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Particularly mathematical New Years Honours 2016

Once again, it’s time for our traditional trawl through the New Years Honours list for mentions of “mathematics”, hoping that better-informed readers will fill in the people this crude method has missed. I’ve found the following names:

  • Steve Humble (Dr Maths) awarded MBE for services to Education (via Garrod Musto on Twitter);
  • Lynn Churchman of National Numeracy awarded OBE for services to Maths and Numeracy education (via Rob Eastaway on Twitter);
  • Sue Black (Bletchley Park campaigner, among much else) awarded OBE for services to technology (via Colin Wright on Twitter);
  • Margherita Biller (Head of Mathematics, York College), awarded MBE for services to Mathematics in Further Education;
  • Emily Shuckburgh, mathematician and climate scientist at the British Antarctic Survey, awarded OBE for services to Science and Public Communication of Science (added in an update 01/01/16, thanks to Colin Cotter on Twitter);
  • Ruth Kaufman, president of the Operational Research Society, awarded OBE for services to Operational Research (added in an update 01/01/16, thanks to Catherine Hobbs in the comments);
  • Clare Sutcliffe, founder of Code Club, awarded MBE for services to technology education (added in an update 01/01/16, thanks to John Read in the comments);
  • Alison Allden, formerly chief executive, Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited, awarded OBE for services to higher education (added in an update 05/01/16, thanks to Susan Oakes in the comments);
  • Professor Dame Ann Dowling, who studied mathematics as an undergraduate and is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at University of Cambridge, is admitted to the Order of Merit for mechanical engineering (added in an update 07/01/16, thanks to Rebecca Waters in the comments).

Are there any others I’ve missed? Please add any of interest in the comments below. A full list may be obtained from the Cabinet Office website.

Being a Professional Mathematician — now available as a podcast

When I worked for the MSOR Network under the National HE STEM Programme, we funded a project called Being a Professional Mathematician which was run by Tony Mann (University of Greenwich) and Chris Good (University of Birmingham). This included the production of a set of audio interviews with mathematicians about their work and historians about historical mathematicians. This audio is now available to listen to in podcast format.

Get the Being a Professional Mathematician podcast in RSS format.

Get the Being a Professional Mathematician podcast on iTunes.

The wider project includes resources and suggestions for using this audio in teaching undergraduates, inclunding the booklet Being a Professional Mathematician.


Mathematical myths, legends and inaccuracies: some examples

I’m teaching a first-year module on the history of mathematics for undergraduate mathematicians this term. In this, I’m less concerned about students learning historical facts and more that they gain a general awareness of history of maths while learning about the methods used to study history.

Last week, I decided I would discuss myths and inaccuracies. Though I am aware of a few well-known examples, I was struggling to find a nice, concise debunking of one. I asked on Twitter for examples, and here are the suggestions I received, followed by what I did.