My research group in Cambridge looks for needles in haystacks every day and here I illustrate, jargon free, some of the concepts that we use to help us.
A mountain’s summit is an unremarkable pinnacle that is utterly indistinguishable from the local apex of the countless trillions of dust grains, stones and craggy outcrops that form the rest of the mountain. Despite the banality of the highest point itself, humans frequently yearn to visit. Why do we do that? For many, the journey itself is far more rewarding than the actual moment of standing atop the mountain’s maximum maxima.