The Enigma machine was once considered unbreakable, and the cracking of the "unbreakable code" by the allies changed the course of World War 2. This week, Plus talks to Nadia Baker from the Enigma Project about the history of codes and code-breaking, why the Enigma machine was considered unbreakable, the mathematics behind codes, and how it was finally cracked. The Enigma Project travels all over the United Kingdom and abroad, visiting over 100 schools and organisations, reaching over 12,000 people of all ages every year.
Bacon sandwiches, drinking while pregnant, obesity - health risks are a favourite with the media. But behind the simple numbers quoted in the headlines lies a huge and sophisticated body of statistical research. We talk to Professor Sheila Bird of the Biostatistics Unit in Cambridge about her work in public health and its impact on policy, and discuss bias in pharmaceutical studies, as recently highlighted by the controversy around antidepressants.
We talk to four researchers from UCL's centre for mathematics and physics in the life sciences and experimental biology (COMPLEX) about the role of maths in such fields as astrobiology, cancer modelling and biology.
We talk to Nira Chamberlain about his job as a modelling consultant involving aircraft carriers, telecommunication networks, staying slim and speaking French.
We talk to Professor Chris Budd about the greatest mathematician of all - Leonard Euler. We also talk about maths communication, maths in the food industry and the best mathematical pickup lines.