Articles

As anyone starting out knows, the violin is a difficult instrument. It takes time before the novice player can expect to produce a musical note at the desired pitch, instead of a whistle, screech or graunch. Jim Woodhouse and Paul Galluzzo explain why.
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.
How does the uniform ball of cells that make up an embryo differentiate to create the dramatic patterns of a zebra or leopard? How come there are spotty animals with stripy tails, but no stripy animals with spotty tails? Lewis Dartnell solves these, and other, puzzles of animal patterning.
In the early days of the UK National Lottery, it was quite common to see newspaper articles that looked back on what numbers had recently been drawn, and attempted to identify certain numbers as "due" or "hot". Few such articles appear now, and John Haigh thinks that perhaps the publicity surrounding the lottery has enhanced the nation's numeracy.
It isn't often that a mathematical equation makes the national press, far less popular radio, or most astonishingly of all, is the subject of a debate in the UK parliament. However, as Chris Budd and Chris Sangwin tell us, in 2003 the good old quadratic equation, which we all learned about in school, reached these dizzy pinnacles of fame.
Following on from his article 'The prime number lottery' in last issue of Plus, Marcus du Sautoy continues his exploration of the greatest unsolved problem of mathematics: The Riemann Hypothesis.
Not only are paper models of geometric shapes beautiful and intriguing, but they also allow us to visualise and understand some important geometric constructions. Konrad Polthier tells us about the gentle art of paper folding.
Calculus is a collection of tools, such as differentiation and integration, for solving problems in mathematics which involve "rates of change" and "areas". In the first of two articles aimed specially at students meeting calculus for the first time, Chris Sangwin tells us about these tools - without doubt, the some of the most important in all of mathematics.