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.

St Paul's adds a helping hand

An £18,000-a-year private school is giving specialist maths classes to talented pupils from the state sector. Liz Lightfoot reports on a calculating strategy

Tim Montgomerie: Key test for Cameron's belief in localism

The most important thing that happens today is that Liz Truss is confirmed as the candidate for South West Norfolk. Liz is exactly the kind of MP who will enrich the Commons: intelligent, an independent thinker, she doesn't come from a conventional Tory background but is nonetheless a champion of grassroots Conservatives. I hate to think how many good people have been discouraged from political service because of the intrusive public examination she has put up with over recent weeks.

"Turing's Test": Meet the actors

New Alan Turing drama to debut on The Independent

A fictionalised account of the final moments in the life of Alan Turing is to be premiered via The Independent website this weekend.

Time, By Eva Hoffman

The Russian poet Joseph Brodsky once described prison as a place where there was not enough Space and far too much Time. Although the hours in a day remain as constant as the turning of the Earth, the pace of time varies according to the biology of every living creature, and changes with age even within our own species. This is an experience puzzled over by philosophers, calculated by mathematicians, and analysed by psychologists. Eva Hoffman, one of our most lucid thinkers, explores cosmology and physiology, neuro-science and the deepest reaches of the unconscious in order to probe the nature of this mysterious dimension.

Wave hello to the surf genius with Asperger's

At just 20, Clay Marzo is already seen as the most talented surfer of his generation. A new film explains how his condition could have given him a unique edge over his competitors. Guy Adams watches in awe

Seti: The hunt for ET

Scientists have been searching for aliens for 50 years, scanning the skies with an ever-more sophisticated array of radio telescopes and computers. Known as Seti, the search marks its half-century this month. Jennifer Armstrong and Andrew Johnson examine its close – and not so close – encounters

The Infinities, By John Banville

A dying mathematician discovers he can play god

Petition prompts No. 10 apology over code breaker Turing

Gordon Brown issued an apology to a Second World War code-breaker who committed suicide after being found guilty of gross indecency with another man.

Bertrand Russell: The thinking person's superhero

'Logicomix', the story of Bertrand Russell's struggles with philosophy and his sanity, takes the graphic novel into remarkable new territory. John Walsh is gripped

Thousands sign Turing petition

Thousands have signed a Downing Street petition calling for a posthumous apology for the case Alan Turing, who designed a machine that cracked German codes during the Second World War and is considered the father of computing.

Dawkins calls for official apology for Turing

Richard Dawkins last night joined the campaign to win an official apology for Alan Turing, the code-breaking genius and father of the modern computer who committed suicide in 1954 after being prosecuted for being homosexual.

The Solitude of Prime Numbers, By Paulo Giordano

The Solitude of Prime Numbers hints at the scientific background of its 27-year-old Italian author. Paolo Giordano is completing a PhD in Physics in Turin, while also winning the country's most prestigious literary prize, Premio Strega, selling over one million copies all over the world, and writing short stories and columns for the Italian press.

Erin Norman: in praise of Bertrand Russell

Do you remember the excitement of discovering someone who shocks you, inspires you, makes you laugh in wonderment, makes you nod in agreement?

Observations: The evolution of Darwin's festival

Charles Darwin ignored received wisdom when he wrote On the Origin of Species and, to mark the bicentenary of his birth, his hometown Shrewsbury is hosting a celebration that bends the conventions of the arts festival. Shift Time, which runs in the town from today until Sunday 12 July, calls itself "a festival of ideas", and is welcoming not only international artists, but scientists and renowned thinkers, too.

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Day In a Page

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
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
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