## Articles

**John Baez**declares himself fascinated by exceptions in mathematics. This interest has led him to study the octonions, and, through them, to find out more about the origins of complex numbers and quaternions. In the first of two articles, he talks about connections between algebra and geometry, and the importance of lateral thinking in mathematics.

**Jim Woodhouse**and

**Paul Galluzzo**explain why.

- The permanent revolution - The government's response to Adrian Smith's Inquiry into post 14 mathematics education
- A-levels - Are the ever-improving results a sign of falling standards?

**Andrew Stickland**finds out that, when it comes to probability, our instincts can lead us seriously astray.

**David Acheson**? The truth, he says, is that most of them have never been anywhere near it, and that mathematicians could do more to change this perception - perhaps by emphasising the element of surprise that so often accompanies mathematics at its best.

**Rob Eastaway**asks if mere mortals can learn anything useful from such incredible feats of memory, and gives some hints on how to remember numbers.