10 years of bringing mathematics to life

Rachel Thomas

10 years of bringing mathematics to life


Plus birthday party at the CMS

The sun came out for the Plus 10th birthday party, held at our home, the Centre for Mathematical Sciences, Cambridge University

On a miraculously sunny day this summer Plus celebrated it's 10th birthday with many of its contributors, staff and supporters on the lawn in front of the Plus home, the Centre for Mathematical Science at the University of Cambridge. It was a great opportunity to thank all the people that have helped Plus over the years, and to raise a glass in honour of our favourite subject — mathematics!

Plus started in 1997 as a project to raise public awareness of mathematics and provide support for the subject. Although the Internet was still in its infancy (Plus had to be released on CD alongside the website to ensure maximal coverage), the founding team recognised the huge potential of this relatively new technology, allowing them to take mathematics to a wider audience than had been possible before.

Today Plus is read by over 200,000 people a month from all over the world. Over 3,500 people subscribe to our email newsletter, we have a rolling news desk and blog, and we continue to make the most of changing technology, having just released our first Plus podcast. The increased speed of the Internet means that we can now include many beautiful mathematical illustrations.

Plus staff - past and present

Almost all the Plus staff, both past and present, were able to make it. From left to right — Owen Smith, Rachel Thomas, Marianne Freiberger, Robert Hunt, Helen Joyce, Robert Harding, Julia Hawkins, Steve Lay, John Barrow, Mike Pearson and Mark Wainwright.

Over the years, thanks to all the technical and editorial staff (many of whom were able to celebrate at the party), Plus has excelled at using the changing technology to communicate mathematics to our readers. But importantly, Plus has never been driven by technology. Instead, the driving force has always been our aim to open a door onto the world of mathematics for the general public, and to share the excitement, the humanity, the creativity and the importance of the mathematical world. Plus has achieved this aim through the contributions of our wonderful and generous authors, and it was lovely to have the chance to thank many of them in person at the party. It is the enthusiasm and passion conveyed by our contributors though articles on a huge range of subjects — sport, space, medicine, art, to the purest of theoretical mathematics — that has brought maths to life for our readers over the last 10 years.

If anything, maths has become even more vital over the last 10 years. It is now an integral part of all scientific research and a growing part of our daily lives in this digital age. And there is still much work to be done to encourage the next generation of mathematicians and to welcome everyone to the subject and help them appreciate its relevance and its beauty.

Plus birthday cake

Happy Birthday Plus and thank you to all our readers!

It has been wonderful to take the opportunity this year to celebrate 10 years of Plus, and reflect on how things have changed over the decade. But it has also been a great chance to look forward to the future. So please raise your glasses to another 10 years of Plus and of bringing mathematics to life!

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