Great celestial bodies populate the solar system. For an untrained eye staring at the heavens, the starlight spectacles and endless seas of blackness are nothing short of a miracle. Researchers, however, have developed mathematical equations that may help us understand such mysteries of the universe. From Isaac Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation to Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, the scientific community has paved the way for a greater understanding of the great beyond.
Chicone believes math is an artistic expression like music, painting, and theatre. Not everyone can identify with this art, he admits, but those who can are able to develop a strong appreciation for problem-solving.
Chicone discusses his recent work on the velocity of particles moving near a black hole. Based on his research, particles moving faster than 70% of the speed of light that travel along the black hole’s axis decelerate, but objects moving perpendicular to that axis accelerate. These findings defy Newton’s Laws and obey Einstein’s Laws of General Relativity.
Chicone contributes to other fields of science outside of mathematics, cooperating, for example, with MU’s Medical School and School of Engineering to produce the kind of mathematical models that now play an integral role in designing predictions for scientific experiments.
Chicone discusses the fundamental importance of mathematics for the natural world, observing that mathematics serves an array of practical purposes. He gives the example of one of his students, who freezes tissue for a project in cryobiology. The researchers working on this project are using mathematical models to make predictions about the behavior of living cells.
As a researcher at MU, Chicone spends a large portion of his time working with students. As an instructor involved with both graduate and undergraduate students, Chicone says that he learns a great deal from those he teaches.
Chicone describes how he became interested in studying mathematics. Beginning with positive experiences he had as a student, his love for the subject continued
Beyond his passion for mathematics, Chicone’s favorite pastime is building furniture. He finds it amusing that people try to find a connection between his interests, and insists that woodworking is a love completely outside of math.