Four mathematical models that changed our lives
Four mathematical models that changed our lives

Pedro Gargantilla Updated: Save Send news by mail electrónicoTu name *

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The last Bernoulli associate-flows and turbulence, but also belonged to a scientist who helped to defeat a disease that had kept in check the Homo sapiens since prehistory, the smallpox .

In 1760 this disease was the first cause of infant mortality and was charged more than four hundred thousand deaths annually in the Old world . In addition, it is estimated that thirty percent of the people who were infected by the virus had just died.

Lady Montagu –the wife of the English ambassador in Istanbul – introduced in the United Kingdom a novel technique for it: the variolización. Basically consisted in aspirating cobalt powder -earlier victims – through the nose or enter pus in a cut made in the arm.

it was Not a technical, harmless, it had its dangers, it was estimated that two percent of the people in which it was performed the variolización died and, in addition, immunization was not permanent.

Daniel Bernoulli (1700-1782), a professor of medicine and mathematics at Basle, through the development of a complex mathematical model estimated that the risk of death with the variolización was less than one per cent and that, in turn, increased the life expectancy in more than three years.

In conclusion, Bernoulli recommended the variolización to the healthy population. We know that all the members of the royal family, the English were variolizados and that none died from the disease.

The diagram of the rose

In 1856, Florence Nightingale –to the back of the Crimean War – he met with queen Victoria of England and managed to convince her to promote a commission to investigate the health of the English army.

With the help of the statistical William Farr this woman came to the conclusion that of the eighteen thousand who died in the front, sixteen thousand were not a result of the wounds of war, but by the lack of hygiene and diseases predictable.

from this study, the Nightingale –the founder of modern nursing – designed the well-known diagram of the rose, a revolutionary model in terms of collection, tabulation, interpretation and representation of data.

The “t” of Student was not a student

At the end of the NINETEENTH century, the factory of Saint Jame”s Gate in Dublin was the brewery largest in the world. Despite the success, owners of the Guinness wished to continue to improve the quality of your beer.

In 1899 they decided to hire the services of a statistician – William Sealy Gosset – to improve the fermentation and the selection of raw materials.

Gosset obtained a few innovative results based on a statistical model of their creation. I was so proud of his find that he wanted to share it with the rest of their colleagues. However, there was a lock in contract, the policy of the company, Guinness prohibited its dissemination to prevent it from falling into the hands of the competition. Gosset was forced to publish them with the pseudonym of “student” to pass unnoticed.

His work was soon known worldwide as the Student-t test, an analysis technique that is currently used in the medical field to test hypotheses.

The Beatles, and the first TAC of the story

In 1917 the mathematician, Johann Radon developed a mathematical formula able to reconstruct an image in three dimensions from two-dimensional images.

This model was the scientific basis on which the music producer EMI –the record company for which they worked, the Beatles – developed a research laboratory that would culminate with the manufacture of the first machine able to make a three-dimensional image of the human body, the computerized axial tomography (TAC).

Thanks to the millions of records she sold the four melenudos Liverpool mankind could have the first TAC of the story.

Pedro Gargantilla is a internist in the Hospital of El Escorial (Madrid), and author of several popular books