People have been using gold particles dispersed in water — gold hydrosols — for medical purposes for over 1000 years. Recently, hydrosols containing gold nanoparticles have become particularly popular because they have exciting potential in cancer therapies, pregnancy tests and blood sugar monitoring.
What have muesli, social networking sites and flocks of birds got to do with mathematics? Scientists and students from the University of Bath will be explaining all at the Royal Society's prestigious Summer Science Exhibition, which opens today.
Water is essential for life on Earth, and it is a resource we all take for granted. Yet it has many surprising properties that have baffled scientists for centuries. Seemingly simple ideas such as how water freezes are not understood because of water's unique properties. Now scientists are utilising increased computer power and novel algorithms to accurately simulate the properties of water on the nanoscale, allowing complex structures of hundreds or thousands of molecules to be seen and understood.
When insects go foraging, they zoom off from their nest in complex zig-zag paths. How do they manage to find their way back home? And how do they manage to do so along a straight path? These questions are explored in an exhibit at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition, currently taking place at the Southbank Centre in London.
The shadow of the late Martin Gardner looms large in Manchester this week as the workshop How to talk maths in public, organised by the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, draws to a close. The question on everyone's mind is "who will fill the enormous hole left by his absence"?