How large are the forces acting on a gymnast swinging on the high bar?

The Arctic ice cap is melting fast and the consequences are grim. Mathematical modelling is key to predicting how much longer the ice will be around and assessing the impact of an ice free Arctic on the rest of the planet. Plus spoke to Peter Wadhams from the Polar Ocean Physics Group at the University of Cambridge to get a glimpse of the group's work.
Everyone knows what symmetry is, and the ability to spot it seems to be hard-wired into our brains. Mario Livio explains how not only shapes, but also laws of nature can be symmetrical, and how this aids our understanding of the universe.
In issue 29 of Plus, we heard how a simple mathematical equation became the subject of a debate in the UK parliament. Chris Budd and Chris Sangwin continue the story of the mighty quadratic equation.
Fluid mechanics is the study of flows in both liquids and gases, and is therefore enormously important in understanding many natural phenomena, as well as in industrial applications. Geophysicist Herbert Huppert tells us what happens when two fluids of different densities meet, for example when volcanos erupt and hot ash-laden air is poured out into the atmosphere.
Why can't human beings walk as fast as they run? And why do we prefer to break into a run rather than walk above a certain speed? Using mathematical modelling, R. McNeill Alexander finds some answers.
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