The origins of proof III: Proof and puzzles through the agesFor millennia, puzzles and paradoxes have forced mathematicians to continually rethink their ideas of what proofs actually are. Jon Walthoe explains the tricks involved and how great thinkers like Pythagoras, Newton and Gödel tackled the problems.
  • New in this issue
  • Ever-increasing standards: a problem of communication?
Mathematical mysteries: Foucault's pendulum and the eclipse

You may have seen Foucault's pendulum. There's one in the Science Museum in London (part of the National Museum of Science and Industry), and there are many more in various locations around the UK (for instance, in Glasgow) and the world (including one at the United Nations Headquarters and a famous example at Le Panthéon in Paris).

Radio controlled?We take reliable radio communications for granted, but accommodating many different users is not easy. Robert Leese explains how the mathematics of colouring graphs can help avoid interference on your mobile phone.
The origins of proof II : Kepler's proofsJohannes Kepler (1571-1630) is now chiefly remembered as a mathematical astronomer who discovered three laws that describe the motion of the planets. J.V. Field continues our series on the origins of proof with an examination of Kepler's astronomy.
  • Darkened skies
  • Interesting times
The art of numbersAt the Hewlett Packard campus in Bristol, a group of keen researchers are bringing together the worlds of advanced mathematics and fine art. Kona Macphee investigates.
Mathematical mysteries: How unilluminating!

In the 1950's, Ernst Straus asked a seemingly simple problem. Imagine a dark room with lots of turns and side-passages, where all the walls are covered in mirrors - just like the Hall of Mirrors in an old-fashioned fun-fair. Is it true that if someone lights a match somewhere in the room, then wherever you stand in the rest of the room (even down a side-passage) you can see a reflection of the match?

The dynamic sunOn 11th August 1999 a total eclipse of the Sun will be visible from parts of the UK. It will provide a spectacular display, but why is the Sun so interesting? Helen Mason explains.

New Year, New Team

Bang up a boomerang!Here's how you can make your own cross-shaped boomerang - and it's safe enough to fly indoors! Hugh rolls up his sleeves and proves that theory isn't everything.
Unspinning the boomerangIn this article, we look at the physics behind the curved flight path of a returning boomerang, and explain that boomerangs are really a kind of gyroscope. We even show you how to bang up a boomerang yourself!
  • Want facts and want them fast? Our Maths in a minute series explores key mathematical concepts in just a few words.

  • As COP28, the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference, kicks off we look at how maths can help understand the climate crisis.

  • How do you create dramatic film out of mathematics? We find out with writer and director Timothy Lanzone.

  • Mathematics plays a central role in understanding how infectious diseases spread. This collection of articles looks at some basic concepts in epidemiology to help you understand this fascinating and important field, and set you up for further study.

  • Find out why the formula we use to work out conditional probabilities is true!

  • We talk about a play that explores the fascinating mathematical collaboration between the mathematicians GH Hardy and Srinivasa Ramanujan.