One of the many strange ideas from quantum mechanics is that space isn't continuous but consists of tiny chunks. Ordinary geometry is useless when it comes to dealing with such a space, but algebra makes it possible to come up with a model of spacetime that might do the trick. And it can all be tested by a satellite. Shahn Majid met up with Plus to explain.
This issue of Plus is a special, marking the occasion of Stephen Hawking's 60th birthday. Plus attended his Birthday Conference in Cambridge, where we interviewed some of the world's most influential mathematicians and physicists.
Earlier this year, a group of scientists at Bell Labs announced that they had succeeded in observing the effects of "dark matter" - invisible matter that can be detected only by its gravitational effects.
Is the Universe finite, with an edge, or infinite, with no edges? Or is it even stranger: finite but with no edges? It sounds far-fetched but the mathematical theory of topology makes it possible, and nobody yet knows the truth. Janna Levin tells us more.