Wikipedia defines mathematics as "the study of quantity, structure, space and change." With a definition like that, it's easy to see why math is often called "the language of science." Math is essential for analyzing and communicating scientific results, and for stating scientific theories in a way that is clear, succinct, and testable. Start your science adventure by choosing a project from our collection of mathematics experiments.

What do knots, maps, mazes, driving directions, and doughnuts have in common? The answer is topology, a branch of mathematics that studies the spatial properties and connections of an object. Topology has sometimes been called rubber-sheet geometry because it does not distinguish between a circle and a square (a circle made out of a rubber band can be stretched into a square) but does distinguish between a circle and a figure eight (you cannot stretch a figure eight into a circle without…
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Math is used by many different types of scientists to model phenomenon and evaluate data from an experiment. By building mathematical models scientists can understand how different physical, chemical, and biological processes are affected by different variables. The most important tools are: making a graph to give a visual representation of the relationships between your variables and making an equation to give a way of computing the relationships between your variables. Find a source of data,…
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A fractal is, "a rough or fragmented geometric shape that can be subdivided in parts, each of which is (at least approximately) a reduced/size copy of the whole" (Mandelbrot, 1982). There are many different fractal patterns, each with unique properties and typically named after the mathematician who discovered it. A fractal increases in complexity as it is generated through repeated sets of numbers called iterations. There are many interesting projects exploring fractal geometry that go beyond…
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Have you ever wondered how playing in a certain stadium affects how well the athletes perform? Major League Baseball (MLB) is played in ballparks that have their own individual quirks when it comes to the exact layout of the field. How an individual ballpark affects player performance, which is known as ballpark effects, is heavily investigated in the field of baseball. To name just a few parks and their different traits, Fenway Park (the long-time home ballpark for the Boston Red Sox in…
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Math_p003

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Time Required

Short (2-5 days)

Prerequisites

Basic knowledge of Microsoft Excel, statistics, and baseball

Here's a project that will teach you about math as you follow some of your favorite players or teams. You'll be comparing day-to-day performance with long-term averages, and trying to determine if the "streaks" and "slumps" over shorter time periods are due to random chance or something else. When you've finished, you'll have a better understanding of some important concepts in statistical analysis and baseball.
If a player goes 0-for-20, does that mean anything? Using probability theory,…
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How do you turn a 2-dimensional piece of paper into a 3-dimensional work of art? Origami, the classical art of Japanese paper folding, is loaded with mathematical themes and concepts. What are the common folds in origami, and how do they combine to create 3-dimensional structure? Can you classify different types of origami into classes based upon the types of folds they use? Can you show Kawasaki's Theorem, that if you add up the angle measurements of every other angle around a point, the sum…
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What makes a winning team? Getting all the best players? Good coaches? Good chemistry? This project will show you how you can use math to help you test your hypothesis about what makes a winning team.
The Pythagorean relationship is a fundamental one in sports: it correctly predicts the records of 98% of all teams. But in 2% of cases, it fails. Why does it fail? Find teams that deviated substantially from their expected Pythagorean record (this information is available for baseball teams…
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If you're the kind of person who has taken apart your Rubik's cube in order to grease the inside parts so it will move more smoothly, this could be a great project for you. We'll show you three sets of move sequences that accomplish specific rearrangements of the cube. Can you devise a way to solve the cube using only these three move sequences?
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Math_p025

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Time Required

Long (2-4 weeks)

Prerequisites

To do this project you should enjoy solving puzzles and thinking in three dimensions.

Although fractal images can be intriguingly complex, fractals are more than just pretty pictures. In this project, you'll explore the mathematical properties of the famous Mandelbrot (illustration on the Background tab) and Julia sets. You'll learn about how these images are generated, and about the relationship between the Mandelbrot set and the Julia sets.
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Math_p013

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Time Required

Average (6-10 days)

Prerequisites

Good understanding of algebra, excellent computer skills

You might think that one sure-fire way to keep your computer safe from hackers is to disconnect it from the internet entirely. But did you know that even without internet, a computer can transmit data using light, sound, vibrations, or even heat? In this project, you will investigate how a spy or hacker can steal data from an "air-gapped" computer that has no internet connection. You can even use Google's Science Journal app to demonstrate how the data can be picked up by a nearby smartphone.
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Math_p049

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Time Required

Average (6-10 days)

Prerequisites

None

Material Availability

Desktop or laptop computer required. See materials list for details.

Cost

Very Low (under $20)

Safety

Some methods proposed in this project can cause your computer to overheat if you are not careful. This may damage your computer. See the procedure for details.