Articles

One of the most striking and powerful means of presenting numbers is completely ignored in the mathematics that is taught in schools, and it rarely makes an appearance in university courses. Yet the continued fraction is one of the most revealing representations of many numbers, sometimes containing extraordinary patterns and symmetries. John D. Barrow explains.
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.
Underlying our vast global telecommunications networks are codes: formal schemes for representing information in machine-readable and transmissible formats. Kona Macphee examines the prefix property, one of the important features of a good code.
Kevin Jones investigates the links between music and mathematics, throwing in limericks, Fibonacci and Scott Joplin along the way. Plus is proud to present an extended version of his winning entry for the THES/OUP 1999 Science Writing Prize.
You might think that if you collected together a list of naturally-occurring numbers, then as many of them would start with a 1 as with any other digit, but you'd be quite wrong. Jon Walthoe explains why Benford's Law says otherwise, and why tax inspectors are taking an interest.
For millennia, puzzles and paradoxes have forced mathematicians to continually rethink their ideas of what proofs actually are. Jon Walthoe explains the tricks involved and how great thinkers like Pythagoras, Newton and Gödel tackled the problems.
On 11th August 1999 a total eclipse of the Sun will be visible from parts of the UK. It will provide a spectacular display, but why is the Sun so interesting? Helen Mason explains.
Computer games and cinema special effects owe much of their realism to the study of fractals. Martin Turner takes you on a journey from the motion of a microscopic particle to the creation of imaginary moonscapes.