Is this the real life or just fantasy?

It may not be possible to know if we are living in a simulation — but perhaps we don’t need certainty. Standpoint magazine, Dec 2018, p.78.

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Escaping the Moscow ghetto

Now a professor at UC Berkeley, Edward Frenkel was once a brilliant Russian teenager rejected by Moscow State University simply because he was classed as Jewish. Standpoint magazine, Oct 2018, p.55.

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The heroes who came up with zero

Zero — part of the ‘place-value’ system for writing numbers — came to Europe from India via the Arabic world. But the ancient Sumerians invented it! Standpoint magazine, July/August 2018, p. 68

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An Italian take on time and space

My review of The Order of Time by Carlo Rovelli. Standpoint magazine, June 2018, p. 56

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Numbers Game (contd.)

How the Monty Hall problem exposes a human tendency to stick with difficult decisions. Standpoint magazine, March 2018, p. 6.

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March is the cruellest month

At one time the New Year started in March, in China it’s February 16 this year, and the British tax year starts on April 6. Why the differences? Standpoint magazine, February 2018, p. 57.

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Acting the goat with the Greeks

Innumeracy at the top of European politics beggared Greece and may now vitiate Brexit negotiations, Standpoint magazine, December 2017, p. 69

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Indiana Jones and the table of Babel

An ancient mathematical tablet from about 1800 BC shows Babylonian trigonometrists had long anticipated the Greeks, Standpoint magazine, November 2017, p. 59.

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Dating Dilemmas

The problem of dating Easter and its relationship to Passover. Standpoint magazine, April 2017, p. 51

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The One-Eyed Maths Monster

Leonard Euler became the presiding genius at the Academy of St Petersburg founded by Peter the Great, then in Berlin under Frederick the Great, before returning to St Petersburg under Empress Catherine the Great. Standpoint magazine, July/August 2016, p. 85.

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It wasn’t Pi in the sky after all

This article about young mathematical genius Ramanujan (1887–1920) coincides with the release of  The Man Who Knew Infinity, a new movie about his life. Standpoint magazine, April 2016, p. 70

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Standing the test of spacetime

Einstein’s General Relativity, inspired by a thought experiment, celebrates its centenary this month, Standpoint magazine, November 2015, p. 75.

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Fiddler and the proof

A connection between the Yiddish world of Fiddler on the Roof and one of the great quests in modern mathematics. Standpoint Magazine, July/Aug 2015, p. 89.

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The ultimate space explorer

The brilliantly creative Alexander Grothendieck died recently after reshaping mathematics and then withdrawing from society. Standpoint Magazine, Jan/Feb 2015, p. 89

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The prime numbers have it

New mathematics prizes show the public that the subject is constantly renewing itself with new ideas.  Standpoint Magazine, September 2014, p. 79

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The Fields Medal is the greatest prize in maths

The Fields Medal is awarded every four years, and the 2014 winners are announced today. This is the mathematics equivalent to the Nobel Prize. Daily Telegraph, 13 August 2014, p. 18

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What is it that makes mathematics beautiful?

A UCL study on brain imaging points to mathematical beauty in the mind of the beholder, and this brief essay gives examples. The Independent, 13 Feb 2014.

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Underrated: Tycho Brahe

Tycho Brahe — the greatest observational astronomer before the advent of the telescope. Standpoint Magazine, Jan/Feb 2014, p. 95.

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Overrated: Claudius Ptolemy

Did the author of Ptolemy’s famous Almagest make his own observations, or make them up? Standpoint Magazine, Jan/Feb 2014, p.94.

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The genius who beat Einstein to it

An essay on Henri Poincaré, inspired by Jeremy Gray’s new scientific biography, Standpoint Magazine, March 2013, p. 75.

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The Olympian and his Thunderbolt

A review of Ray Monk’s new biography of Robert Oppenheimer, Standpoint Magazine, December 2012, p. 67.

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It’s not elementary, my dear Watson

Compares the ancient belief in four elements to the modern belief in four elementary forces, Standpoint Magazine, October 2012, p. 68.

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Accelerating the debate on motion

Compares Einstein’s depth of thought with the lower level sophistication in modern finance, Standpoint Magazine, July/August 2012, p. 83.

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A light shining from Babylon

Compares the search for the Higgs boson to the Babylonian discovery of how to predict eclipses, Standpoint Magazine, May 2012, p 72.

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The Mathematician’s Tale

In The New Millennium Tales by Kevin Lavery and Reg Starkey, November 2011.

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Removing The Neutrino Anomaly

Discusses the apparent speed of neutrinos being faster than light, Standpoint Magazine, November 2011, p. 68.

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The genius of geometry

Places the mystery of Euclid’s life in a modern context, Standpoint Magazine, July/August 2011, p. 83.

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On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

Describes the move from war-time code breaking at Bletchley to modern methods of encryption and GCHQ, Standpoint Magazine, September 2010, p. 64.

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Maths Class

On the sensible way to teach arithmetic and elementary algebra, Standpoint Magazine, April 2010, p. 13.

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Experts and Axioms

Describes how experts have been wrong in mathematics, and could be wrong on the global warming debate, Standpoint Magazine, January/February 2010, p. 13.

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Unsound Science

Criticises the government’s recent misguided proposal to evaluate the social and economic impact of scientific research, Standpoint Magazine, December 2009, p. 10–11.

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Maths Moves in Mysterious Ways

Describes the ability of mathematics to explain nature’s patterns, and outlines its development from the Greek world to the Arabic world, and later to Europe and America, Standpoint Magazine, October 2009, p. 89.

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Ditch the new maths for good old Euclid

On the sad loss of Euclidean geometry as a foundation for logical reasoning, Standpoint Magazine, November 2008, p. 54.

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