biology

This inspiring conference featured speakers from Africa, the US, the Caribbean and the UK. Here are some highlights.

A new study suggests that monkeys have a basic grasp of probabilities.

Simple mathematical rules can make for some interesting psychedelic science.

If you want to climb vertical walls you need very large feet — or be as small as a gecko.

A model of the interaction between predators and prey explains why sometimes frogs appear to eat snakes.

Does the ability to predict the future define the fundamental difference between living and inanimate matter?

How stupid systems can use clever ways of finding things.

The division of plant cells is governed by their shape – just one example of how maths may reveal the fundamental laws underlying biology.

A team of Australian researchers has delivered dire news for polar ecosystems, predicting that in some regions biodiversity may be reduced by as much as a third within decades. It's the result of a tipping point induced by global warming.

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Deciding who is to blame and who should pay for the financial crisis will be a hot topic at the G8 next week. Financial mathematics received a lot of bad press in the aftermath of the crunch and many believe that it was the popularity of mathematical models – often borrowed from physics — that put the financial system at risk. But now models borrowed from biology are helping us understand how this risk might be reduced.