An undated portrait of German mathematician Bernhard Riemann (1826-1866). Riemann established the foundations of modern differential geometry and, in 1859, formulated the hypothesis that bears his name.  Photograph: Bettmann/Getty Images

A major mathematical result has been announced by British-Lebanese mathematician Sir Michael Atiyah. In a talk at the 6th Heidelberg Laureate Forum in(...)

Sir William Rowan Hamilton (1805-1865), an Irish mathematician and inventor of quarternions. Photograph: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The power of mathematics is astonishing. Time and again, mathematical theories developed without any application in mind have later proved ideal for s(...)