Mathematics


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Essay/History of Ideas

Infinity and beyond

Georg Cantor showed that some infinities are bigger than others. Did he assault mathematical wisdom or corroborate it?

A W Moore

Video/Mathematics

A brilliant ‘geometric ballet’ of sound, shape and symmetry on the theme of 180°

5 minutes

Essay/Mathematics

How to play mathematics

The world is full of mundane, meek, unconscious things embodying fiendishly complex mathematics. What can we learn from them?

Margaret Wertheim

Essay/Logic

What is logic?

Is logical thinking a way to discover or to debate? The answers from philosophy and mathematics define human knowledge

Catarina Dutilh Novaes

Video/History of Science

Energy is like children’s toys: often hiding out of sight, but never actually lost

3 minutes

Essay/Mathematics

Future tension

Facts about the past and present are either true or false. Can knowledge of the future offer the same degree of certainty?

Anthony Sudbery

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Idea/Logic

On vagueness, or, when is a heap of sand not a heap of sand?

Timothy Williamson

Essay/Mathematics

The problem with p-values

Academic psychology and medical testing are both dogged by unreliability. The reason is clear: we got probability wrong

David Colquhoun

Video/Mathematics

Maths notation is needlessly complex. It can and should be better

8 minutes

Video/Mathematics

Mesmerising fractals and space-filling curves give a window into infinity

3 minutes

Video/Mathematics

A history of nothing: how zero went from nil to something

4 minutes

Essay/Economics

The new astrology

By fetishising mathematical models, economists turned economics into a highly paid pseudoscience

Alan Jay Levinovitz

Idea/Logic

The great mystery of mathematics is its lack of mystery

Scott Aaronson

Idea/Cognition & Intelligence

How thinking about infinity changes kids’ brains on math

Sarah Scoles

Video/Mathematics

The pleasure of being fooled: inventor Mark Setteducati makes maths into magic

4 minutes

Video/Mathematics

Snowflake formulas, dice odds and other satisfying maths of the everyday

2 minutes

Video/Beauty & Aesthetics

Discover the secret geometry of beauty – the mathematics of form and pattern

4 minutes

Video/Mathematics

Why is a mathematician studying fungus?

3 minutes

Video/Mathematics

Aerodynamics researchers play with air and water to make amazing flying machines

4 minutes

Essay/Epidemiology

The calculus of contagion

In the battle against disease, the difference between a raging epidemic and a passing fever comes down to a single number

Adam Kucharski

Essay/Logic

What are the chances?

From a big lottery win to a disaster like the Titanic, unlikely stuff happens all the time. But can we summon it at will?

David Hand

Video/Philosophy of Science

The elegance of mathematics meets the breathtaking complexity of nature

4 minutes

Essay/Beauty & Aesthetics

Beauty ≠ truth

Scientists prize elegant theories, but a taste for simplicity is a treacherous guide. And it doesn’t even look good

Philip Ball

Video/Beauty & Aesthetics

Maybe I’m not even here, and other crazy, beautiful stuff physics told me

3 minutes

Essay/Logic

The mathematical world

Some philosophers think maths exists in a mysterious other realm. They’re wrong. Look around: you can see it

James Franklin

Essay/Knowledge

A drop in the sea

What are the odds that Jesus rose or Moses parted the waves? Even with the best witnesses, vanishingly small

Lawrence Shapiro

Essay/Physics

A binding light

Laser beams can tie themselves in knots, just like electrical cords. But what does this tendency to tangle illuminate?

Anton Desyatnikov

Essay/Mathematics

The sultan’s Sudoku

Order and conformity make for satisfying number puzzles, but eerie countries. Welcome, Daniel Tammet, to Oman

Daniel Tammet