Rogue trading?The dangers of trading derivatives have been well-known ever since they were catapulted into the public eye by the spectacular losses of Nick Leeson and Barings Bank. John Dickson explains what derivatives are, and how they can be both risky, and used to reduce risk.
From quasicrystals to KleenexThis pattern with kite-shaped tiles can be extended to cover any area, but however big we make it, the pattern never repeats itself. Alison Boyle investigates aperiodic tilings, which have had unexpected applications in describing new crystal structures.
On the dissecting tableBill Casselman writes about the intriguing amateur mathematician Henry Perigal, who took his elegant proof of Pythagoras' Theorem literally to his grave - by having it carved on his tombstone.
Friends and strangersSometimes a mathematical object can be so big that, however disorderly we make the object, areas of order are bound to emerge. Imre Leader looks at the colourful world of Ramsey Theory.
Model TrainsAs customers will tell you, overcrowding is a problem on trains. Fortunately, mathematical modelling techniques can help to analyse the changing demands on services through the day. Tim Gent explains.
Measure for measureCan you imagine objects that you can't measure? Not ones that don't exist, but real things that have no length or area or volume? It might sound weird, but they're out there. Andrew Davies gives us an introduction to Measure Theory.
Maths on the tubeDuring World Mathematical Year 2000 a sequence of posters were displayed month by month in the trains of the London Underground aiming to stimulate, fascinate - even infuriate passengers! Keith Moffatt tells us about three of the posters from the series.
Cars in the next lane really do go fasterYes, you were right to wish you were in the other lane during this morning's commute! Nick Bostrom tells why we're usually caught in the slow lane.
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.
Faster than lightScientists at the NEC Research Institute in Princeton have carried out an experiment in which a pulse of light appeared to emerge from a cloud of gas before it even entered.
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.