Physicist and cosmologist Paul Davies has made an unusual move into the infant discipline of astrobiology. He tells Plus about his interest in the big questions: what is life, how would we recognise aliens - and are they all around us?
When we finally meet the Martians, John Conway believes they are going to want to talk mathematics. He talks to Plus about his Life game, artificial life and what we will have in common with extraterrestrials.
'Of the myriad strategems I employ to avoid useful work, the one I most enjoy is to envision how scientists of earlier eras would have made use of modern computers.' John L. Casti tells us how today's mathematicians are using computers to carry on the work of turn-of-the-century polymath d'Arcy Wentworth Thompson, who showed how mathematical functions could be applied to the
shape of one organism to continuously transform it into other, physically similar organisms.