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Magnet and Neuron Model Also Predicts Arctic Sea Ice Melt

Jul 30, 2019   |   Scientific American

The Ising model, now almost a century old, shows how natural systems can behave in related ways

"A new study offers a model that predicts the formation of telltale 'melt ponds' on Arctic sea ice remarkably well—despite being developed in the 1920s to show how objects become magnetic," writes Scientific American. ...

... "The model is incredibly simple; the only measurement used is the length the lattice spacing represents. Donald Perovich of Dartmouth, who has researched Arctic sea ice for more than 40 years and did not work on the new study (although Golden used his photographs to test the model), says this simplicity is part of what makes the model unique. ... The Ising model provides a rich framework for thinking about the interactions between components of a system in terms of energy. It is a very basic idea, but a powerful one. As Perovich, the sea ice researcher, says, 'there's something—to my mind, magical—when you get these mathematical frameworks that explain things as varied as magnetism and melt ponds.'"

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