Sir Roland Jackson, Chief Executive of the BA, said:
"Questioning is at the heart of scientific discovery. From evolution to space exploration British scientists have always been courageous in asking and solving some of the big questions of their time. In doing so, they have expanded our knowledge, earned our respect and enriched our lives. We want to celebrate our nation’s innate curiosity by encouraging the public to share with us their big
questions on life, the universe and beyond. In return, we will ask some of our best scientific brains to come up with an answer."
Science writer Simon Singh (who has been featured on Plus) asked: "Computers can beat humans at chess, but which games are still dominated by humans?"
Ian Pearson MP, Minister of State (Minister for Science and Innovation) asked:"How much life is there left in our planet?"
You can find a list of the questions that have been posed so far, or post your own question, at: http://bigquestion.wordpress.com/. The event will be launched to the national media on 6th March. The BA is currently looking for more scientists and experts to help answer some questions, and so if you know the answers to any of the questions posed
and want to help out, you can answer by posting on their blog.
At Plus, we would love to hear what you have to say.
On our news page, you can add comments to all our news and blog articles, ask further questions arising from the stories, and engage in discussion with other Plus readers. Violently disagree with the author of an article? Here is where you can get your opinion across.
Plus is also proud to bring you the Mathematics forum on the Nature Network. The Nature Network was developed by science journal giant Nature as an online meeting place for scientists to gather, talk and find out about the
latest scientific news and events. In the maths forum, you can connect with other mathematicians to ask your questions or post your news and events.
Got a burning maths question you need answering? Can't quite solve that equation? Ask all your confusing, baffling and confounding maths questions at Ask NRICH.
Love maths and think you've got what it takes to be a designer? The Further Mathematics Network and Rolls-Royce plc are inviting entries for a new UK national poster competition for undergraduate and PGCE mathematics students. The academic year 2007-8 is the first year that the competition has been run, and there
is a £100 prize awarded for the design of each winning poster — it is likely that two posters will be selected. The winning designs will be sent to schools and colleges around the UK, meaning that your poster may be exposed to tens of thousands of teachers, students and parents — the potential audience is over 2000 schools and colleges.
Evolution is the main theme of this issue. With Darwin's anniversary year not too far off, we find out how to reconstruct the tree of life and how to spot the fingerprint of natural selection. We report on the rapidly melting Arctic, bound to destroy much of evolution's achievements, and explore the maths used in ice and ocean models. And we have a look at cellular automata, simple
mathematical models that can evolve surprisingly complex behaviour. Plus you can learn how to best distribute money amongst your employees without evolving envy.
Apart from that you will find the usual Editorial, Outer space, puzzle and book and film reviews.
Bacon sandwiches, drinking while pregnant, obesity — health risks are a favourite with the media. But behind the simple numbers quoted in the headlines lies a huge and sophisticated body of statistical research. We talk to Professor Sheila Bird of the Biostatistics Unit in Cambridge about her work in public health and its impact on policy, and discuss bias in pharmaceutical studies, as
recently highlighted by the controversy around antidepressants.
Recent research suggests that generalists can thrive in society, even though most theories of evolution, and even Greek philosopher Plato, argue that individuals who perform specialist tasks are more likely to succeed.