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Apart from the Olympic Games and Alan Turing's centenary, 2012 will see another important event: the 15th birthday of Plus! To get into party mood, here are the 5 most popular Plus articles since current records began. A big thank you to the wonderful and generous people who have contributed these and all other Plus articles!
Number 1: Adam Smith and the invisible hand
Adam Smith is often thought of as the father of modern economics. In his book An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations Smith decribed the "invisible hand" mechanism by which he felt economic society operated. Modern game theory has much to add to Smith's description.
Number 2: Mysterious number 6174
6174 is a very mysterious number. This article explains why, and how beautiful mathematical oddities can inspire us to discover new mathematics.
Number 3: Why is the violin so hard to play?
Number 3: As anyone starting out knows, the violin is a difficult instrument. It takes time before the novice player can expect to produce a musical note at the desired pitch, instead of a whistle, screech or graunch. This article explains why.
Number 4: The life and numbers of Fibonacci
Fibonacci not only gave us the famous number sequence but also introduced the decimal system to Europe.
It isn't often that a mathematical equation makes the national press, far less popular radio, or most astonishingly of all, is the subject of a debate in the UK parliament. However, as this article describes, in 2003 the good old quadratic equation, which we all learned about in school, reached these dizzy pinnacles of fame.