Author: Marianne Freiberger

This year's PISA results have caused predictable headlines, but do the statistics add up?

A 1 in 14 million chance to win the lottery, a 5% risk of cancer, a 50:50 chance of heads on a coin — we deal with probabilities all the time, but do they actually mean anything? We explore the philosophy of probability and ask whether the probabilities that come up in physics differ from those in every day life.

Are there objective chances in the world?

The fact that a sizeable proportion of the financial workforce is made up of physicists is one of the industry's best-kept secrets. We talk to Laura Tadrowski, who has made the leap from physics to finance.

If chemistry makes you think of white lab coats and green liquids then think again. This year's Nobel prize goes to three researchers who "took chemical experiment into cyberspace".

Why does time only ever move in one direction? We talk to philosophers of physics Jeremy Butterfield and David Wallace, as well as the eminent Roger Penrose about the puzzle time poses to physicists and what it has to do with the Big Bang and the second law of thermodynamics.

A team of Australian researchers has delivered dire news for polar ecosystems, predicting that in some regions biodiversity may be reduced by as much as a third within decades. It's the result of a tipping point induced by global warming.

Why are drug induced hallucinations so compelling that they apparently provided much of the inspiration for early forms of abstract art? Researchers suggest that the answer hinges on an interplay between the mathematics of pattern formation and a mechanism that generates a sense of value and meaning.

Agreeing to pay £50,000 for something worth £2 wouldn't win you any haggling competitions. In mathematics, however, a similar result can bring you international acclaim. This is the case with recent progress towards the famous twin prime conjecture.

An "electric atomosphere" is not what you expect at a maths lecture. But it is what prevailed when Andrew Wiles announced his proof of a 350-year-old-old problem, Fermat's last theorem, exactly 20 years ago.