For math-phobic, numbers pose threat of pain, study says
October 31st, 2012
06:38 PM ET

For math-phobic, numbers pose threat of pain, study says

You're at a big group dinner and it's time to pay up, to divide the total and multiply a certain percentage for the tip. How many people tense up and say something like, "Oh, I'm so bad at math"?

Fear of math is everywhere - in the adult world where there aren't official pop quizzes, and in schools where the next generation of scientific problem-solvers are struggling with homework.

Researchers report in a new study in the journal PLoS One that this anxiety about mathematics triggers the same brain activity that's linked with the physical sensation of pain. FULL POST

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Filed under: Math • On Earth
A distant planet gets resurrected
Artist's impression of Fomalhaut b in orbit around its star.
October 31st, 2012
10:29 AM ET

A distant planet gets resurrected

Editor's note: Brian Williams is a space enthusiast and writer living in Salinas, California.

Back in 2008, something went bump in the night around Fomalhaut, a star in the constellation Piscis Austrinusa, 25 light-years away from Earth. Originally found by the Hubble Space Telescope, Fomalhaut b was announced as the first exoplanet (a planet outside our solar system)  found through direct imaging in visible light, instead of by the usual planet-finding methods.

Moving through a dusty oblong ring surrounding its star, Fomalhaut b was thought to be a planet as much as three times Jupiter’s mass, carving a path through the ring.

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