Our planet is shaped by the oceans, the dynamic geology and the changing climate. It teems with life and we, in particular, have a massive impact as we build homes, grow food, travel and feed our ever-hungry need for energy. Mathematics is vital in understanding all of these, which is why 2013 has been declared as the year for the Mathematics of Planet Earth.
Why are we so clever? In evolutionary terms this isn't obvious:
evolution tends to favour cheap solutions and the human brain is
expensive. It consumes about 20% of our body's energy budget yet it only makes up 2% of our body
mass. So why did it make evolutionary sense for us
humans to develop powerful brains? Game theory provides a possible answer.
This month 70 teenage girls from nineteen countries including Bulgaria, Saudi Arabia and Finland came to the University of Cambridge to participate in the inaugural European Girls' Mathematical Olympiad (EGMO).
The Plus office has opened in Barcelona! The weather is fine, the architecture is spectacular and everyone has been very friendly. And, importantly, the food is delicious! From the welcoming dinner with the conference organisers (and a delicious glass of port), to the focaccia de xocolata from the cafe round the corner to the pigs skin tapas we tried last night!
Today sees the launch of The Aperiodical, a new maths
magazine/blog aimed at people interested in mathematics who want to
read stuff. Aperiodical will post news stories related to maths, opinion pieces,
videos, feature articles, as well as blog posts. It will also publish accounts of monthly MathsJams and host the Carnival of Mathematics, a monthly blogging carnival.
In our Science fiction, science fact project we asked you which question from the frontier of physics you'd most like to see answered on Plus. We have just closed the poll and with nearly 20% of your vote the winning question is Does infinity exist?.
If, like us, you like fractals, then you will love the work of Frank Milordi, aka FAVIO. Milordi is a former Director of Engineering and Technology who creates mind challenging computer images based on the mathematics of chaos and fractals. You may be familiar with his work already, as one of his beautiful fractal images adorns one of the latest Plus postcards.