### Unintended consequences of mathematics

Mathematicians (and *Plus* authors) John Barrow, Colva Roney-Dougal and Marcus du Sautoy will be discussing unintended consequences in mathematics with Melvyn Bragg on his BBC Radio 4 programme *In Our Time* tomorrow morning at 9am.

Many of the most exciting developments in science is is when knowledge from one area such as pure mathematics unexpectedly crosses boundaries to provide deeper understanding of a previously unconnected problem in another area. The programme will explore many such unintended consequences, including how the ancient purely geometric study of conic sections turned out to be vital in understanding the orbits of the planets, how Einstein used the theoretical concepts from non-Euclidean geometry for his groundbreaking work on special relativity, and how the number theory provided the security necessary for our digital age.

You can read more from John, Colva and Marcus on *Plus*, as well as
articles on conic sections and planetary orbits, non-euclidean geometry and special relativity, and number theory and chryptography.

*posted by Rachel @ 2:09 PM*