According to a report by the University of London’s Institute of Education, the very best 10-year-old English students are as good at maths as their counterparts around the world, but have fallen behind by around two years by the time they reach their GCSEs.
Cue frothy-mouthed calls for more rigour and tougher exams, presumably since you can’t string people up for not being good at maths, even if it is the only language they understand. Cue also a great deal of “it’s all their fault” finger-pointing and insulting generalisations of the “of course, those Asians value study more highly” variety.
Nothing puts your home insurance premium up like having been burgled in the past – because it means you’re more likely to be burgled again. Stanford researcher Nancy Rodríguez, with colleagues Henri Berestycki (who is first author, for the record) and Lenya Ryzhik, has developed a travelling waves model to explain this phenomenon – and, more importantly, how to stop it.
Crime, according to past research, tends to cluster in particular neighbourhoods – and even individual houses. Once a crime epicentre has been established, criminal activity tends to spread out in a wave pattern, gradually engulfing larger and larger areas.
“What’s that, boss?”
“I said, look at this article on a conference about how maths is applied and write something full of puns.”
The London Mathematical Society has announced that this year’s Women In Mathematics Day will take place on April the 18th and 19th at the Isaac Newton Institute in Cambridge. It’s free for students and £5 on the door for everyone else.
The event provides an opportunity to meet and talk with women who are active and successful in mathematics. While this is an occasion particularly for women active in mathematics to get together, men are certainly not excluded from this event.
The deadline for poster and talk submissions is March 15th 2013 (contact Beatrice Pelloni); if you’d like to register as a delegate, get in touch with Katy Henderson by April 1st 2013.
Women in Mathematics Day event page at the LMS
Gradually, gradually, the mathematicians are taking over the world. Having already conquered (by which I mean ‘colonised pubs once a month’) in places as far-flung as Melbourne, Houston, Bombay and Edinburgh, MathsJam will be making its debut in Cape Town, South Africa on Tuesday February 19th.
It’s mid-January, which means it’s time for the tabloids to trot out their annual “this is the most miserable day of the whole year!” story — before they spend the rest of the year blaming immigration, youth and political correctness for problems they’ve spent the last year stoking up.