The Fibonacci sequence – 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, ... – is one of the most famous pieces of mathematics. We see how these numbers appear in multiplying rabbits and bees, in the turns of sea shells and sunflower seeds, and how it all stemmed from a simple example in one of the most important books in Western mathematics.
The previous feature, "Mathematics, marriage and finding somewhere to eat" investigated the problem of finding the best potential partner from a fixed number of potential partners using a technique known as "optimal stopping". Inevitably, mathematicians and mathematical psychologists have constructed other models of the problem...
An account of how a prisoner of war's diary was recently decoded. Donald Hill wrote his diary in a numerical code, disguised as a set of mathematical tables, while in Hong Kong during and after the Japanese invasion of 1941.
Space probes, like NASA's recent Pathfinder mission to Mars, have radio transmitters of only a few watts, but have to transmit pictures and scientific data across hundreds of millions of miles without the information being completely swamped by noise. Read about how coding theory helps.