It's not often the very first person you meet in a movie is a mathematician. The second, third and fourth people on screen also being mathematicians is even rarer. But the movie Travelling Salesman is a rare movie: not only are almost all of the characters mathematicians, the central plot also hinges on the solution of one of the most important problems in mathematics.
Struggling to solve today's sudoku? Is your tried and tested method hitting a brick wall and you feel like you are going around in circles? New research might make you feel a bit better: you might not necessarily be stuck... perhaps you are just in a patch of transient chaos on your way to the solution.
If it looks like the Higgs... and it smells like the Higgs... have we finally found it? Most physicists agree it's safe to say we've finally observed the elusive Higgs boson. And perhaps that is not all....
Quantum physics is hard. And weird. There's just no getting around it. It takes Plus a lot of tea and biscuits to write anything about the quantum world. But since discovering John Polkinghorne's book it thankfully has become a little bit easier.
On a rainy night last month, in an ancient hall down a hidden alleyway in the centre of London, Bernard Silverman, Chief Scientific Advisor to the Home Office, revealed a surprising secret... ancient mathematics is at the heart of a very modern game of hide and seek.
Does it pay to be nice? Yes, it does. And we're not just talking about that warm fuzzy feeling inside, it pays in evolutionary terms of genetic success too. We talk to Martin Nowak about how the mathematics of evolution prove that being nice is unavoidable.
It does pay to be nice if you repeatedly deal with the same person. Martin Nowak explains why cooperation also wins in matters of reputation, neighbourliness and family. But can evolutionary game theory save the world?
Sometimes it doesn't feel like the world is a very nice place. The news is filled with war, political conflict, crime – it seems we just can't get along. So it is very cheering indeed to read a book dedicated entirely to convincing you that we are actually very helpful to one another and that the whole world as we know it is only possible thanks to cooperation. And surprisingly the authors don't use psychology or sociology to make their argument – they use maths.