Author: Rachel Thomas

London, September, 1853. A cholera outbreak has decimated Soho, killing 10% of the population and wiping out entire families in days. Current medical theories assert that the disease is spread by "bad air" emanating from the stinking open sewers. But one physician, John Snow, has a different theory: that cholera is spread through contaminated water. And he is just about to use mathematics to prove that he is right.

The work of Fields Medallist Stanislav Smirnov will take mathematics and physics into a new phase with his mathematical proof of the understanding of phase transitions.

Results in mathematics come in several flavours — theorems are the big important results, conjectures will be important results one day when they are proved, and lemmas are small results that are just stepping stones on the way to the big stuff. Right? Then why has the Fields medal just been awarded to Ngô Bào Châu for his proof of a lemma?

It's not just evil villians who can blow smoke rings, it seems peat moss has been doing it for millennia.

Controlled chaos produces realistic behaviour in robotic cockroach
I am the first person to admit I don't have an artistic bone in my body. In fact I find it difficult to think visually at all, let alone imagining shapes and structures in three dimensions.
Sandy Black, Professor of Fashion and Textile Design, has combined her love of art and design with her love of mathematics in her career as a knitwear designer. Sandy talks to Plus about the mathematics in fashion, knitting, and how science and fashion could make the world a better place.
A mathematical cancer model may lead to personalised treatment
Not if their predictions are made clearer...
The mathematical maps in theoretical physics have been highly successful in guiding our understanding of the universe at the largest and smallest scales. Linking these two scales together is one of the golden goals of theoretical physics. But, at the very edges of our understanding of these fields, one of the most controversial areas of physics lies where these maps merge: the cosmological constant problem.