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Mathematical breakthrough solves long-standing problem

Professor Darren Crowdy of Imperial College London "has fixed a crucial flaw in an equation used for 140 years in a vast range of fields, from visualising the structure of the human brain to working out the flow of air over the wings of aircraft".

The Schwarz-Christoffel formula allowed mathematicians and engineers to translate the unusual and angular shapes of the real world into a simpler circular shape for ease of modelling and analysis, but the formula "has always had a deficiency, well known to all engineering undergraduates: it only worked for shapes that did not contain any holes or irregularities". Now a missing factor has been found by Professor Crowdy in a breakthrough that the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics in America says "will have an impact on in all kinds of applications ranging from traditional engineering disciplines such as aeronautics through to modern areas such as string theory".

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