Using math formulas to predict earthquakes

A team of researchers at Lyell Centre in Edinburgh, has developed a way to use math formulas to help predict when an earthquake is likely to happen. In their paper published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, ...

New derivation of pi links quantum physics and pure math

In 1655 the English mathematician John Wallis published a book in which he derived a formula for pi as the product of an infinite series of ratios. Now researchers from the University of Rochester, in a surprise discovery, ...

Fine-tuning Stephen Hawking's theory of mass

( —If you want to know your body's mass, you hop on a scale and watch the needle swing. But if you want to know the mass of a region out in space, there's no cosmic equivalent—the best you can do is consult a ...

New formula predicts if scientists will be stars

A medical school committee is weighing whether to hire a promising young neuroscientist. Will she have a brilliant future as a researcher, publish in top journals and nab abundant research funds?

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In mathematics, a formula (plural: formulae or formulas) is an entity constructed using the symbols and formation rules of a given logical language.

In science, a formula is a concise way of expressing information symbolically (as in a mathematical or chemical formula), or a general relationship between quantities. Colloquial use of the term in mathematics often refers to a similar construct.

Such formulae are the key to solving an equation with variables. For example, determining the volume of a sphere requires a significant amount of integral calculus; but, having done this once, mathematicians can produce a formula to describe the volume in terms of some other parameter (the radius for example). This particular formula is:

Having obtained this result, and knowing the radius of the sphere in question, we can quickly and easily determine its volume. Note that the quantities V, the volume, and r the radius are expressed as single letters. This convention, while less important in a relatively simple formula, means that mathematicians can more quickly manipulate larger and more complex formulae.

Expressions are distinct from formulae in that they cannot contain an equals sign; whereas formulae are comparable to sentences, expressions are more like phrases.

In a general context, formulae are applied to provide a mathematical solution for real world problems. Some may be general: F = ma, which is one expression of Newton's second law, is applicable to a wide range of physical situations. Other formulae may be specially created to solve a particular problem; for example, using the equation of a sine curve to model the movement of the tides in a bay. In all cases however, formulae form the basis for all calculations.

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