Can you crack these very difficult challenge ciphers? How might you systematise the cracking of unknown ciphers?

This article explains the concepts involved in scientific mathematical computing. It will be very useful and interesting to anyone interested in computer programming or mathematics.

Label the joints and legs of these graph theory caterpillars so that the vertex sums are all equal.

How many ways can the terms in an ordered list be combined by repeating a single binary operation. Show that for 4 terms there are 5 cases and find the number of cases for 5 terms and 6 terms.

Find all the ways of placing the numbers 1 to 9 on a W shape, with 3 numbers on each leg, so that each set of 3 numbers has the same total.

How many ways are there to count 1 - 2 - 3 in the array of triangular numbers? What happens with larger arrays? Can you predict for any size array?

Let a(n) be the number of ways of expressing the integer n as an ordered sum of 1's and 2's. Let b(n) be the number of ways of expressing n as an ordered sum of integers greater than 1. (i) Calculate. . . .

Find integer solutions to: $\sqrt{a+b\sqrt{x}} + \sqrt{c+d.\sqrt{x}}=1$

A big prize was offered for solving The Eternity Puzzle, a jigsaw with no picture and every piece is the same on both sides. The finished result forms a regular dodecagon (12 sided polygon).

With red and blue beads on a circular wire; 'put a red bead between any two of the same colour and a blue between different colours then remove the original beads'. Keep repeating this. What happens?

Show there are exactly 12 magic labellings of the Magic W using the numbers 1 to 9. Prove that for every labelling with a magic total T there is a corresponding labelling with a magic total 30-T.

in how many ways can you place the numbers 1, 2, 3 … 9 in the nine regions of the Olympic Emblem (5 overlapping circles) so that the amount in each ring is the same?

Suppose A always beats B and B always beats C, then would you expect A to beat C? Not always! What seems obvious is not always true. Results always need to be proved in mathematics.

Try to move the knight to visit each square once and return to the starting point on this unusual chessboard.

How many different solutions can you find to this problem? Arrange 25 officers, each having one of five different ranks a, b, c, d and e, and belonging to one of five different regiments p, q, r, s. . . .

How many different cubes can be painted with three blue faces and three red faces? A boy (using blue) and a girl (using red) paint the faces of a cube in turn so that the six faces are painted. . . .

It is believed that weaker snooker players have a better chance of winning matches over eleven frames (i.e. first to win 6 frames) than they do over fifteen frames. Is this true?

A personal investigation of Conway's Rational Tangles. What were the interesting questions that needed to be asked, and where did they lead?

All the words in the Snowman language consist of exactly seven letters formed from the letters {s, no, wm, an). How many words are there in the Snowman language?

In how many different ways can I colour the five edges of a pentagon red, blue and green so that no two adjacent edges are the same colour?

Some puzzles requiring no knowledge of knot theory, just a careful inspection of the patterns. A glimpse of the classification of knots, prime knots, crossing numbers and knot arithmetic.

A walk is made up of diagonal steps from left to right, starting at the origin and ending on the x-axis. How many paths are there for 4 steps, for 6 steps, for 8 steps?

Libby Jared helped to set up NRICH and this is one of her favourite problems. It's a problem suitable for a wide age range and best tackled practically.

Prove that you cannot form a Magic W with a total of 12 or less or with a with a total of 18 or more.

A 'doodle' is a closed intersecting curve drawn without taking pencil from paper. Only two lines cross at each intersection or vertex (never 3), that is the vertex points must be 'double points' not. . . .

The tangles created by the twists and turns of the Conway rope trick are surprisingly symmetrical. Here's why!

The knight's move on a chess board is 2 steps in one direction and one step in the other direction. Prove that a knight cannot visit every square on the board once and only (a tour) on a 2 by n board. . . .

Investigate the molecular masses in this sequence of molecules and deduce which molecule has been analysed in the mass spectrometer.

The country Sixtania prints postage stamps with only three values 6 lucres, 10 lucres and 15 lucres (where the currency is in lucres).Which values cannot be made up with combinations of these postage. . . .

To win on a scratch card you have to uncover three numbers that add up to more than fifteen. What is the probability of winning a prize?

Factorial one hundred (written 100!) has 24 noughts when written in full and that 1000! has 249 noughts? Convince yourself that the above is true. Perhaps your methodology will help you find the. . . .

How many tours visit each vertex of a cube once and only once? How many return to the starting point?

A player has probability 0.4 of winning a single game. What is his probability of winning a 'best of 15 games' tournament?