## News from the world of Maths

The 2012 Nobel Prize for Physics has been awarded to Serge Haroche and David J. Wineland for ground-breaking work in quantum optics. By probing the world at the smallest scales they've shed light on some of the biggest mysteries of physics and paved the way for quantum computers and super accurate clocks.

If you're bored with your holiday snaps, then why not turn them into fractals? A new result by US mathematicians shows that you can turn any reasonable 2D shape into a fractal, and the fractals involved are very special too. They are intimately related to the famous Mandelbrot set.

The laws of symmetry are unforgiving, but a team of researchers from the US have come up with a pattern-producing technique that seems to cheat them. The new technique is called *moiré nanolithography* and the researchers hope that it will find useful applications in the production of solar panels and many other optical devices.

Good news! The first episode of a new maths podcast, Relatively Prime, came out this week and it's a good 'un. Host Samuel Hansen has taken the plunge by interviewing our favourite statistician, David Spiegelhalter, and a host of others to explore some fascinating mathematical tools: game theory, risk and relief geometry.

Wheelchair rugby is gearing up to the medal events on Sunday. If you placed a player of this impressive game next to a physics professor you probably wouldn't have much trouble spotting who's who. Yet, there's an intriguing connection between rugby and one of the more puzzling areas of physics.

*We will rock you*. Any structure, no matter how solid, has its own natural frequency at which it likes to vibrate, and if that happens to be in tune with the people's, you can end up with a dangerous sway and ultimate disaster.

One thing that's characterised the London 2012 Games is its great atmosphere — and that's largely down to the tens of thousands of volunteers who've donated their time, effort and enthusiasm to the Games. For most of them this will probably be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. But it's also possible to be part of big sporting events like this one and earn money at the same time...