Plus Blog

December 7, 2010

How does Santa manage to squeeze through chimneys? How do reindeers manage to fly? When will I get the Christmas shopping done? These things are mysteries, so in keeping with the mood, Door 8 opens on some of our favourite mysteries from the world of maths.

Forget the shopping and join us in musing over Achilles and the tortoise, exotic geometries, the paradoxical barber and whether being nice to others is just for Christmas, or a good survival strategy.

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December 3, 2010

What would Christmas be without the unlimited eating? And as it turns out, maths helps it all to go down well. Find out how with Eat, drink and be merry and our interview with a fluid mechanics researcher.

You can also learn how to make the perfect pizza, how your national cuisine evolved, and why bacon sandwiches aren't really that bad for you.

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December 3, 2010

It's the weekend, the snow is gently falling outside, and inside the fire is blazing ... what better way to spend the time than puzzling over our special Plus sudokus? They're not what you're used to...

Or if you'd rather like to spend your time reading, find out about the history of sudoku, why sudoku puzzles help to take pictures of tiny things like cells, or muse on some sudoku questions that puzzle mathematicians.

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December 3, 2010
A Hubble image

Image courtesy NASA.

The best thing about Christmas are the presents! And if it hadn't been for that blazing star guiding the three magi to baby Jesus, laden with gold, frankincense and myrrh, then we might not have that present giving tradition at all.

So for Door #5 of the Plus Advent calendar we turn our gaze to the stars and muse on the biggest mysteries of the Universe. Find out what happened before the Big Bang, whether we will one day be able to travel through time, whether those mysterious constants of nature really are constant, how gravity works, and unravel the secrets of dark matter and dark energy.

You can also find out what the greatest star gazers of them all, the Hubble Space Telescope, has discovered, whether there's life on distant planets, why the Universe might just be an illusion, and why a single number holds the key to it all.

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December 2, 2010

The end of the year (as well as a Plus birthday today) put us in the mood to reflect on mathematical milestones.

In recent years maths has hit the front page with Andrew Wiles' proof of Fermat's last theorem and Grigori Perelman's proof of the Poincaré conjecture. Maths has also hit the jackpot with the Google page rank algorithm, changing the way the we find information and the way we do business. And Thomas Hales' computer-aided proof of Kepler's Conjecture might signal the way mathematics will be changing in the years to come.

Find out more about the biggest mathematical moments in the last 10, 100, 1000 and 10,000 years.

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