A damaged space station, no ground communications, no power, and only one chance to get it right. No, it's not a movie but the words of astronaut Michael Foale, who used maths to save a space station — and his life.
You don't need to count to see that five apples are more than three oranges: you can tell just by looking. That's because you were born with a sense for number. But is that sense related to the mathematical abilities you develop later on?
Next week will be an exciting one for a handful of scientists with the announcement of the 2013 Nobel prizes. With the recent experimental confirmation of the Higgs boson last year at the Large Hadron Collider, rumours are beginning to swirl that the physics prize might go to some of the physicists who predicted its existence and the mechanism that gives mass to matter in the Universe.