Plus Magazine

Issue 39
June 2006
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When Kurt Gödel published his incompleteness theorem in 1931, the mathematical community was stunned: using maths he had proved that there are limits to what maths can prove. This put an end to the hope that all of maths could one day be unified in one elegant theory and had very real implications for computer science. John W Dawson describes Gödel's brilliant work and troubled life.


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On the 25th of May 1997 a dramatic collision tore a hole into the space station Mir and sent it hurtling through space. As NASA astronaut Michael Foale tells Plus, the fate of Mir and its crew hinged on a classical set of equations.


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In last issue's Graphical methods I Phil Wilson used maths to predict the outcome of a cold war in slug world. In this self-contained article he looks at slug world after the disaster: with only a few survivors and all infra-structure destroyed, which species will take root and how will they develop? Graphs can tell it all.


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Groups are some of the most fundamental objects in maths. Take a system of interacting objects and strip it to the bone to see what makes it tick, and very often you're faced with a group. Colva Roney-Dougal takes us into their abstract world and puzzles over a game of Solitaire.


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Two designers tell us how they took the long way round to design, and how the maths and science they took in on the way helps them with their work today.