We use roads to drive about, but imagine someone builds a handy shortcut that everyone uses.  The shortcut works but causes traffic jams which will slow rather than speed up traffic. Analysing the network beforehand might have suggested a different shortcut, or several shortcuts. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

What do social media, the street outside your door, your blood vessels and the number of people who catch the flu have in common? All involve connect(...)

Cédric Villani: “This will be an opportunity to elaborate on the power of mathematics to access otherwise inaccessible scales.” Photograph: Sebastian Godefroy

Mathematics can help us see the invisible and imagine the incomprehensible. It can help us in a theoretical sense but also in everyday practical th(...)