The Carnival rounds up maths blog posts from all over the internet, including some from our own Aperiodical. See our Carnival of Mathematics page for more information.

]]>The project is being developed by educational charity Maths on Toast, in collaboration with director Sarah Punshon.

The team behind the project is looking for help from people who use maths in their daily work. They need answers to five short questions about your approaches to tackling maths problems, what you do when you get stuck, and your motivation in doing maths. If you’re interested in helping – they’re particularly looking for people who work in science and use maths as part of their work, as well as mathematicians – details are below.

- If we were watching you busy solving a maths problem, where would you be and what might we see you do? (don’t be afraid to state the obvious!)
- What kinds of things do you do when you’re faced with a problem you can’t immediately see how to tackle?
- How do you feel when you get stuck on a problem?
- Can you remember an early time when you found a maths problem very challenging? Tell us a bit about that experience.
- Why bother? What motivates you to solve maths problems?

Email your answers, and any other questions about the project, to Alexandra at stuck@mathsontoast.org.uk.

@mathsontoast on Twitter

]]>At this week’s International Congress of Mathematics, in Seoul, Korea, the winners of the 2014 Fields Medal were announced. The medals, which were established in 1936, and are awarded every four years to four different mathematicians, recognise achievement in mathematics research. This year’s winners are (from the ICM website):

**Artur Avila**(CNRS, France & IMPA, Brazil) – whose profound contributions to dynamical systems theory have changed the face of the field, using the powerful idea of renormalization as a unifying principle.**Manjul Bhargava**(Princeton University, USA) – for developing powerful new methods in the geometry of numbers and applying them to count rings of small rank and to bound the average rank of elliptic curves.**Martin Hairer**(University of Warwick, UK) – for his outstanding contributions to the theory of stochastic partial differential equations, and in particular creating a theory of regularity structures for such equations.**Maryam Mirzakhani**(Stanford University, USA) - for her outstanding contributions to the dynamics and geometry of Riemann surfaces and their moduli spaces.

Here’s a round-up of some of the other Fields Medal coverage:

- Four winners of the 2010 Fields Medal announced, at Scientific American
- These 4 People Just Won The Most Prestigious Award In Mathematics, at Business Insider
- Awards page on the International Congress of Mathematics website
- Meet the winners of the Fields medal – the ‘Nobel prize of maths’ at The Conversation
- The Fields Medal is the greatest prize in maths, at The Telegraph (presumably why they’ve chosen to illustrate the article with a picture of a Sudoku)

One of the reasons this news story seems to be basically everywhere today (if you wake up and Sarah Montague is talking to a mathematician about something, you know there’s maths news) is that this is the first time the prize has been awarded to a woman. Given that only around 6% of mathematics professors are female (thanks, Sarah Montague), it’s not surprising it’s taken so long for a woman to achieve the award – and great news. It’s been picked up by a huge number of news outlets, some of which you may not expect to be covering a maths story…

- Fields Medal mathematics prize won by woman for first time in its history, by Ian Sample at The Guardian
- Iranian woman wins maths’ top prize, the Fields medal, by Dana Mackenzie at New Scientist
- First female winner for Fields maths medal, at BBC News
- Top Mathematics Prize Awarded to a Woman for First Time, by Alex Bellos for Time Magazine
- Maryam Mirzakhani Named the First Female Fields Medalist, at Elle Magazine
- First Woman Ever Wins a Fields Medal for Mathematics, at Jezebel

To find out more about the individual winners, here’s a great series of articles by Quanta Magazine/Simons Foundation:

- A Brazilian Wunderkind Who Calms Chaos (Artur Avila)
- The Musical, Magical Number Theorist (Manjul Bhargava)
- In Noisy Equations, One Who Heard Music (Martin Hairer)
- A Tenacious Explorer of Abstract Surfaces (Maryam Mirzakhani)

Alex Bellos, over at The Guardian, has posted an explanation of the actual maths involved in each winner’s research, from the International Mathematical Union: Fields Medals 2014: the maths of Avila, Bhargava, Hairer and Mirzakhani explained

