Mathematical Digest

Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"Math Trick May Cause Tension Headache," by Charles Seife. Science, 22June 2001, page 2230.

In Einstein's theory of space and time, matter bends space-time like "a bowlingball perched upon a rubber sheet." Christos Tsagas, a physicist in England,has discovered that magnetic fields flatten and stiffen the fabric ofspace-time. Seife writes that this discovery "might force cosmologists andastronomers to reexamine how magnetic fields have shaped the evolution of thecosmos." The mathematical trick? Tsagas discovered the effect by interchangingthe roles of space and time in an equation.

--- Mike Breen