News from the world of Maths

May 13, 2011

A talent search has just begun to find competitors to represent the UK in the first ever European Girls' Mathematical Olympiad (EGMO). But why should a girls-only competition be held and what do we hope to achieve?

May 11, 2011

We came across the excellent Math Encouters Blog through their post Dimensional Analysis and Olympic Rowing, a response to a New Scientist article by Plus author, John Barrow.
Math Encounters is about those problems we might encounter any day where a little bit of math can really help.

May 11, 2011

Ah the humble triangle. This simple shape is one of the first we ever learn. But perhaps you didn't realise just how important triangles are...

May 10, 2011

We like to think of the human brain as special, but as we reported on Plus last year, it has quite a lot in common with worm brains and even with high-performance information processing systems. But how does it compare to online social networks? In a recent lecture the psychiatrist Ed Bullmore put this question to the test.

April 27, 2011

With the day of the referendum on the UK voting system drawing nearer, Tony Crilly uses a toy example to compare the first past the post, AV and Condorcet voting systems, and revisits a famous mathematical theorem which shows that there is nothing obvious about voting.

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.