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- Articles by John D. Barrow

What shape of cone maximises the ice cream to wafer ratio?

If you are a flower then April is allegedly the cruellest month, but if you are a student of any sort then I'm sure you would have picked June.

John D. Barrow tells us how to get the best view!

John Barrow gives us an overview, from Aristotle's ideas to Cantor's never-ending tower of mathematical infinities, and from shock waves to black holes.

A simple question to ask about kayak races is whether having lots of paddlers helps or slows the boat down? The kayak with two paddlers has twice as many "engines" to power it but it also has twice as much weight to drag through the water. Which is the dominant factor?

If you look at the pattern of rowers in a racing four or eight rowing boat then you expect to find them positioned in a symmetrical fashion, alternately right-left, right-left as you go from one end of the boat to the other. However, the regularity of the rower's positions hides a significant asymmetry that affects the way the boat will move through the water.

If you manage a large organisation, then people will come and go. There are always decisions to make about promoting people, promising newcomers versus experienced middle managers, all of whom are aspiring to move up the corporate ladder. But is it better to promote the least competent rather than the most competent? Some new research suggests that it may be.

Table tennis first became an Olympic sport in 1988, but changed its scoring system in 2001 to make matches more exciting for spectators. But how does the new system compare to the old one in terms of your chances of winning?