We're happy to announce a competition for short popular maths articles, of 500 to 1500 words, open to Plus readers of all ages and backgrounds. The winning article (and possibly runners up) will be published in a forthcoming book provisionally named fifty, which will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications in 2014. All Entries will be judged by the IMA50 editorial team: Chris Budd, Alan Champneys, Marianne Freiberger, Paul Glendinning, Steve Humble, Rachel Thomas and Ahmer Wadee. Entries that don't make it into the book may be published on Plus.
Your article should appeal to any fan of popular science books, or just to the mathematically curious, and be aimed at an international audience. But at the same time the article should avoid the over-simplification that can frustrate those with mathematical training. Winning articles will be edited by the editorial team.
Roughly speaking the articles should fall into one of five categories:
The best maths of the last 50 years: including strange or interesting biography
Popular maths: sport, arts (prose, poetry and visual media), social science
Maths at work: medicine, finance, the environment, government
Quirky maths, humour, spoof and magic
Philosophy/psychology of maths, maths in education
Entries can be accepted in any reasonable file format. For those that are familiar with Latex, this is our preferred format.
This year we were lucky enough to see the Imaginary exhibition in Barcelona. It's an interactive mathematics exhibition that inspires the imagination with beautiful images. And what is more exciting it allows anyone to step into the world of maths! You can create and play with beautiful mathematical surfaces using the surfer software and explore the symmetry of tiling patterns with Ornamente.
The photos in this podcast are by Rachel Thomas for Plus and by Sebastian Xambo for Imaginary and the images of mathematical surfaces are by Herwig Hauser and Rachel Thomas using Surfer. For more information on Imaginary visit http://www.imaginary.org and you can read more on maths and art on Plus.
We love the Math/Maths podcast! It's a conversation about mathematics between the UK and USA from Pulse-Project.org. Peter Rowlett in Nottingham calls Samuel Hansen in Las Vegas to chat about the math and maths that has been in the news, that they've noticed and that has happened to them.
Plus investigating the mathematics of sound waves.
Plus is edited entirely by women who are happily disregarding gender stereotypes, so we're always happy to highlight women's achievements in maths. We've got lots of content by or about women mathematicians on Plus and here are some of our favourites. (And we'd like to ask all remaining dinosaurs to stop sending us emails starting "Dear Sirs"...)
Mathematics and silliness is the speciality of James Grime, mathematician, juggler and comedy nerd (though not necessarily in that order). From zombie maths to post-it note dodecahedra: it's all on his YouTube channel. Here's one of his puzzles for a taster:
Plus jetted across the Atlantic in February to attend the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Vancouver. Not only did we feast with (not on) jellyfish at the Vancouver Aquarium, we also found out how to lose weight, how to play Big Brother on the internet, and more...
Counting calories — Struggling with that new year's resolution to lose a few pounds? Weight not dropping off as fast as you'd expected? A new mathematical model has some good news and some bad news for you. Which would you like to hear first?
Rubber data — Data, data, data. 21st century life provides tons of it. It's paradise for researchers, or at least it would be if we knew how to make sense of it all. This year's AAAS annual meeting in Vancouver
devoted plenty of time to the question of how to understand large amounts of data. And there's one method we
particularly liked. It's based on the kind of idea that gave us the London tube map.
Counting deaths: war as a statistical problem
— How many people died? It's one of the first questions asked in a war or violent conflict, but it's one of the hardest to answer. In the chaos of war many deaths go unrecorded and all sides have an interest in distorting the figures. The best we can do is come up with estimates, but the trouble is that different statistical methods for doing this can produce vastly different results . So how do we know how different methods compare?
The podcast: AAAS meeting day 2 —
On the second day at the meeting we talked to Marcel Babin from the Université Laval. Babin uses satellite images to measure the amount of organisms, such as phytoplankton, in the Arctic ocean and studies how this changing biological diversity can both indicate, and impact on, climate change.
Probing the dark web: the podcast — Networks loomed large at the AAAS annual meeting in Vancouver, in particular the one you're looking at right now: the Internet. Plus went along to a session on web surveillance. It sounds sinister at first, but as we found out, it's not all about Big Brother breaching your privacy. Information on the web can help us catch terrorists and criminals and it can also identify a widespread practice called astroturfing.