These are the shownotes for episode 8 of the Travels in a Mathematical World Podcast. Excluding 1, for which the case is trivial, 8 is the smallest number which is equal to the sum of the digits of its cube. More facts about the number 8 from thesaurus.maths.org.

This week is maths news week on the podcast, I visited Sarah Shepherd, a PhD student at the University of Nottingham and editor of iSquared Magazine and we talked through some maths stories that have been in the news. Links to all the articles we mentioned are below.

Professor Stephen Hawking is to retire from his position as Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University after 30 years in October 2009. You can read this story, “Stephen Hawking to retire as Cambridge’s Professor of Mathematics” at the Telegraph.

There was a question in the Guardian from a mathematics graduate looking for careers advice. You can read the relevant “Dr Work” column at the Guardian.

In December, the mathematician and popularisor of mathematics, Marcus du Sautoy will take up Oxford University’s prestigious Simonyi Professorship for the Public Understanding of Science. Read “Popular face of maths to succeed godless Dawkins” at the Guardian.

Maths Inspiration got an outing on the BBC’s Breakfast programme. You can, at present, view the report on the BBC website. Also on the BBC this month mathematics got an outing on the Qi programme. You can read more about this, and about Russell, in an earlier blog posting. You can, of course, make a donation to Children in Need.

Bletchley Park has received a grant from English Heritage. Read “Bletchley Park saved for posterity” at the Guardian. You can make a donation to Bletchley Park.

The Further Maths Network and Rolls-Royce plc have announced a poster competition for undergraduate or PGCE mathematics students, individually or in groups. The poster should convey the essence of a mathematical topic that has been covered at university by the designer to school and college students studying AS or A level Mathematics. They will award a prize of £100 to each of 2 winning posters and the winning posters will be printed and sent to potentially over 2000 schools and colleges. The closing date is 31 March 2009 and more information can be found at the Further Maths Network website.

The Observor published an extract from “Outliers: The Story of Success” by Malcolm Gladwell, which explores the differences in the language of numerical constructs. Read “Why Asian children are better at maths” at the Observor.