evolution

According to Darwin, natural selection is the driving force of evolution. It's a beautifully simple idea, but given the thousands of years that are involved, nobody has ever seen it in action. So how can we tell whether or not natural selection occurs and which of our traits are a result of it? In this article Charlotte Mulcare uses milk to show how maths and stats can provide genetic answers.
Generalists can thrive in a world of specialists
How did we evolve our capacity for maths? Does maths piggy-back on our ability for language, or is it a completely separate faculty? Is it dependent on culture? Plus spoke to the cognitive psychologist Rosemary Varley to find some answers.
Is geometry hard-wired into our brain?
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?
Do you need language to do maths?
Researchers have used mathematical modelling to understand the evolution of the influenza virus.
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.
Neuropsychologist Brian Butterworth tells us about research showing that even newborn babies have a basic understanding of number. It seems we are all mathematicians!
'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.