What's the risk of passive smoking? Or climate change? How big is the terrorist threat? And should we trust league tables? These issues concern all of us, but it's not always easy to make sense of the barrage of media information. David Spiegelhalter, Winton Professor for the Public Understanding of Risk, gives Plus his take on uncertainty.
To study a system, mathematicians begin by identifying its most crucial elements, and try to describe them in simple mathematical terms. As Phil Wilson tells us, this simplification is the essence of mathematical modelling.