One of the greatest advances in the biomedical sciences has been the unravelling of our genetic code. This new understanding sheds light on what makes organisms function and how they are related to each other, helps to combat diseases, and to convict criminals. But it also poses great mathematical challenges: the genetic revolution is an information explosion which can only be tamed using mathematical methods.
How do you judge the risks and benefits of new medical treatments, or of lifestyle choices? With a finite health care budget, how do you decide which treatments should be made freely available on the NHS? Historically, decisions like these have been made on the basis of doctors' individual experiences with how these treatments perform, but over recent decades the approach to answering these
questions has become increasingly rational.
Maths is all about patterns and rhythms, so it's no surprise that there's plenty of maths in art. Whether it's the visual or the performing arts, maths can be a tool, an inspiration, or simply something that's naturally contained within the structures and patterns.
The year 2009 was International Year of Astronomy, and to celebrate, we asked you what you'd most like to know about your Universe in a series of online polls. You came up with seven questions, which we put to world-leading astronomers and cosmologists. Find their answers in seven articles, as well as some podcasts.
The notion of proof lies at the very heart of maths: it's when it comes to proving things that mathematicians let lose their genius and creativity, and in the process often discover unexpected surprises or deep philosophical issues. But proofs can also be daunting. So to help you and your students along, we've brought together a range of Plus articles on proofs.