It isn't often that a mathematical equation makes the national press, far less popular radio, or most astonishingly of all, is the subject of a debate in the UK parliament. However, as Chris Budd and Chris Sangwin tell us, in 2003 the good old quadratic equation, which we all learned about in school, reached these dizzy pinnacles of fame.
It is extraordinary to think that the diversity of the world we live in is based on a handful of elementary particles and a few fundamental forces. Peter Kalmus describes the combination of experimental and theoretical physics that has brought us to the understanding of today.
In the early days of the UK National Lottery, it was quite common to see newspaper articles that looked back on what numbers had recently been drawn, and attempted to identify certain numbers as "due" or "hot". Few such articles appear now, and John Haigh thinks that perhaps the publicity surrounding the lottery has enhanced the nation's numeracy.
Did you know that every instant, gravity waves from outer space are stretching and squeezing you - and everyone and everything else in the universe? Learning more about this mysterious radiation will help us to probe the structure and origins of the universe, explains Anita Barnes.
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  • Quadratic equations in Parliament!
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Following on from his article 'The prime number lottery' in last issue of Plus, Marcus du Sautoy continues his exploration of the greatest unsolved problem of mathematics: The Riemann Hypothesis.