And if you’re interested in the Fields Medal in general:

- How to Talk About the Fields Medal at Your Next Cocktail Party, by the brilliant Evelyn Lamb at Scientific American
- How Math Got its ‘Nobel’, at the New York Times

- 10:00-11:30 From Dürer to sudoku: 500 years of recreational maths; organised by Peter Rowlett
- Paper folding and problem solving workshop (Various times throughout the day); Katie Steckles (Think Maths)
- 10:00-17:00 Giant Drawing Machines; Nick Sayers
- 12:00-13:00 The Darwin Award Lecture: What Can Maths Tell Us about How an Animal is Feeling?; Lisa Collins
- 15:00-16:00 The Improbability Principle; David Hand

- 10.00-11.00 Seventeen or Bust: Solving hard mathematical problems with your help!; Iain Bethune
- 10:00-17:00 Giant Drawing Machines; Nick Sayers
- 13:30 – 14:30 Sex, maths and the brain: Where have all the girl scientists gone?; Gina Rippon
- 16:00-17:30 When Fridges Attack: Big Data Meets Intelligent Machines (2014 Mathematical Sciences Presidential Lecture); Peter McOwan, Louis McCallum

- 11:00-12:00 Pocket Doctor; Max Little
- 19:30-22:00 Festival of the Spoken Nerd; featuring Matt Parker, Steve Mould and Helen Arney

- 13:00-14:00 Life Saving Mathematics; Thomas Wooley, Helen Byrne and Gary Mirams

- 12:00-13:00 The Rosalind Franklin Award Lecture: Our Dynamical Sun: a 21st Century view; Ineke De Moortel

In addition, The Young People’s Programme runs all week and includes:

**Modular Arithmetic** by Joe Watkins

**Maths Saves Lives** by Louise Orpin

**Codes and Codebreaking** by Corneliu Hoffman

**Designing and Making a Calculator** by David Leppinen

**Using Maths to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse** by Sara Jabbari

**Using Maths to Win at Gameshows** by Simon Goodwin

Public Programme Search, on the BSA website

]]>The Christopher Zeeman Medal is awarded jointly by the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA) and the London Mathematical Society (LMS) and is described on the IMA website as follows:

The Christopher Zeeman Medal has been created to recognise and acknowledge the contributions of mathematicians involved in promoting mathematics to the public and engaging with the public in mathematics in the UK, and demonstrate that such activities are valued by the societies and the mathematical community at large and are a part of a mathematician’s roles and responsibilities.

The medal is named in honour of Professor Sir Christopher Zeeman, one of the UK’s foremost mathematicians who was heavily involved in communication of mathematics with the public. In 1978, Sir Christopher was the first ever mathematician to deliver a set of Royal Institution Christmas lectures, and Marcus himself followed in his footsteps in 1996, as the third mathematician to deliver the Christmas lectures.

The Medal has been awarded since 2008, and Marcus joins Professor Ian Stewart and Professor John Barrow as a recipient of the award. Professor du Sautoy says,

‘It means a lot for me to win this prize. I went to Christopher Zeeman’s Christmas Lectures at the Royal Institution when I was 13 and it was one of the things that inspired me to want to be a mathematician. All the work I’ve done over the years which has led to this award is my way of saying thank you to Christopher for opening my eyes to what a fantastic subject mathematics is.’

Professor du Sautoy has spent more than 20 years engaging the public with maths, through numerous (ha!) TV and radio programmes, books, and more recently theatre projects including X&Y and A Disappearing Number.

On puzzles and games, the report says:

The inherent interest of mathematics and the appeal which it can have for many children and adults provide yet another reason for teaching mathematics in schools. The fact that ‘puzzle corners’ of various kinds appear in so many papers and periodicals testifies to the fact that the appeal of relatively elementary problems and puzzles is widespread; attempts to solve them can both provide enjoyment and also, in many cases, lead to increased mathematical understanding. For some people, too, the appeal of mathematics can be even greater and more intense.

