is an incredibly scarce, man-made element that decays so quickly that researchers don’t know much about it. Now, using state-of-the-art technology, a team has examined how it interacts with other atoms, which they hope will shed new light on einsteinium and its neighbours on the periodic table.
Research Article: Carter et al.
06:28 Research Highlights
The mysterious appearance of three ozone-depleting chemicals in Earth’s atmosphere, and how ride-sharing services have failed to reduce traffic jams.
Research Highlight: Mystery on high: an ozone-destroying chemical appears in the air
Research Highlight: Uber and Lyft drive US gridlock — but not cuts in car ownership
8:38 The computer that comes up with new mathematical formulas
A team of researchers have developed artificial-intelligence algorithms that can generate new formulas for calculating the digits of key mathematical numbers like pi. Although crucial, many of these numbers remain mysterious, so it is hoped that this system will open up new avenues of questioning for mathematicians.
Research Article: Raayoni et al.
14:48 Briefing Chat
We discuss some highlights from the Nature Briefing. This time, a new theory to explain a sixty-year-old mystery surrounding the icy deaths of a group of Russian students, and the continued controversy about the chances of life on Venus.