# Articles

Death and statisticsActuarial science began as the place where two branches of mathematics meet: compound interest and observed mortality statistics. Financial planning for the future is therefore rooted firmly in the past.

**John Webb**takes us through some of the mathematics involved, introducing us to some of the colourful characters who led the way.
Fishy business'Of the myriad strategems I employ to avoid useful work, the one I most enjoy is to envision how scientists of earlier eras would have made use of modern computers.'

**John L. Casti**tells us how today's mathematicians are using computers to carry on the work of turn-of-the-century polymath d'Arcy Wentworth Thompson, who showed how mathematical functions could be applied to the shape of one organism to continuously transform it into other, physically similar organisms.
Take a breakThere are many errors that can occur when numbers are written, printed or transferred in any manner. Luckily, there are schemes in place to detect, and in some cases even correct, such errors almost immediately.

**Emily Dixon**takes a break and discovers that codes are not just for sleuths.Mathematical mysteries: The Solitaire Advance

Solitaire is a game played with pegs in a rectangular grid. A peg may jump horizontally or vertically, but not diagonally, over a peg in an adjacent square into a vacant square immediately beyond. The peg which was jumped over is then removed.

Chaos in Numberland: The secret life of continued fractionsOne of the most striking and powerful means of presenting numbers is completely ignored in the mathematics that is taught in schools, and it rarely makes an appearance in university courses. Yet the continued fraction is one of the most revealing representations of many numbers, sometimes containing extraordinary patterns and symmetries.

**John D. Barrow**explains.
Have we caught your interest?Those who understand compound interest are destined to collect it. Those who don't are doomed to pay it - or so says a well-known source of financial advice. But what is compound interest, and why is it so important?

**John H. Webb**explains.
Fractal expressionismIn the late 1940s, American painter Jackson Pollock dripped paint from a can on to vast canvases rolled out across the floor of his barn.

**Richard P. Taylor**explains that Pollock's patterns are really fractals - the fingerprint of Nature.
Analemmatic sundials: How to build one and why they workWe've all seen a traditional sundial, where a triangular wedge is used to cast a shadow onto a marked-out dial - but did you know that there is another kind? In this article,

**Chris Sangwin**and**Chris Budd**tell us about a different kind of sundial, the analemmatic design, where you can use your own shadow to tell the time.Mathematical mysteries: Right angle race

The German mathematician Adam Ries (1492-1559) was the author of the most successful textbook of commercial arithmetic of his day. The book, published in 1552, earned such a high reputation that the German phrase nach Adam Ries is used to this day to indicate a correct calculation.

Editorial

- New Millennium, New Name and New Look
- How to lie with statistics
- World maths year 2000
- Network capacity problem - issue 3 revisited

Codes, computers and trees Underlying our vast global telecommunications networks are codes: formal schemes for representing information in machine-readable and transmissible formats.

**Kona Macphee**examines the prefix property, one of the important features of a good code.