Anti-vaccine movement is powered by ‘hysteresis’, study reveals

"History matters, and we now know that hysteresis is part of the answer," wrote the author of a recent study.

Demonstrators carry signs against the use of mercury in vaccines in front of the Department of Health and Human Services building in Washington 20 July 2005. (Photo: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
  • A new study explores society's relatively poor vaccination coverage through the lens of hysteresis, a phenomenon that describes how systems are dependent on their history.
  • The results show how 'imperfect vaccines' and episodes of public confusion can result in sharp drops in population-wide immunization rates, and how it can take years for those rates to recover.
  • By promoting an individual's choice to get vaccinated as an altruistic behavior, societies might be able to reach vaccination goals sooner, the researchers suggested.
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The math problem that could change the world: Does P = NP?

Depending on the answer, one of the famous unsolved Millennium problems could have major implications in our lives.

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  • The Millennium Prize Problems are a set of seven unsolved mathematical problems laid out by the Clay Mathematical Institute, each with a $1 million prize for those who solve them.
  • One of these problems asks whether P = NP. Put simply, this asks whether computationally hard problems actually contain hidden, computationally easy solutions. This, however, is a major simplification.
  • Proving that P does not equal NP would be a major milestone, and it's the result that most computer scientists expect. However, if the opposite is true, then our world would become drastically different than it is now.
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Physicists puzzled by strange numbers that could explain reality

Eight-dimensional octonions may hold the clues to solve fundamental mysteries.

  • Physicists discover complex numbers called octonions that work in 8 dimensions.
  • The numbers have been found linked to fundamental forces of reality.
  • Understanding octonions can lead to a new model of physics.
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Social media has made Gen Z less engaged in the classroom, says math lecturer Clio Cresswell

When Cresswell returned to teaching after a five-year break, she noticed a marked difference in the ways undergraduates approached learning in the classroom.

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  • Mathematics lecturer noticed the changes in her students after returning to teaching after a five-year break.
  • She says her students are noticeably less engaged, increasingly on their smartphones or computers, and ask more "stupid questions."
  • A batch of results from an ongoing National Institutes of Health study recently showed alarming results about the impacts that screen use has on developing brains.
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How the Big Rip could end the world

A theory from cosmology claims the Universe could rip apart to shreds.

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  • A cosmological model predicts that the expanding Universe could rip itself apart.
  • Too much dark energy could overwhelm the forces holding matter together.
  • The disaster could happen in about 22 billion years.
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