Articles

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

Maths A-levels are "too easy"

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.
The origins of proof IV: The philosophy of proofRobert Hunt concludes our Origins of Proof series by asking what a proof really is, and how we know that we've actually found one. One for the philosophers to ponder...
Self-similar syncopations: Fibonacci, L-systems, limericks and ragtimeKevin Jones investigates the links between music and mathematics, throwing in limericks, Fibonacci and Scott Joplin along the way. Plus is proud to present an extended version of his winning entry for the THES/OUP 1999 Science Writing Prize.
In space, do all roads lead to home?Is the Universe finite, with an edge, or infinite, with no edges? Or is it even stranger: finite but with no edges? It sounds far-fetched but the mathematical theory of topology makes it possible, and nobody yet knows the truth. Janna Levin tells us more.
  • Want facts and want them fast? Our Maths in a minute series explores key mathematical concepts in just a few words.

  • What do chocolate and mayonnaise have in common? It's maths! Find out how in this podcast featuring engineer Valerie Pinfield.

  • Is it possible to write unique music with the limited quantity of notes and chords available? We ask musician Oli Freke!

  • How can maths help to understand the Southern Ocean, a vital component of the Earth's climate system?

  • Was the mathematical modelling projecting the course of the pandemic too pessimistic, or were the projections justified? Matt Keeling tells our colleagues from SBIDER about the COVID models that fed into public policy.

  • PhD student Daniel Kreuter tells us about his work on the BloodCounts! project, which uses maths to make optimal use of the billions of blood tests performed every year around the globe.