Mathematical Digest

Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"Soft cell's hard shell explained," by Mark Haw. Nature Science Update, 27 September 2001.

Inside every cell a network of protein fibers, called a cytoskeleton, holds everything together. How this cellular scaffolding deforms under various forces has been a topic of much interest. Recently researchers have found that its behavior under stress adheres closely to a mathematical description called structural dampening, often used to model how buildings and airplanes vibrate. The same mathematics has been used to model motions of toothpaste, paint, and soap fumes under pressure.

--- Rafe Jones