You may remember a couple of years ago there was a conviction of seven men in Italy, widely reported as being for failing to predict an earthquake. Actually, there was a little more to it — the conviction related to a supposed “falsely reassuring statement” given to the public — but, still, the scientific community’s outrage centred around the impossibility of accurately predicting earthquakes based on earlier tremors.
It was reported this week that the manslaughter conviction for six of the men has been overturned in an appeals court, with the seventh — then deputy head of Italy’s Civil Protection Department Bernardo De Bernardinis, who made public statements that the tremors posed “no danger” — having his sentence reduced from six to two years. Physics World says it is likely that these verdicts will be challenged in Italy’s Supreme Court, which may not hear the case until 2016.
Physics World: L’Aquila verdict quashed.
Aperiodical: L’Aquila seismologists found guilty of manslaughter connected to earthquake risk assessment.
Math/Maths 119: Those Boffins, and their Science.
You probably remember Relatively Prime. This is a series of audio podcasts from my sometime collaborator Samuel Hansen, including stories about checkers, survival housing, swine flu, juggling, a Spanish basilica, and an alien civilization in England. They’re good. Go and listen to them.
Cory Doctorow described himself on boingboing as “a great fan of Relatively Prime” and the Chinook episode as “one of the best technical documentaries I’ve heard“. Tim Harford described it on Twitter as “a great podcast of storytelling about mathematics“.
I know many thousands of you have been writing in to Aperiodical HQ asking “when, oh when will we get to read Peter’s PhD thesis?” Well, the moment you’ve all been waiting for is finally here. The university have now put it online as a PDF available via the institutional repository. As a reminder, here’s the abstract:
We don’t regard him as a miller, I’m afraid, we regard him as a very eminent mathematician whose work today is still being used in major industries and concerns.
– George Saunders, descendant of George Green, on being asked a question about bags of flour on the Alan Clifford show on BBC Radio Nottingham of 11th September 2014 (starts approx. 1:16).
The above quote is from a short interview with George Saunders and Kathryn Summerwill on BBC local radio about George Green. Green, of whom you may have heard, was a mill-owner in Nottingham and a genius mathematical physicist. The interview marks the opening of an exhibition, curated by Kathryn, ‘George Green: Nottingham’s Magnificent Mathematician‘ in the Weston Gallery at the Lakeside Arts Centre, University of Nottingham.
I am interested in puzzles and games and how they relate to mathematical thinking, not least through my involvement with the Maths Arcade initiative. I was pleased to read what is said on this topic in the 1982 Cockcroft report. This is the report of an inquiry started in 1978 “to consider the teaching of mathematics in primary and secondary schools in England and Wales, with particular regard to its effectiveness and intelligibility and to the match between the mathematical curriculum and the skills required in further education, employment and adult life generally”.
With the announcement the Queen’s Birthday Honours list, it’s time for the latest in our ongoing Honours-watch series of posts. In this, we search arbitrarily for ‘mathematics’ in the PDFs of the various lists, and hope our well-informed readers fill in the blanks where actual knowledge is required.
The IMA turns 50 this year, and is holding two celebration events and publishing a book.