Author: Phil Wilson

Imagine that on your first day training to be a builder you are given a set of toy blocks with which to build a model house.
A review of a book as good as this must either repeat the positive adjectives other reviewers have used, or require a very large thesaurus.
In the last article of this three-part series, Phil Wilson shows how simple graphs can tell you a lot about the economy — and not only in Slugworld.
What makes numbers interesting? The subtitle of this beautiful book is the motivation, map, and message of its 188-page journey from zero to infinity. With concise insight, Reid takes the digits from 0 to 9 as chapter titles and starting points of voyages into the history and deep concepts of modern mathematics.
In last issue's Graphical methods I Phil Wilson used maths to predict the outcome of a cold war in slug world. In this self-contained article he looks at slug world after the disaster: with only a few survivors and all infra-structure destroyed, which species will take root and how will they develop? Graphs can tell it all.
To arm or to disarm? This is the question in Phil Wilson's article, which explores the maths behind a cold war in slug world.
Cartoons can help to bring down governments, but can they help to revolutionise science? This seems to be the hope of Robert Laughlin, whose book on the exciting field of emergence is littered with his hand-drawn cartoons. His Nobel Prize in physics has given him the confidence to share his art and to hope that his cartoons help to explain how science can be revolutionised, or "re-invented". But what is this Different Universe, to what extent is it a reinvention, and how well does Laughlin set out his case?
The three door problem has become a staple mathematical mindbender, but even if you know the answer, do you really understand it? Phil Wilson lets his imagination run riot in this intergalactic application of Bayes' Theorem.
It has often been observed that mathematics is astonishingly effective as a tool for understanding the universe. But, asks Phil Wilson, why should this be? Is mathematics a universal truth, and how would we tell?
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.