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How can a 3 hour long film like the Lord of the Rings fit on a single DVD? Hw cn U rd txt msgs? How do MP3s make music files smaller, so they can be downloaded faster off the Internet? All these things rely on the mathematics of data compression.
In 1694, a famous discussion between two of the leading scientists of the day - Isaac Newton and David Gregory - took place on the campus of Cambridge University. The discussion concerned the kissing problem, but it was to be another 260 years before the problem was finally solved.
A new series of More or Less, BBC Radio 4's series devoted to all things numerical, starts on November 12th. Presenter Andrew Dilnot tells Plus about the motivation behind the programme.

Just over 220 years have passed since the death of one of the most distinguished mathematicians in history: Daniel Bernoulli, who died on March 17th, 1782. The name of Bernoulli asks for precision since the family from Basle produced no fewer than eight outstanding mathematicians within three generations.

It was Euclid who first defined the Golden Ratio, and ever since people have been fascinated by its extraordinary properties. Find out if beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and how the Golden Ratio crosses from mathematics to the arts.
When it comes to the science of the very small, strange things start happening, and our intuition ceases to be a useful guide. Plus finds out about the crazy quantum world, and spin that a politician would die for.