# Articles

**Rob Eastaway**shows us how mathemagicians trade off the fact that you can usually predict precisely the outcome of doing something in mathematics, but only if you know the secret beforehand.

**Ian Garbett**discusses radioactive decay.

Chomp is a simple two-dimensional game, played as follows.

Cookies are set out on a rectangular grid. The bottom left cookie is poisoned.

Two players take it in turn to "chomp" - that is, to eat one of the remaining cookies, plus all the cookies above and to the right of that cookie.

**Ian Garbett**discusses light attenuation - the way in which light decreases in intensity as it passes through a medium.

**R. McNeill Alexander**finds some answers.

There are many sorts of games played in a "bunco booth", where a trickster or sleight-of-hand expert tries to relieve you of your money by getting you to place bets - on which cup the ball is under, for instance, or where the queen of spades is. Lots of these games can be analysed using probability theory, and it soon becomes obvious that the games are tipped heavily in favour of the trickster!

The idea is this. To start with, you will choose an envelope at random, say by tossing a coin, and look at its contents, which is a cheque for some number - say n. (By randomising like this, you can be sure I haven't subconsciously induced you to prefer one envelope or the other.) You want to make sure that the bigger the number is, the more likely you are to keep it, in other words, the less likely you are to swap.

**Steven J. Brams**uses the Cuban missile crisis to illustrate the Theory of Moves, which is not just an abstract mathematical model but one that mirrors the real-life choices, and underlying thinking, of flesh-and-blood decision makers.

**Mark Wainwright**meets the pair and finds out how they did it.

**Andrew Davies**gives us an introduction to Measure Theory.