INI

The Isaac Newton Institute: Creating eureka moments

One of the most exciting places in the mathematical world is the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences (INI), an international research centre and our neighbour here on the University of Cambridge's maths campus.
The INI attracts leading mathematical scientists from all over the world, and is open to all. We are proud to be collaborating with the INI to bring the cutting edge mathematics that is being done there to the general public. The following content is part of this collaboration.

Answers on a donut – the Fields medal lecture of Manjul Bhargava

We enjoyed Manjul Bhargava's Fields medal lecture so much we wanted to share it with you!

Satanic science

There's no doubt that information is power, but could it be converted into physical energy you could heat a room with or run a machine on? In the 19th century James Clerk Maxwell invented a hypothetical being — a "demon" — that seemed to be able to do just that. The problem was that the little devil blatantly contravened the laws of physics. What is Maxwell's demon and how was it resolved?

Maths in a minute: Newton's laws of motion

We've been dabbling a lot in the mysterious world of quantum physics lately, so to get back down to Earth we thought we'd bring you reminder of good old classical physics.

Renewable energy and telecommunications

When the mathematician AK Erlang first used probability theory to model telephone networks in the early twentieth century he could hardly have imagined that the science he founded would one day help solve a most pressing global
problem: how to wean ourselves off fossil fuels and switch to renewable energy sources.

It's a match!

"It's a match!" cries the CSI. At first glance it might seem that if the police have matched a suspect's DNA to evidence from the crime scene, then the case is closed. But some statistical thinking is required to understand exactly what a match is, and importantly, how juries should assess this as part of the evidence in a trial.

Shining a light on gold

People have been using gold particles dispersed in water — gold hydrosols — for medical purposes for over 1000 years. Recently, hydrosols containing gold nanoparticles have become particularly popular because they have exciting potential in cancer therapies, pregnancy tests and blood sugar monitoring.

Saving lives: the mathematics of tomographyNot so long ago, if you had a medical complaint, doctors had to open you up to see what it was. These days they have a range of sophisticated imaging techniques at their disposal, saving you the risk and pain of an operation. Chris Budd and Cathryn Mitchell look at the maths that isn't only responsible for these medical techniques, but also for much of the digital revolution.
Fermat's last theorem and Andrew WilesNeil Pieprzak tells the fascinating story of Andrew Wiles who, with intense devotion and in secret, proved a deceptively simple-looking conjecture that had defeated mathematicians for almost 400 years.
String theory: From Newton to Einstein and beyondOver the last few years the words string theory have nudged their way into public consciousness. It's a theory of everything in which everything's made of strings — or something like that. But why strings? What do they do? Where did the idea come from and why do we need such a theory? David Berman has an equation-free introduction for beginners.
An enormous theorem: the classification of finite simple groupsWinner of the general public category. Enormous is the right word: this theorem's proof spans over 10,000 pages in 500 journal articles and no-one today understands all its details. So what does the theorem say? Richard Elwes has a short and sweet introduction.
The power of groupsGroups are some of the most fundamental objects in maths. Take a system of interacting objects and strip it to the bone to see what makes it tick, and very often you're faced with a group. Colva Roney-Dougal takes us into their abstract world and puzzles over a game of Solitaire.
Now you see it, now you don'tMathematicians may make the "invisibility cloak" more powerful