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Postcards from (the other) Cambridge - Days 1 and 2

Dear Plus in Cambridge (UK) and lovely Plus readers,

The weather here is lovely - cold enough to freeze your nose off but beautiful and sunny. Now that we have got the usual postcard chat out of the way, here are some highlights from my first couple of days here...

View from hotel window
  • Rare events really do happen – I got upgraded on the flight over!
  • The best view out of a hotel window is definitely airplanes messing about.
  • It is possible to walk from the Harvard Square T station to my B&B entirely on the sunny side of the street (an underappreciated variant of the travelling salesman problem).
  • Martin Nowak's work on evolutionary dynamics proves, yet again, that maths in the language of the Universe. Maths is now an integral part in the study of evolution, describing how mutation and natural selection affects a reproducing population. And now maths has shown that it if you want to get ahead in the evolutionary race, it really does pay to be nice. Nowak said in our interview today: "Whenever evolution wants to achieve a creative new solution, a macrostep in evolution, such as multicellular organisms or language, evolution needs cooperation." It was great to talk to him and it should make for a fascinating article!

Wish you were all here,

Plus in (the other) Cambridge

P.S. It really is very cold here. But they do have very good cupcakes. So it all evens out in the end...

Rachel outside Memorial Hall, Cambridge, MA

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