mathematical modelling
To study a system, mathematicians begin by identifying its most crucial elements, and try to describe them in simple mathematical terms. As Phil Wilson tells us, this simplification is the essence of mathematical modelling.

If you had a crystal ball that allowed you to see your future, what would you arrange differently about your finances? Plus talks to the Government Actuary, Chris Daykin about the pensions crisis, and how actuaries use statistical and modelling techniques to plan for all our futures.

Helen is a defence analyst with the MoD, using her maths skills to help defend the nation. Plus finds out about her career path.


Arguably, the exponential function crops up more than any other when using mathematics to describe the physical world. In the second of two articles on physical phenomena which obey exponential laws, Ian Garbett discusses radioactive decay.

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.

Arguably, the exponential function crops up more than any other when using mathematics to describe the physical world. In the first of two articles on physical phenomena which obey exponential laws, Ian Garbett discusses light attenuation  the way in which light decreases in intensity as it passes through a medium.

More than a century ago, an American astronomer named Seth Carlo Chandler discovered that, as the earth spun on its axis, it also wobbled. This wobble, now known as the Chandler wobble in honour of its discoverer, didn't disappear over time, as would have been expected if no further force reactivated it. The source of the continuing activating force has remained a mystery ever since  until now. 
Jim McElwaine tells Plus how he combines his two loves  mathematics and mountaineering  in avalanche research.

Helen Thompson works for Sainsbury's Supermarkets as a Sales Forecasting Manager. The Plus team paid her a visit at Drury House on the banks of the Thames in London.
