biology

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.

The first ever National Biology Week is happening between October 13th and 19th 2012. It's organised by the Society of Biology and there'll be events around the country giving everyone the chance to learn about the second-most fascinating science (if you count maths as a science). But if you'd rather stay in and cuddle up with your laptop here are our favourite Plus articles on maths and biology.

Some things are so familiar to us that they are simply expected, and we may forget to wonder why they should be that way in the first place. Sex ratios are a good example of this: the number of men and women in the world is roughly equal, but why should this be the case? A simple mathematical argument provides an answer.