## Advent calendar 2012

Without doubt the biggest event in physics and maths this year was the discovery of the Higgs boson. Relive the excitement and understand what it's all about with these *Plus* articles.

Merry Christmas!

*Travelling Salesman* is an unusual movie: despite almost every character being a mathematician there's not a mad person in sight. Moreover, the plot centres on one of the greatest unsolved problems in mathematics, does P = NP? Last month we were lucky enough to host the UK premiere of this movie ...

Quick, quick, before the world ends get your head around Schrödinger's equation. A possible consequence of the interpretation is the idea that the universe is constantly splitting into many parallel branches. So while one copy of you might witness a spectacular end to the world today, another can rest assured that it will survive.

On the 23rd of June this year Alan Turing would have celebrated his 100th birthday. During his short and tragic life he revolutionised the scientific world and so 2012 was declared Turing Year. We're sad to see that an official pardon for his 1952 conviction for homosexuality, which was then illegal, still hasn't been granted. But that hasn't stopped us from celebrating his life and scientific achievements.

Space is three-dimensional ... or is it? When we spoke to theoretical physicist David Berman in October this year we found out that in fact, we are all used to living in a curved, multidimensional universe. And a mathematical argument might just explain how those higher dimensions are hidden from view.

Want to stop your brain from rusting this Christmas? Then visit our sister project NRICH, which received a major make-over this year and now has a beautiful new website. NRICH is aimed at students and teachers of maths of all ages and backgrounds. It offers challenging and engaging activities that develop mathematical thinking and problem-solving skills and show rich mathematics in meaningful contexts.

The Isaac Newton Institute celebrates its 20th birthday this year, having opened in July 1992. To celebrate we had a rare glimpse behind its venerable doors to explore some of the research programmes that have been held there. As you'll see, what started out as abstract mathematics scribbled on the back of a napkin can have major impact in the real world.

Looking for some Christmas reading? Good news! Eureka have published their first ever digital issue featuring authors such as Stephen Hawking, Roger Penrose, John Conway and more.

This summer, while at a conference in Poland, we were lucky enough to watch Sara Santos and her maths buskers perform on the streets of Krakow. Find out what maths busking is all about!