Here’s a quick round-up of some news stories from the tail end of 2012 that we characteristically failed to write up!
Alex Bellos tweeted a link to a Nature article about the mathematics of pop-up tents; ‘overcurvature’ is the property of something which is curved back on itself, commonly found in the curved tent poles used in pop-up tents and shelters, as well as in sculpture and other familiar objects. As anyone who’s ever (successfully) packed one of these tents away knows, it’s possible to bend the curve down into a multiply covered circle. The article’s authors claim to have found ‘the best way to fold rings’. The article can be read in Nature Communications, and is summarised in an item at Nature News.
Listeners of Radio 4’s More or Less will be aware that MathsJam supremo and juggling mathematician Colin Wright was featured in the 21st December episode, discussing his mathematical juggling exploits. There’s an article on the BBC news website, in which Colin describes his SiteSwap notation and how it came about, and the show itself is still available online.
Author and Twitter personality John Allen Paulos has been awarded a maths communication award by the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics (run jointly by the AMS, ASA, MAA and SIAM). The award, which recognises a sustained effort to bring maths communication to non-mathematical audiences, has previously been awarded to Marcus Du Sautoy, Steven Strogatz, and the producers of maths cop-drama Numb3rs. For more information about the award, read this article at the MAA’s Mathematical Communication blog. (via Keith Devlin on Twitter)
The IMA has launched a range of scholarships to encourage more people to become maths teachers, having recognised the need for an increased number of teachers, in order to meet their aim of more students studying mathematics to a higher level. There are 150 places available on the scheme, and each scholarship is worth £20,000; applications open on 21st January. For more information, see the IMA’s page about the scholarships.
And finally, here’s a piece on maths and anti-semitism in the USSR, by mathematician Edward Frenkel, whom you may remember for his maths/nudity/tattoo-based film ‘Rites of Love and Math‘. The article is taken from his new book ‘Love and Math’, which according to his website will be published this Autumn.