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Scientists in Spain have proven the existence of gas-phase electride materials through a computational method with the ability to distinguish electrides from similar ionic compounds.

Ionic compounds usually comprise both positive and negative ions – a typical example being sodium chloride. Electrides are a rare and unique type of ionic compound where isolated electrons held in space through electrostatic forces constitute the anionic part. Owing to their distinctive magnetic, chemical, electric and optical properties, electrides are promising materials for a plethora of applications including catalysts for ammonia production, hydrogen storage agents and optoelectronic devices. However, being difficult to synthesise and characterise, up to now only 10 electrides have been prepared and only three are stable at room temperature. ‘Their experimental characterisation is only possible by indirect means,’ explains Eduard Matito from the University of Girona who led the work. ‘The density of a free electron – or a handful of them – is not large enough to be located in the x-ray of a crystal structure.’

Read more: Computational tool leaves electrides with nowhere to hide

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James Arthur, University of Toronto (Canada), is the winner of the 2015 Wolf Prize in Mathematics

"For his monumental work on the trace formula and his fundamental contributions to the theory of automorphic representations of reductive groups." The citation states that "Arthur's ideas, achievements and the techniques he introduced will have many more deep applications in the theory of automorphic representations, and the study of locally symmetric spaces. Arthur's work is a mathematical landmark that will inspire future generations of mathematicians."

Read more: James Arthur Awarded 2015 Wolf Prize in Mathematics

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**Data suggest symmetry may ‘melt’ along with protons and neutrons**

Scientists at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), a 2.4-mile-circumference particle accelerator at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory, report the first hints of profound symmetry transformations in the hot soup of quarks, antiquarks, and gluons produced in RHIC’s most energetic collisions. In particular, the new results, reported in the journal *Physical Review Letters*, suggest that “bubbles” formed within this hot soup may internally disobey the so-called “mirror symmetry” that normally characterizes the interactions of quarks and gluons.

Read more: 'Bubbles' of Broken Symmetry in Quark Soup at RHIC

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by Leslie Scrivener

**Research debunks myth of gender gap in math**

This is how Newmarket high school teacher Josephine Catalano-MacPherson talks about mathematics: Joyfully.

"I show how wonderful it is. I bring passion to it."

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A new study co-written by a University of Illinois expert in math education suggests that incorporating technology in high school-level geometry classes not only makes the teaching of concepts such as congruency easier, it also empowers students to discover other geometric relationships they wouldn’t ordinarily uncover when more traditional methods of instruction were used.

Gloriana González, a professor of curriculum and instruction in the College of Education at Illinois, says when students used dynamic geometry software they were more successful in discovering new mathematical ideas than when they used static, paper-based diagrams.

Read more: Adding Technology to Geometry Class Improves Opportunities to Learn

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by Kitta McPherson

Finding the best way to pack the greatest quantity of a specifically shaped object into a confined space may sound simple, yet it consistently has led to deep mathematical concepts and practical applications, such as improved computer security codes.

When mathematicians solved a famed sphere-packing problem in 2005, one that first had been posed by renowned mathematician and astronomer Johannes Kepler in 1611, it made worldwide headlines.

Read more: Princeton pair sets world record in packing puzzle

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