|Plus magazine (http://plus.maths.org) celebrated ten years of bringing mathematics to life for a steadily-growing internet readership in 2007. The free online magazine opens a door to the world of maths, with all its beauty and applications, by providing accessible articles from top mathematicians and science writers on topics as diverse as art, medicine, cosmology and sport.
Teachers and students have always formed an important part of the Plus readership. All Plus articles are accessible to someone doing A level mathematics, and many to GCSE students, but they go far beyond the school syllabus. Many articles explore the vast range of sometimes surprising application of maths, from space flight to architecture or computer music. There is a rolling news desk exploring news from the world of maths and finding the maths behind mainstream news. Here you can learn about climate models, the maths of bird flu, or the latest theories describing our universe, and many other current topics. Other articles delve into the history and philosophy behind the formulae, revealing not just the maths, but also fascinating stories of human triumph or tragedy, and the boundaries of our knowledge.
Plus often tackles ideas that are far more complex than what’s encountered at school. The talent of Plus authors – who include Stephen Hawking and Marcus du Sautoy to name just two – lies in illuminating these ideas in a light and entertaining style, often without the use of formulae. But many articles do contain explicit maths and lend themselves well to use as classroom investigations, or as a starting-point for a lesson. For example, recent issues have included explicit treatment of Euler’s polyhedron formula, the area of a circle, and the aerodynamics of footballs.
To save teachers and students the task of searching through our vast ten-year archive, we have recently introduced our teacher packages, bringing together a collection of relevant articles on a particular curriculum topic. Differential equations and mathematical modelling are the topics that have been covered so far. The packages make an ideal resource for students working on projects and teachers wanting to offer their students a deeper insight into the wonderful world of maths.
Another asset for teachers is the collection of career interviews with people who have, directly or indirectly, ended up in a job using mathematics. The surprisingly diverse range of over 40 interviewees is a great answer to the questions "why should I study mathematics and what can I do with it later?"
To students who like to get active, Plus is now offering the opportunity to join its acclaimed list of authors. The Plus new writers award invites secondary school and sixth form students to write about the life and/or work of any mathematician of their choice. Beside the glory of being published in Plus in June 2008, winners will receive signed copies of popular maths books and an Apple iPod. Details can be found on http://plus.maths.org/competition.
Over the last ten years Plus has grown steadily and now receives over 200 000 site visits a month. Plus is published quarterly with weekly news items coming out between issues. It is part of the Millennium Mathematics Project, which also produces the popular maths website NRICH (http://nrich.maths.org). One of our most important aims is to nurture the mathematicians of the future – so if you are a teacher and haven’t encountered Plus before, come and visit on http://plus.maths.org and spread the word to your students.
- Click here to read the current issue (Issue 45)
- Click here to read more about the Plus new writers award.