Celebrating National Biology Week

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The first ever National Biology Week is happening between October 13th and 19th 2012. It's organised by the Society of Biology and there'll be events around the country giving everyone the chance to learn about the second-most fascinating science (if you count maths as a science). But if you'd rather stay in and cuddle up with your laptop you can read about the many overlaps between maths and biology here on Plus. They not only drive biology but also pose new challenges for maths. Here are some of our favourite maths and biology articles (and there's more in our project Do you know what's good for you: Mathematics and the biomedical sciences).

Biology's next microscope, mathematics' next physics — It is thought that the next great advances in biology and medicine will be discovered with mathematics. As biology stands on the brink of becoming a theoretical science this article asks if there is more to this collaboration than maths acting as biology's newest microscope.

How the leopard got its spots — How does the uniform ball of cells that make up an embryo differentiate to create the dramatic patterns of a zebra or leopard? How come there are spotty animals with stripy tails, but no stripy animals with spotty tails? This article solves these, and other, puzzles of animal patterning.

Reconstructing the tree of life — At the heart of Darwin's theory of evolution lies a beautifully simple mathematical object: the evolutionary tree. In this article we look at how maths is used to reconstruct and understand it.

Finding your way home without knowing where you are — When insects go foraging, they zoom off from their nest in complex zig-zag paths. How do they manage to find their way back home? And how do they manage to do so along a straight path?

If you're a teacher looking for hands-on activities on maths and biology, try the Maths and our Health and Disease Dynamics schools packs from our sister site Motivate and the stemNRICH Living World collection from our sister site NRICH.

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