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Three new Mathematics Matters case studies

Three new case studies have been posted to the IMA’s Mathematics Matters series. This aims to address the following problem:

The industry and technology that surrounds us owes a great debt to modern mathematics research, yet this fact is perfectly hidden in its physical manifestation. The concern with this state of affairs is that what is unknown cannot be appreciated or valued.

The new case studies, on finding replacements for fossil fuels and finding a new, non-invasive, way to monitor diabetes, takes the total now available to 26.

IMA: Mathematics Matters.

Alan Turing Pardon: Early Day Motion

John Leech MP, on his blog, reports having submitted an Early Day Motion (EDM) to Parliament calling for a pardon for Alan Turing.

The Parliament website defines EDMs:

Early day motions (EDMs) are tabled by MPs to publicise a particular event or cause, and to gather support among MPs for that event or cause. MPs demonstrate their support for an EDM by signing the motion.

Gordon Brown issued a Government apology in 2009 for the way Turing was treated following a conviction of gross indecency in 1952. A pardon would go further. In his blog post, John Leech reports that the EDM is “prompted by a petition on the Downing Street web page”. This e-petition calls for a pardon to go “some way to healing” the damage caused by the circumstances of Turing’s death, in recognition of the work Turing did, and to “act as an apology to many of the other gay men, not as well known as Alan Turing, who were subjected to these laws”.

The full text of the petition is available on the Downing Street website and the full text of the EDM is on John Leech’s blog.

John Leech MP: Alan Turing should be pardoned (31 January 2012).
e-petition: Grant a pardon to Alan Turing.
BBC: PM apology after Turing petition (2009).
Parliament: Early Day Motions.

A dozen stats tips for journalists

A post on the website of the getstats campaign offers a dozen tips for journalists, who “increasingly have to have at least minimal competence in understanding stats and data, if they are going to do a creditable job”.

From a warning to think about the motivation of whoever “cooked up” the number in a press release, to putting figures in context to add to their impact, the list is aimed at the basic skill set that getstats thinks are “the basis for a journalistic career in the 21st century”. Your views on the items in the list are invited via the webpage.

getstats: What Journalists Need to Know(31 January 2012).

2012 BSA Media Fellows – call for applications

In Math/Maths 78: Researchers and the Media Special we spoke to Nathan Green, a researcher who had done a Media Fellowship with the British Science Association. These

aim to bridge the communication gap between scientists and journalists and give space for a dialogue between the two. They reflect the British Science Association’s commitment to increasing the accessibility of the sciences and providing opportunities for discussion and debate. The Media Fellowships aim to give scientists and their colleagues, the confidence and willingness to engage with the media and tackle issues of mistrust and misrepresentation and to give journalists access to new scientific expertise.
The Media Fellowship scheme is the only one of it’s kind in the UK.

If this sounds interesting, you’ll be pleased to hear the call for 2012 BSA Media Fellows is now open. These are for fellowships lasting between 3-7 weeks during July to September 2012. Applications close at midnight on 11 March 2012. You can read lots about the scheme, tips on applying and apply online via the BSA website.

Application for 2012 Media Fellowships.

Why the hot light bulb annoys me

A new post is available over at Second-Rate Minds by Peter Rowlett.

The light bulb puzzle presents you with three switches, one of which controls a light bulb inside a closed room. You are permitted to flip switches as much as you like, then you must open the door and say which switch controls the light bulb. You don’t seem to have enough information. You can …

Read the full post: “Why the hot light bulb annoys me

Early Morning Mathematics

A new post is available over at Second-Rate Minds by Samuel Hansen.

A blinking light was truly a sign of a good night’s sleep. Swinging his legs off the bed Lee spoke to no one, “REM Scanner results.” From speakers hidden somewhere out of sight came the answer, “Two probable, three potentials, and one solution.” “Bring them up on …

Read the full post: “Early Morning Mathematics