Remember how hard it was to fold maps? Mathematicians have struggled with map folding problems for ages but a recent insight suggests there might be another way to approach them, making an unlikely connection between combinatorics, origami and engineering.
In soccer a coin toss is used to decide who goes first in a penalty shootout and similarly in American football a coin decides who plays offence in overtime. But is this really fair? This article explores an alternative.
Space is the stage on which physics happens. It's unaffected by what happens in it and it would still be there if everything in it disappeared. This is how we learn to think about space at school. But the idea is as novel as it is out-dated.
The number pi can be expressed beautifully in terms of infinite sums. For practical purposes though, these sums are rather disappointing: they converge slowly, so you need to sum a large number of terms to get accurate estimates of pi. Here's a clever way to make them converge faster.
Would you stake your fortune on a 100 to 1 outsider? Probably not. But what if, somewhere in a parallel universe, the straggling nag does come in first? Would the pleasure you feel in that universe outweigh the pain you feel in the one in which you've lost? Questions not dissimilar to this one occupy physicists and for entirely respectable reasons.
Hugh Everett III is the father of the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics. He published the idea in his PhD thesis but died before it gained the recognition it deserves. This article gives an insight into Everett's difficult life.