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### Topic: Plants 'do maths': BBC Article  (Read 2342 times)

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#### curiouscat

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##### Plants 'do maths': BBC Article
« on: June 25, 2013, 04:05:53 AM »
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-22991838

Isn't this silly? Do we claim chemical reactors can solve differential equations? Or that silicon transistors solve complex number algebra?

But this is BBC not some crack-pottery journal. So may be I'm wrong.

Judge for yourself:

"Plants have a built-in capacity to do maths, which helps them regulate food reserves at night, research suggests.

UK scientists say they were "amazed" to find an example of such a sophisticated arithmetic calculation in biology.

Mathematical models show that the amount of starch consumed overnight is calculated by division in a process involving leaf chemicals, a John Innes Centre team reports in e-Life journal.

Experiments by scientists at the John Innes Centre, Norwich, show that to adjust its starch consumption so precisely, the plant must be performing a mathematical calculation - arithmetic division

"They're actually doing maths in a simple, chemical way - that's amazing, it astonished us as scientists to see that," study leader Prof Alison Smith told BBC News.

"This is pre-GCSE maths they're doing, but they're doing maths."

The scientists used mathematical modelling to investigate how a division calculation can be carried out inside a plant."
« Last Edit: June 25, 2013, 04:59:54 AM by curiouscat »

#### DrCMS

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##### Re: Plants 'do maths': BBC Article
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2013, 04:48:01 AM »
The BBC is inhabited by arts/media studies graduate who'd struggle to find their arse with both hands in any real job so do not discount crackpot journalism too quickly.

The only valid comment is the very last one

Commenting on the research, Dr Richard Buggs of Queen Mary, University of London, said: "This is not evidence for plant intelligence. It simply suggests that plants have a mechanism designed to automatically regulate how fast they burn carbohydrates at night. Plants don't do maths voluntarily and with a purpose in mind like we do."

the others are just soundbite rubbish to get them in the news.

#### Archer

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##### Re: Plants 'do maths': BBC Article
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2013, 06:04:31 AM »
The BBC is inhabited by arts/media studies graduate who'd struggle to find their arse with both hands..

Haha, love the imagery of this statement.

It is a bit rediculous to be astounded by this finding when you consider all of the complexity of biosynthesis of any natural product containing C, H & N which a plant can achieve with just CO2, water and some oxidised nitrogen!
“ I love him. He's hops. He's barley. He's protein. He's a meal. ”

Denis Leary.

#### curiouscat

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##### Re: Plants 'do maths': BBC Article
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2013, 06:08:45 AM »

It is a bit rediculous to be astounded by this finding when you consider all of the complexity of biosynthesis of any natural product containing C, H & N which a plant can achieve with just CO2, water and some oxidised nitrogen!

No that would be a separate publication: "Plants now shown to be able to do complex chemistry!"

#### Dan

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##### Re: Plants 'do maths': BBC Article
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2013, 03:34:31 AM »
The BBC is inhabited by arts/media studies graduate who'd struggle to find their arse with both hands in any real job so do not discount crackpot journalism too quickly.

Wonderful.

The BBC science section is a joke. It's written to sound cool to non-scientists. This article does very little to explain anything and sounds like nonsense. Plants doing maths using molecules of time. Right.

I'm sure the original research is sound and interesting.
My research: Google Scholar and Researchgate