On June 25th 1998 the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory known as SOHO, a small spacecraft that monitors the sun, went missing. An error in the instructions given to it from ground control left it spinning out of control. However, there is a glimmer of hope.
Computer games and cinema special effects owe much of their realism to the study of fractals. Martin Turner takes you on a journey from the motion of a microscopic particle to the creation of imaginary moonscapes.
The term fractal, introduced in the mid 1970's by Benoit Mandelbrot, is now commonly used to describe this family of non-differentiable functions that are infinite in length. Find out more about their origins and history.
Practical problems often have no exact mathematical solution, and we have to resort to using unusual techniques to solve them. From navigation in the 17th century to postage stamps, see how this principle applies to a variety of real-life problems - and also learn how to use a piece of string to locate a German bomber!