News from the world of Maths
It requires only a little processing power, but it's a giant leap for robotkind: engineers at the University of Southampton have developed a way of equipping spacecraft and satellites with human-like reasoning capabilities, which will enable them to make important decisions for themselves.
If you're in London on Tuesday the 15th of February, then why not take a journey into other worlds with John D. Barrow at the Royal Institution? Barrow will tell a story that revolves around a single extraordinary fact: that Albert Einstein's famous theory of relativity describes a series of entire universes.
Here's a fact: take the year you were born in (only the last two digits, as in '85), add your age and then (probably) add 1. The answer is ... 111!
This seems to have been making the rounds lately. Some people marvel at the fact that the answer is always 111 no matter how old you are and others think that 2011 is the only year in which this will work. Looks like mathematical magic!
Quantum mechanics is usually associated with weird and counterintuitive phenomena we can't observe in real life. But it turns out that quantum processes can occur in living organisms, too, and with very concrete consequences. Some species of birds, for example, use quantum mechanics to navigate. Last year we talked to physicists Simon Benjamin and Erik Gauger, and found out that studying these little creatures' quantum compass may help us achieve the holy grail of computer science: building a quantum computer.
It's been nearly 18 months since the Large Hadron Collider at CERN started up and scientists are eagerly awaiting their first glimpse into the cosmic mysteries it was designed to explore. But when can we realistically expect the first ground-breaking discoveries to come through? Last week, John Ellis, outgoing leader of the theory division at CERN, addressed an audience of physicists at the University of Cambridge to update them on the current state of play. Plus went along and also managed to catch Ellis for a quick interview.