What do the human brain, the Internet and climate change have in common? They're all hugely complex, and while they're very different, the tools used to grapple with this complexity are likely to be similar. We visited the Cambridge complex systems consortium, dedicated to building an over-arching science of complexity, and talked to neuroscientist Ed Bullmore, mathematician Frank Kelly and climate scientist Hans Graf about their take on complexity. This podcast accompanies the article Catching terrorists with maths.
According to media reports there are two suspects in the
dock: the rocket scientists' (a.k.a. the financial mathematicians) who provided the information behind the market's decisions, or the greedy bankers who only thought about quick profits and their end-of-year bonuses. We talk to David Hand, Chris Rogers and John Coates to find out who is guilty. This podcast accompanies the article Is maths to blame?
Peter Markowich is a mathematician who likes to take pictures. At first his two interest seemed completely separate to him, but then he realised that behind every picture there is a mathematical story to tell. Plus went to see him to find out more, and ended up with an introduction to partial differential equations. This podcast accompanies the article Universal pictures.
Chuck Gill caught the space bug as a child when watching Alan Shepherd launch into space. Since then he's worked as a US Air Force navigator, a satellite operator, and in the US intelligence service. These days he's busy reducing carbon emissions and preparing London for the 2012 Olympics. Plus went to see him to find out more about his career. This podcast accompanies the career interview from issue 48 of Plus.
The Fourier transform is a piece of maths that is, almost single-handedly, responsible for the digital revolution. Digital music and images would be impossible without it and it has applications in anything from
medical imaging to landmine detection. We asked Chris Budd what the Fourier
transform does, and how it does it. This podcast accompanies the Plus
article Saving lives: The mathematics of tomography.
Maths has long been a theme in the movies.
This week, Plus talks to Madeleine Shepherd, organiser of the
maths film festival at the recent Edinburgh science festival, about how
maths has been presented in the movies over the years, with particular
reference to three more recent films, Cube, Pi and Flatland. For more on
maths in the movies read the Plus article Maths, madness and movies.