News from the world of Maths

April 20, 2011
Is there maths in beach volleyball? Or show jumping? Or in Taekwondo? If there is, then Plus is going to find it. But to know where to start, we need your help: we'd like to know which of the Olympic sports you'd most like to see covered in Plus. So please vote below — you can choose up to three sports. We'll do our best to cover your favourite sports in the run-up to London 2012 and our coverage will also be shared by our Olympic project Maths & sport: Countdown to the games
April 13, 2011
If you are prone to forgetting your passwords, you're not alone. To make sure we remember all our passwords, many of us take measures that defeat the purpose. These include, as studies have shown, using the same password for everything or writing them down on post-it notes and sticking them to our computer. But such sloppiness makes easy work for evil agents out to steal our data and identities. Now physicists from the US and Germany have devised a safer way of using passwords that takes account of the human need for memorability.
April 11, 2011

Topologists famously think that a doughnut is the same as a coffee cup because one can be deformed into the other without tearing or cutting. In other words, topology doesn't care about exact measurements of quantities like lengths, angles and areas. Instead, it looks only at the overall shape of an object, considering two objects to be the same as long as you can morph one into the other without breaking it. But how do you work with such a slippery concept? One useful tool is what's called the fundamental group of a shape.

April 1, 2011

Last week leading researchers in sports technology met at the Royal Academy of Engineering in London to demonstrate just how far their field has come over recent years. The changes they make to athletes' equipment and clothes may only make a tiny difference to their performance, but once they're added up they can mean the difference between gold and silver.

March 23, 2011

Physicists at the University of California, Los Angeles set out to design a better transistor and ended up with a discovery that may lead to a new explanation of electron spin and possibly even the nature of space.

March 23, 2011

The Abel Prize 2011 goes to John Willard Milnor of Stony Brook University, New York for "pioneering discoveries in topology, geometry and algebra".

March 22, 2011

The Rolf Schock Prize in Mathematics 2011 has this week been awarded to Michael Aschbacher "for his
fundamental contributions to one of the largest mathematical projects ever, the classification of
finite simple groups".

March 18, 2011

Our cities are filled with buildings, roads, cars, buses, trains, bikes, parks and gardens. They are crisscrossed with power, water, sewage and transport systems. They are built by engineers, architects, planners, technologists, doctors, designers and artists. Our cities are shaped by our environment, our society and our culture. And each and every part is built on mathematics.

You can join Plus author and Charles Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science, Marcus du Sautoy, on a mathematical adventure in the city. Marcus and his team of mathemagicians are constructing walking tours of the city — but they need your help!