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.

Mandelbrot, father of fractals, dies at 85

Benoit Mandelbrot, the Polish-born mathematician who played a central role in Chaos theory, has died at his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts, aged 85, of cancer.

Maths prodigy Arran Fernandez is the youngest Cambridge fresher since 1773

Boy, 15, follows trail blazed by Pitt the Younger – but dad will take him to lectures

Boffinology, By Justin Pollard

After encountering the weird odds and ends in this book of scientific quirks – the "Halifax gibbet", invented for the dispatch of Yorkshire miscreants, was a predecessor of the guillotine; heroin, invented by the Bayer company, takes its name from heroisch because it made one user feel heroic; an Indiana mathematician persuaded his state to grant him a patent for pi at the incorrect value of 3.2 – the reader may recall a TV programme that specialises in unlikely revelations.

God didn't create universe, says Hawking

The universe was not created by God, scientist Stephen Hawking has said in his new book.

Official: just 20 moves needed to solve a Rubik's Cube

To be precise: there are 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 different possible configurations of the coloured squares on any Rubik's Cube. Yet now researchers have calculated that you're never more than 20 moves away from solving the famous puzzle.

Russian mathematician rejects $1m prize

A Russian mathematician has rejected a $1m (£700,000) prize for solving one of the most challenging problems because he considers it unfair.

Colombia set to elect the world's first Green leader

A former philosopher with some unusual policy ideas looks certain to take the country's presidency

Book mixing math and crochet wins UK 'odd' prize

A book charting the frontier between handicrafts and geometry on Friday won Britain's quirkiest literary award, the Diagram Prize for year's oddest book title.

Shy maths genius leaves million dollar prize money on the table

Russian recluse holed up in apartment urged to give unclaimed reward to charity

Keynes, By Peter Clarke

Shares in John Maynard Keynes are rising, and Peter Clarke's elegant, succinct biography could not be more timely. The first half is a chronological account of Keynes's life, reminding us what a polymath the man was. As well as the most influential economist of the 20th century, he was a mathematician and philosopher whose first published work was a treatise on probability, an essayist and journalist, an adviser to governments, and friend of most of the leading intellectuals of his day. (Bertrand Russell described him as the cleverest man he ever knew, and said that every time he argued with Keynes he felt as though he was taking his life in his hands.)

Last Night's Television: Vampires: Why They Bite, BBC3<br />Horizon, BBC2

My relationship with Horizon has been a bit rocky of late. We were pretty much inseparable back in the Eighties, but recently it's been nothing but bickering and rows. I've often thought about cutting my losses entirely and going for a clean break, perhaps even dating other science strands less obsessed with cosmetics and celebrities. The only problem is that there aren't any out there, and certainly none that can match the memories I have with Horizon. Also, every now and then, something clicks and I remember what made me fall in love in the first place. It happened last night, with Stephen Cooter's "To Infinity and Beyond", a dizzyingly enjoyably attempt to net the ineffable. It won't, I think, have been one for the real puritans, those for whom a Seventies Open University physics module remains the apogee of science broadcasting. But I thought it was close to exemplary in its quiet wit and patience and relish for paradox.

Seeing Further, Edited by Bill Bryson

This year the Royal Society celebrates its 350th birthday. The "Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge" was founded on 28 November 1660, when a dozen "ingenious and curious gentlemen" met at Gresham College, London, after a lecture by Christopher Wren, the 28-year-old Professor of Astronomy, and decided to found "a Colledge for the Promoting of Physico-Mathematicall Experimentall Learning." Among the signatories of that historic memorandum were Wren, chemist Robert Boyle, clergyman and polymath John Wilkins, Sir Robert Moray, and mathematician William, Viscount Brouncker.

The core of truth behind Sir Isaac Newton's apple

The manuscript that gave rise to one of science's best-known anecdotes is now online.

The schizophrenic genius whose worst fears came true

Walter Sartory made a fortune in the markets, but it never made him happy and was the motive for his murder, writes Guy Adams
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

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Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
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Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

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Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
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Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

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Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

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Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little