### Video: Our endless fascination with pi

Credit: CC0 Public Domain For centuries, pi—the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter—has fascinated mathematicians and scientists. The number, which is infinite but never falls into a repeating pattern, is used in formulae throughout the sciences. For more perspective on the significance and fascination with the number, for Pi Day (3.14) the Gazette…

### ‘Maths anxiety’ causing fear and despair in children as young as six

Children as young as six feel fear, rage and despair as a result of “mathematics anxiety”, a condition which can cause physical symptoms and behaviour problems in class, according to a study. Pupils in both primary and secondary school can find themselves locked in a cycle of despair, suffering from anxiety which harms their maths…

### The Guardian view on humanities degrees: art for society’s sake | Editorial

The number of students studying languages, including English, at British universities fell by 35% in the decade to 2017; history and philosophy saw a reduction of 21%. While some humanities subjects have seen increases – art and design, for example, is 6% up – these are tiny compared to huge rises in the numbers studying…

### Probability of catastrophic geomagnetic storm lower than estimated

From left to right: Álvaro Corral, David Moriña, Pedro Puig, Isabel Serra. Credit: Luca Tancredi (CRM) Three mathematicians and a physicist from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), the Mathematics Research Centre (CRM) and the Barcelona Graduate School of Mathematics (BGSMath) propose a mathematical model to make reliable estimations of the probability of geomagnetic storms…

### Solve it did you? Speak Yoda how to

Earlier today I set you the following puzzle about the peculiar grammar of Yoda, Star Wars’ pointy-eared Jedi master. Yoda inverts pairs of phrases before speaking. If Yoda says “Believe you I don’t”, we know what he means is “I don’t believe you.” Here’s a way to mark up a Yoda sentence to recover its…

### Solve it can you? Speak Yoda how to

Today the British linguistics community is launching a campaign to make language analysis – the study of patterns in language – part of mainstream school education. To celebrate this campaign, about which more below, here’s a puzzle about Yoda, the cuddly Star Wars Jedi Master. Ready are you? Unless you’ve been hiding in a galaxy…

### Do all networks obey the scale-free law? Maybe not

Credit: CC0 Public Domain As Benjamin Franklin once joked, death and taxes are universal. Scale-free networks may not be, at least according to a new study from CU Boulder. The research challenges a popular, two-decade-old theory that networks of all kinds, from Facebook and Twitter to the interactions of genes in yeast cells, follow a…

### Disclosing bed bug infestation to potential tenants can save landlords money

Bed bug (Cimex lectularius). Credit: CDC/ Harvard University Laws that require landlords to disclose bed bug infestations help combat the spread of the insects and protect the health of potential tenants. According to a new study, these laws also lead to cost savings, on average, for landlords within five years. Researchers in the Perelman School…

### Did you solve it? The world's strangest families

Earlier today I set you the following five puzzles. 1) Anna’s father has four daughters. The names of the first three daughters are April, May and June. What’s the name of the fourth daughter? Solution Anna, of course! Yes, it’s an old chestnut… 2) Two men marry each other’s mothers. What is the relationship between…

### Can you solve it? The world's strangest families

Family relationships have provided material for many classic puzzles since at least medieval times. They make for fun problems because they require no technical knowledge and often present entertaining or curious set-ups. Here are a selection of five of my favourites of the genre. 1) Anna’s father has four daughters. The names of the first…