It has often been observed that mathematics is astonishingly effective as a tool for understanding the universe. But, asks Phil Wilson, why should this be? Is mathematics a universal truth, and how would we tell?
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.
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.
Did you know that every instant, gravity waves from outer space are stretching and squeezing you - and everyone and everything else in the universe? Learning more about this mysterious radiation will help us to probe the structure and origins of the universe, explains Anita Barnes.