Life and Style

Johanes Kepler, who was born on 27 December 1771, was born near Stuttgart and made his foray into astronomy after he worked as a maths teacher in Graz, Austria - where he became an associate of Prince Hans Ulrich von Eggenberg.

Amerigo Vespucci was born in 1454

Paradise lust: the man who sexed up America

He had two continents named after himself and thrilled Europe with the salacious tales of what he saw there. But, 500 years on, can we trust Amerigo Vespucci's accounts? Peter Popham discovers the full story

Album: Graham Reynolds, The Difference Engine (Innova)

Graham Reynolds is the quintessential modern composer, able to turn his hand to anything from rock to ballet to movie scores to jazz.

Harkaway says: 'I used desperately to want to be a brooding hero from literature, but I'm optimistic, healthy and fair-haired.'

One Minute With: Nick Harkaway, novelist

Where are you now and what can you see?

Festival of the Spoken Nerd,
Bloomsbury Theatre, London

If there was a theme to Festival of the Spoken Nerd's mix of science and comedy tonight then it was pyrotechnics. From a tale of homemade napalm to a demonstration of a standing wave flame tube there were flashes and bangs aplenty, if no explosive end result.

Michael Gove has been using his wife's email account, known as the 'Mrs Blurt'

Michael Gove brands ICT curriculum 'a mess'

ICT in England's schools is a "mess" and must be radically revamped to prepare pupils for the future, Michael Gove has said.

Between The Covers: New Year detox, The maths of The Simpsons, and the year ahead

Your weekly guide to what's really going on in the world of books

Nine Lessons and Carols for Godless People, Bloomsbury Theatre, London

"It's not overlong, it's value for money!" exclaimed Robin Ince at the end of the second night of his third series of seasonal rationalist jamborees, celebrations that are akin to the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures with jingle bells on.

The Devotion of Suspect X, By Keigo Higashino

Unbearable tension in a Tokyo tale

Leading article: United by knowledge

Nostalgia for a return to the Victorian era is usually prompted by a desire to regain the discipline of a less liberal and cosseted period and a more rigorous and stricter education system.

The Roots, Hammersmith Apollo, London

Few groups have the musical courage of The Roots. Philadelphia's favourite hip-hop sons approach a genre overrun with blandness and imitation, with the intelligence and precision of a mathematician, combined with an alchemist's passion for experimentation. What other group, regardless of genre, would not only employ a full-time sousaphone player but start their show with a solo from him? It's hard to imagine anyone else having the nerve, much less the talent, to make it work.

Leading article: Choices for the future

Countering the bad news about the continuing decline of traditional modern languages is this year's sharp rise in the number of those taking maths and the sciences. These subjects have seen a 6 per cent increase or more in entries – significantly more in the case of chemistry. As for university applications, physics is back in the top 10 subjects for the first time in almost 10 years.

Katy Guest: Mumsnetters have a code, and they are not alone, BTW

Look away now, all of you who thought that SMOG was an acronym for a society of geeks called the Secret Masters of Gaming.

The enduring myth of music and maths

Is there really a link between melodic and mathematic ability? Think carefully before buying those 'Mozart effect' CDs, says Tim Gowers

Dr Dee, Palace Theatre, Manchester<br/>The Crash of the Elysium, MediaCity UK, Salford<br/>Biophilia, Campfield Market Hall, Manchester

Damon Albarn's opera makes an ambitious attempt to resurrect the spirit of a once important Elizabethan courtier

Boyd Tonkin: Marathon authors run for their lives

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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen
RuPaul interview: The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head

RuPaul interview

The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head