Last updated: 13 may, 2009 - 14:16 GMT

3/05/2009 - The Forum

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Former chief scientific adviser to the British government, Lord Robert May, shows us how far one simple mathematical equation, the Logistic Map, can generate chaos and account for wild swings in climate change, the outbreak of epidemics and even the changes within the banking world.

- Logistic Map xnext = a xinitial (1- xinitial )
- Think of a number between 0 and 1 (We can call this xinitial).
- multiply it by the difference between that number and one; then multiply the result by a fixed constant, (we can call this a).

The result is another number, a step onwards (We can call this xnext)

Professor of Medicine and novelist Abraham Verghese joins us from California to convince us that the ritual of examining a patient to arrive at a diagnosis is transformative and that we risk losing more than just the human touch if we rely solely on the high tech world of modern medicine.

Assistant Editor at the Financial Times and social anthropologist Gillian Tett looks at how we got ourselves into the current global financial crisis, assessing the lure of money and why it makes so many people blind to the dangers of playing the financial markets.

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