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.
The Riemann Hypothesis is probably the hardest unsolved problem in all of mathematics, and one of the most important. It has to do with prime numbers - the building blocks of arithmetic. Nick Mee, together with Sir Arthur C. Clarke, tells us about the patterns hiding inside numbers.
If you had a crystal ball that allowed you to see your future, what would you arrange differently about your finances? Plus talks to the Government Actuary, Chris Daykin about the pensions crisis, and how actuaries use statistical and modelling techniques to plan for all our futures.
One million dollars is waiting to be won by anyone who can solve one of the grand mathematical challenges of the 21st century. In the second of two articles, Chris Budd looks at the well-posedness of the Navier-Stokes equations.
  • Optional maths - should students be able to give up maths at age 14?
  • Outer space - In what will now be a regular feature, mathematician and cosmologist John D. Barrow shares some maths that's amused and intrigued him.
  • Readers' corner- More Strange activities for last issue's Ship of Fools!
Some molecules - thalidomide, for example - come in both left and right handed versions, while others are indistinguishable from their reflections. Plus finds out about the role of mathematical symmetry in chemistry.