Plus Blog

September 3, 2008
Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Become a Plus author by joining our writing competition. Besides the fame and glory of seeing your article published in Plus, you could win an iPod and other goodies, too!

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posted by Plus @ 3:25 PM


September 1, 2008
Monday, September 01, 2008

Peter Markowich is a mathematician who likes to take pictures. At first his two interest seemed completely separate to him, but then he realised that behind every picture there is a mathematical story to tell. Plus went to see him to find out more, and ended up with an introduction to partial differential equations. This podcast accompanies the article Universal pictures.

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posted by Plus @ 3:23 PM


September 1, 2008
Monday, September 01, 2008

Chuck Gill caught the space bug as a child when watching Alan Shepherd launch into space. Since then he's worked as a US Air Force navigator, a satellite operator, and in the US intelligence service. These days he's busy reducing carbon emissions and preparing London for the 2012 Olympics. Plus went to see him to find out more about his career. This podcast accompanies the career interview from issue 48 of Plus.

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posted by Plus @ 3:29 PM


August 29, 2008
Friday, August 29, 2008

Switching on the LHC

The biggest physics experiment ever — the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) — is due to start on September the 10th. The LHC is a particle accelerator. It's a 27km underground tunnel located near Geneva at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN). Protons will be sent racing through the tunnel on collision course with each other, and scientists hope that the remains of these collisions will answer some of the biggest secrets of the Universe.

Watch this space for more information. Meanwhile, you can find out more in the Plus articles

posted by Plus @ 10:26 AM


At 2:14 PM, Blogger SteveT said...

And one of Plus's old employees (me) has the lucky privileges of working at CERN. Its a busy time here as you might imagine.

At 9:02 AM, Anonymous Marianne Freiberger said...

Hi Steve. That's exciting!!!! Get in touch with Plus at to catch up!

At 9:23 AM, Blogger westius said...

And here we are thinking that there are no better jobs than working with Plus!

Steve's blog is Steve at Cern.

August 22, 2008
Friday, August 22, 2008

Want to be the new Carol Vorderman ?

The Channel 4 programme Countdown has started the search to find an arithmetician for the new series in 2009.

If you are a number-cruncher yourself, you could be just what they're looking for. Find out how to apply on their website. You don't have to be female and you don't have to have been on telly before, but you do need to have a way with numbers and lots of charisma. The closing date for applications is the 19th of September.

posted by Plus @ 11:03 AM


At 3:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"but you do need to have a way with numbers and lots of charisma"

Why, when Carol had neither?

August 21, 2008
Thursday, August 21, 2008

Zipf's law arose out of an analysis of language by linguist George Kingsley Zipf, who theorised that given a large body of language (that is, a long book — or every word uttered by Plus employees during the day), the frequency of each word is close to inversely proportional to its rank in the frequency table. We thought we would test this out on Plus. What does this imply about how we use language and how it evolved?

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posted by westius @ 3:54 PM


At 3:41 PM, Blogger Cassandra said...

Is it really a mystery? I have at least one idea off the top of my head.

Since one of the ways you can construct power law distributed networks (competitive scale networks) is through growth/decay rules (e.g. the next added link will have the highest probability of connecting to the node with the higher degree or existing connections) and thinking a little about how language evolves by adopting and abandoning words, it seems likely that words frequency could follow a power law because they are added to and removed from over time with a similar set of rules (at some level).

The only question is what exactly do such network nodes and their degrees map to?

Nodes seems map to words or perhaps the idea represented by the word or word-sound or word-ideas. If the nodes map to ideas then there is also a link to memes and various mind-external scale-free structures.

Nodal degree seems to related to usage of the word - either simply the frequency of usage or something deeper that results in that frequency.

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