## mathematical reality

On the face of it the Universe is a fairly complex place. But could mathematics ultimately lead to a simple description of it? In fact, should simplicity be a defining feature of a "theory of everything"? We ponder the answers.

In this, the second part of this series, we look at a mathematical notion of complexity and wonder whether the Universe is just too complex for our tiny little minds to understand.

*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. We were lucky enough to speak to the writer/director Tim Lanzone about creating drama from mathematics.

It's not often the very first person you meet in a movie is a mathematician. The second, third and fourth people on screen also being mathematicians is even rarer. But the movie *Travelling Salesman* is a rare movie: not only are almost all of the characters mathematicians, the central plot also hinges on the solution of one of the most important problems in mathematics.

A team of physicists have curbed the hope that quantum physics might be squared with common sense. At least if we want to hang on to Einstein's highly respected theory of relativity. Their result concerns what Einstein called "spooky action at a distance" and it may soon be possible to test their prediction in the lab.

String theory predicts there are more than the familiar four dimensions of space-time. But where do those extra dimensions come from? Eva Silverstein is looking for the answer.

How many dimensions are there? In the latest online poll of our *Science fiction, science fact* project you told us that you'd like an answer to this question. So we went to see theoretical physicist David Berman to find out more.

A bizarre set of of 8-dimensional numbers could explain how to handle string-theory's extra dimensions, why elementary particles come in families of three... and maybe even how spacetime emerges in four dimensions.

Space is three-dimensional... or is it? 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.