Physicists love symmetry, but they get even more excited about symmetry breaking. They even believe that many of the features of the world we live in are a result of it. What do they mean by that?

The fact that a sizeable proportion of the financial workforce is made up of physicists is one of the industry's best-kept secrets. We talk to Laura Tadrowski, who has made the leap from physics to finance.

How large are the forces acting on a gymnast swinging on the high bar?


It is thought that the next great advances in biology and medicine will be discovered with mathematics. As biology stands on the brink of becoming a theoretical science, Thomas Fink asks if there is more to this collaboration than maths acting as biology's newest microscope. Will theoretical biology lead to new and exciting maths, just as theoretical physics did in the last two centuries? And is there a mathematically elegant story behind life?

And the winner is...
These are busy times for Plus. Apart from celebrating our 50th issue by putting together a bumper collection of in-depth articles, news and reviews, we're also working on various special projects, some of which have already gone live, and some of which will reach you over the next few weeks and months. Here's a sneak preview of what's in store for 2009...
Chuck Gill caught the space bug as a child when watching Alan Shepherd launch into space. Since then he's worked as a US Air Force navigator, a satellite operator, and in the US intelligence service. These days he's busy reducing carbon emissions and preparing London for the 2012 Olympics. Plus went to see him to find out more about his career.
Mathematicians give green light for time machine
Over the last few years the words string theory have nudged their way into public consciousness. It's a theory of everything in which everything's made of strings — or something like that. But why strings? What do they do? Where did the idea come from and why do we need such a theory? David Berman has an equation-free introduction for beginners.
Ground breaking work in uncovering optimal funding mechanisms in financial markets