…

We do not believe that mathematical activity in schools is to be judged worthwhile only in so far as it has clear practical usefulness. The widespread appeal of mathematical puzzles and problems to which we have already referred shows that the capacity for appreciating mathematics for its own sake is present in many people. It follows that mathematics should be presented as a subject both to use and to enjoy.

…

Whatever the level of attainment of pupils, carefully planned use of mathematical puzzles and ‘games’ can clarify the ideas in a syllabus and assist the development of logical thinking.

Cockcroft, W. (1982), *Mathematics counts: report of the Committee of
Inquiry into the teaching of mathematics in schools*. London: HMSO.

The Royal Society has released a report outlining their idea of what science and maths education should look like in the future. It’s over a hundred pages long, but they’ve made a nice website to go along with it, with pages summarising their recommendations for things like “stability for curricula” and the teaching profession.

**More information: **The Royal Society’s vision for science and mathematics education

The 2010 Fields Medal winner Cédric Villani announced at Copenhagen’s Euroscience Open Forum last month that there will be a museum dedicated to mathematics, based at the Institut Henri Poincaré, where he is the director. It’s expected to open in 2018.

**Source: **Cédric Villani annonce la création d’un musée des mathématiques à Paris, in *Sciences et Avenir* (in French)

In response to recent increases in flawed quantitative analysis and statistical bias in papers, Science has announced its intention to establish a Statistical Board of Reviewing Editors to provide better oversight on data interpretation. Recognising that a technical reviewer may not also be fluent in data analysis, the panel will consist of experts in stats and data analysis, and will be sent papers identified by their regular Board of Reviewing Editors (BoRE) as being in need of further scrutiny. Hooray for maths!

Science Magazine raises its statistical bar. Will we? at Chris Blattman’s blog

Raising the Bar, at *Science* (free registration required to view, because of Science reasons)

Science joins push to screen statistics in papers in the *Nature* blog

The American Statistical Association, in a push to provide a new perspective on a subject often misunderstood and considered to be boring, has launched This is Statistics, a new website full of videos, applets and articles outlining how useful and interesting stats can be. It’s aimed at students, parents and educators and includes quizes and case studies of how stats has helped science change lives.

**Website: **This is Statistics

Puzzlebomb is a monthly puzzle compendium. Issue 32 of Puzzlebomb, for August 2014, can be found here:

Puzzlebomb – Issue 32 – August 2014

The solutions to Issue 32 will be posted at the same time as Issue 33.

Previous issues of Puzzlebomb, and their solutions, can be found here.

]]>Today is the 180th Birthday of John Venn, inventor of the often-misused mathematical staple the Venn Diagram. In celebration, Google have made today’s Google Doodle be a playful interactive toy where you can select two categories and it’ll show you something in the intersection.

Here’s some of our other favourite Venn diagrams from the internet:

- ‘Math’, a t-shirt from Threadless.com featuring an otter playing a guitar and a duck playing a keyboard
- These beautiful pop culture Venn diagrams from Stephen Wildish: Holy Venn Diagrams, Santa Venn diagram, the Von/Van Venn and one on Pancakes
- And finally, a blog post from Reflective Maths, on the difference between a Venn Diagram and and Euler Diagram.

Enjoy Venn-day! I hope that your day is the middle bit of a Venn diagram where the two circles are ‘excellent’ and ‘enjoyable’.

]]>Anyway, the Pet Shop Boys have written a piece of music “inspired by codebreaker Alan Turing”, titled *A Man from the Future *(not *The Man from the Future*, the 2011 Brazilian classic), and it was performed for the first time on Wednesday as part of the BBC’s Proms season.

It’s not my cup of tea in the least bit, but we’ve covered every other bit of never-ending Turing centenary news so why not this one?

You can listen to the performance on BBC Radio 3 but, thanks to The Unique Way the iPlayer Works, the actual program starts about six minutes in.

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