News from the world of Maths

January 1, 2000

In a major and expensive setback for NASA's Mars program, both the Mars Climate Orbiter and Mars Polar Lander spacecraft appear to have been lost. Soberingly, while the fate of the Mars Polar Lander is unclear, it appears that the Mars Climate Orbiter was lost due to a simple mathematical error.

January 1, 2000

Australians have a reputation for being fond of their beer. Some Aussie scientists from Sydney are so fond of it that they've actually solved the age-old puzzle of why the bubbles in a glass of Guinness appear to sink rather than rise.

December 1, 1999
Tickle your mathematical funnybone and get your own personal Black Chamber
September 1, 1999

Perhaps the most sinister weather phenomenon in the world is the twister - that dark, dangerous funnel drooping from the clouds that weaves its way across the landscape, leaving a narrow trail of devastation in its wake.

September 1, 1999

Combining the computational powers of modern digital computers with the complex beauty of mathematical fractals has produced some entrancing artwork during the past two decades. Intriguingly, recent research at the University of New South Wales, Australia, has suggested that some works by the American artist Jackson Pollock also reflect a fractal structure.

September 1, 1999

Dr Yvan Dutil has been losing sleep lately. Why? Because he and his colleague Dr. Stéphane Dumas have proved to be only human.

September 1, 1999

Tax harmonisation, a common market, EU-wide laws: the trend is for ever-increasing standardisation across Europe. Ironically, there is currently a popular rebellion in France against one of the earliest pan-European standards, the Prime Meridian - the line of longitude from which all time zones are referenced.