A biologist has developed a blood test for detecting a certain minor abnormality in infants. Obviously if you have blood samples from 100 children, you could find out which children are affected by running 100 separate tests. But mathematicians are never satisfied by the obvious answer. Keith Ball uses information theory to explain how to cut down the number of tests significantly, by
pooling samples of blood.
Human beings are famously prone to error, and proof-readers are, after all, only human. But who picks up the errors a proof-reader misses? John D. Barrow challenges readers to estimate the errors that aren't found from the errors that are.
Not only are paper models of geometric shapes beautiful and intriguing, but they also allow us to visualise and understand some important geometric constructions. Konrad Polthier tells us about the gentle art of paper folding.