The number chosen by the England captain for his Real Madrid shirt is rich in mysterious connotations. But mathematician Marcus du Sautoy backs a new theory to explain why Beckham has plumped for number 23.
All of science can be regarded as motivated by the search for rules behind the randomness of nature, and attempts to make prediction in the presence of uncertainty. Chris Budd describes the search for pattern and order in chaos.
To study a system, mathematicians begin by identifying its most crucial elements, and try to describe them in simple mathematical terms. As Phil Wilson tells us, this simplification is the essence of mathematical modelling.