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.

Last Weekend: Do you want to know a secret? The only way is Bucks

Careless talk costs lives, but careful listening can save souls by the millions: that is the message at the Buckinghamshire home of the codebreakers who helped to turn around the Second World War and hasten Nazi Germany's fall.

Investment Column: SThree has the skills to keep growing

Hyder Consulting; Gooch & Housego

The maths of AV: A small step towards a fairer vote

The Yes and No to AV teams both say their voting system is fairer. But which is? We asked mathematician Tony Crilly to do the sums

Leaked memo reveals 'discovery of God particle'

It is the most elusive subatomic particle in the universe and its discovery could revolutionise nuclear physics.

Britons 'waste an average of £195 on mobile bills'

British mobile phone users are wasting an average of £195 a year on their mobile phone bills because they are on the wrong contract, a new report has found.

Professor Frank Bonsall: Leading mathematician of the post-war years who led research into functional analysis

Frank Bonsall was a distinguished mathematician and a significant figure in the mathematical life of the United Kingdom in the post-war years. His particular interest was functional analysis, a subject that unifies different parts of mathematical analysis within a single more abstract framework, and he was instrumental in raising its profile, particularly in Scotland and the north of England. His research work was characterised by its aesthetic simplicity, and his ability to focus on key ideas and strip out unnecessary complications.

Minor British Institutions: The cat flap

The cat flap, besides being especially popular in Britain, has claims to be our invention; by Isaac Newton, no less, who cut a hole in the door to his Cambridge rooms to allow his cat to come and go without interrupting the Newtonian cogitations. He then cut a smaller hole for its kittens.

Boyle, By Michael Hunter

Though his discoveries have been overshadowed by his younger contemporary Isaac Newton, this lucid and absorbing life reminds us that Robert Boyle "stands at the roots of British empiricism".

'I'm a writer. I've come to terms with that'

Gaynor Arnold tells James Kidd about her late career change, and how a Booker nomination can change your life

Carol Vorderman: When x + y = z, the goddess Algebra smiles, and I worship her

The Cambridge graduate explains her passion for the discipline that unlocks the secrets of our world

All the President's MythBusters

It's the TV show that's encouraging people to think about physics, history and things that go boom. Plus, says Nick Harding, Barack Obama is a big fan

Digital Digest: 15/11/2010

The Best Of The Web

Professor Benoit Mandelbrot: Mathematician whose development of fractal geometry increased our understanding of nature's complexity

The mathematician Benoît Mandelbrot is best known for his work in the field of fractal geometry. He told me that when he was seeking a word to describe his geometry, thumbing through his son's Latin dictionary he came across the word fractus, which translated as "broken, fractional, irregular". The most famous fractal is the Mandelbrot set, which generates a complex structure from simple rules.

Father of fractals dies at 85

The man whose mathematical method revolutionised our understanding of everything from economics to cauliflowers and coastlines has died of cancer at the age of 85.

Leading article: A beautiful mind

Scientific and mathematical geniuses are distinguished by a particular elegance of mind. Fiendish complexity becomes something the non-specialist can comprehend. Rarer still is the scientist whose mental elegance creates, or reveals, something of physical beauty. Watson and Crick might have staked a claim for the double helix that is the molecular structure of DNA.

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There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
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X Factor winner Ben Haenow has scored his first Christmas number one
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James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special
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Claudia Winkleman and co-host Tess Daly at the Strictly Come Dancing final
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Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
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Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick