Articles

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.
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.
6174 is a very mysterious number. Yutaka Nishiyama explains why, and how beautiful mathematical oddities can inspire us to discover new mathematics.
To arm or to disarm? This is the question in Phil Wilson's article, which explores the maths behind a cold war in slug world.
What is the cosmological constant?
Kurt Gödel, who would have celebrated his 100th birthday next year, showed in 1931 that the power of maths to explain the world is limited: his famous incompleteness theorem proves mathematically that maths cannot prove everything. Gregory Chaitin explains why he thinks that Gödel's incompleteness theorem is only the tip of the iceberg, and why mathematics is far too complex ever to be described by a single theory.
Maths is not the first thing that springs to mind when you think about fighting crime. But a closer look reveals that it is behind many of the techniques that modern detectives rely on. Chris Budd investigates.