# Articles

1089 and all thatWhy do so many people say they hate mathematics, asks

**David Acheson**? The truth, he says, is that most of them have never been anywhere near it, and that mathematicians could do more to change this perception - perhaps by emphasising the element of surprise that so often accompanies mathematics at its best.
Remembrance of numbers pastMemory is fundamental to the way we think, and we use it in almost every activity. But most of us cannot imagine approaching the level of world record holder Hiroyuki Goto, who memorised and recited 42,195 digits of pi!

**Rob Eastaway**asks if mere mortals can learn anything useful from such incredible feats of memory, and gives some hints on how to remember numbers.
Coincidence, correlation and chanceHow much evidence would you need before buying into a get rich quick scheme? Do high ice cream sales cause shark attacks? And just how likely was it that you were ever born?

**Andrew Stickland**finds out that, when it comes to probability, our instincts can lead us seriously astray.
Why is the violin so hard to play?As anyone starting out knows, the violin is a difficult instrument. It takes time before the novice player can expect to produce a musical note at the desired pitch, instead of a whistle, screech or graunch.

**Jim Woodhouse**and**Paul Galluzzo**explain why.
Outer space: Two's company, three's a crowd

Two people who get on well together can often find their relationship destabilised by the arrival of a third into their orbit.

Editorial

- The permanent revolution - The government's response to Adrian Smith's Inquiry into post 14 mathematics education
- A-levels - Are the ever-improving results a sign of falling standards?

How the leopard got its spotsHow does the uniform ball of cells that make up an embryo differentiate to create the dramatic patterns of a zebra or leopard? How come there are spotty animals with stripy tails, but no stripy animals with spotty tails?

**Lewis Dartnell**solves these, and other, puzzles of animal patterning.
Running a lottery, for beginnersThere are many different types of lottery around the world, but they all share a common aim: to make money.

**John Haigh**explains why lotteries are the way they are.
101 uses of a quadratic equation: Part IIIn issue 29 of

*Plus*, we heard how a simple mathematical equation became the subject of a debate in the UK parliament.**Chris Budd**and**Chris Sangwin**continue the story of the mighty quadratic equation.
Mathematics for aliensIt has often been observed that mathematics is astonishingly effective as a tool for understanding the universe. But, asks

**Phil Wilson**, why should this be? Is mathematics a universal truth, and how would we tell?