Who watches the listeners?

Web site logs are compelling and addictive. I have just got lost in the logs for the blog and podcast for half an hour before my phone beeped and drew me back to the real world. Anyway, I am interested to see the following websites sending people to this blog and the Travels in a Mathematical World podcast.

Mr T’s Standard Grade Maths Blog

This is the blog of a teacher, Mr. T, aimed at his students and has excited me greatly for two reasons – First, the link to the podcast comes in a post entitled “Exciting new links!“; Second is the text that immediately preceeds the link

As promised here are a couple of interesting links the first is the blog mentioned in class which includes the podcasts of discussions with interesting mathematicians. Be warned some of the maths is quite high powered but very interesting nonetheless:

Did you notice “mentioned in class”? Very exciting!

KTN for Industrial Mathematics

There are people visiting from the post on the noticeboard of the KTN for Industrial Mathematics, who are involved with linking research with business.


We have hits coming in from condron.us, which seems to be a site which flashes different blogs at you for a few seconds each until you see one you want to read. I’m not sure if this is people reading it then, or just waiting the four seconds until the next blog!


This is a page of interesting looking links which includes a link to the podcast.

Paul Shepherd’s website

Paul was in episode 14 of the Travels in a Mathematical World podcast and links to this from his page on Public Understanding of Mathematics.


We are linked in the IMA entry on Wikipedia! Fame and fortune beckon… The podcast gets a mention in the Publications section of the page (with a link to the Travels in a Mathematical World entry that doesn’t currently exist; Hint, anyone?) and the link is in the External Links section.

University websites

I am glad to see the blog and podcast are linked to, sometimes along with the IMA Careers Advice leaflet and Maths Careers website, from the following universities: Bath, Brunel, Dundee, Queen Mary (London) and Warwick. I do not know if these are the only universities that link to the blog or podcast, but these are the ones that are appearing in the web logs.

Podcast Episode 20: Choi-Hong Lai, Fluid dynamics

These are the show notes for episode 20 of the Travels in a Mathematical World podcast.In a game of chess both players have 20 first moves from which to choose. More about 20 from Number Gossip.

For episode 20 I visited the University of Greenwich and met Professor Choi-Hong Lai, who talked through some applications of fluid dynamics. The Wikipedia page on fluid dynamics seems fairly readable as an overview. If you’re in a university your university library will hold introductory books on fluid dynamics. You can find further information about Choi-Hong’s research on his website.

You can find out more about my work with the IMA by following me on Twitter, reading this blog and visiting www.ima.org.uk/student.

100 posts later, who is Peter Rowlett?

This is my 100th post, yipee! I’m going to take the opportunity to review my current activities as these have changed recently.

In an adjustment to my working this week, I started at the University of Nottingham‘s School of Mathematical Sciences as an elearning and web chap. I remain University Liaison Officer for the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA). My PhD, in elearning in mathematics, is currently suspended to allow me to work full time for one year to bolster the finances. I do though remain as a lecturer at Nottingham Trent University (NTU), teaching a level 2 skills development module this semester, although I do not intend to take on any more teaching after this – the 6.5 day week is not so great! I also remain registered for a Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education (PGHCE), a 60 credit Masters-level induction course for new lecturers at NTU. If all continues to go well I will graduate from this at the end of the academic year.

In other good news, I received a letter on my return from Scotland last week that I have been successful in my application for full membership of the IMA, Member (MIMA) where previously I have been Associate Member (AMIMA) since 2005. My mum asked “Does that mean you don’t have to pay any more?” Erm, no, it means I have to pay more. “Oh, does it mean you get more letters after your name?” Erm, no, it means I get one less letter after my name. I don’t think she got it!

All degrees are not created equal

I saw a really interesting piece on BBC Breakfast this morning in which the claim was made that there are now too many graduates entering the jobs market and that graduates of many degrees are not finding graduate jobs as a consequence. This interested me particularly because of an incident earlier in the week. I was asked by a student at one of my careers talks in Scotland why, given what I was saying about what an excellent degree mathematics was for so many career choices, numbers of students taking mathematics was falling. Firstly I said I thought we are starting to turn that particular tide, with good inititatives and a rise in numbers (with maths rising above the general rise). Secondly I said I felt there was a lack of understanding among school students looking to take degrees of the relative value of different degrees, with students thinking maths is a difficult choice of degree subject and not realising the extra value that it has for their graduate prospects.

Podcast: Episode 19 – Maths news with Sarah Shepherd

These are the show notes for episode 19 of the Travels in a Mathematical World Podcast. 19 is the smallest number n such that n to the power n is pandigital (contains all 10 digits). More about the number 19 from Number Gossip.

This week on the podcast I met Sarah Shepherd, PhD student at the University of Nottingham and Editor of iSquared Magazine and we discussed some maths news. Links to all the articles we mentioned are below.

Emperor penguins face extinction due to climate change, a new study and mathematicial model suggests. Read “Emperor penguins face extinction” on the BBC News website.

Graham Parker has solved his rubix cube after 26 year attempting to do so. Read “Rubik’s Cube finally solved after 26 years by avid fan” from the Telegraph.

Professor David Williams of Swansea University has solved a mathematical problem following brain surgery, though his piano playing ability is not what it once was. Read “Swansea professor’s maths victory” from the Weston Mail at WalesOnline.

Carol Vorderman is to head a new maths task force for the Conservative Party. You can read about this in many places, including “Vorderman heads maths task force” from the BBC, “Carol + David = new Tory strategy to make maths fun” from Guardian and “If Vorderman is the answer, Cameron’s asking the wrong question” in the Guardian. There is an interview with Carol which touches on this and other issues, “Carol Vorderman on money, celebrity and being the new maths czar” in the Times. Carol would like pupils and parents to email her at carol@mathstaskforce.com with their questions, complaints and observations about how they are taught maths.

There is an interview with Marcus du Sautoy in the Independant, “Credo: Marcus du Sautoy”.

There is a piece about Charles Darwin’s contribution to the development of statistics “Darwin: The Reluctant Mathematician” in Science News.

There is a column in the Independent which touches on a lot of current issues in mathematics. Read “Boyd Tonkin: The answer is 23: new shots at maths” in the Independent.

Remember the snow at the start of February? Read “Why do snowflakes have six arms?” in the Times.

At the time of recording, the current edition of Marcus du Sautoy’s column in the Times is “Sexy maths: Why Palladio’s proportions are pleasing on the eye and the ears”.

We had a ramble about Twitter. I have decided to try Twitter so you can follow me at http://twitter.com/peterrowlett. Plus magazine are also using Twitter via http://twitter.com/plusmathsorg. You can read Plus magazine at plus.maths.org.

If you are a student who is not receiving an email with links to PDF articles from the IMA members publication Mathematics Today, please email me. This facility is free for students only.

iSquared Magazine is available through www.isquaredmagazine.co.uk.

You can find out more about my work with the IMA by reading this blog and visiting www.ima.org.uk/student.

Goodbye, Scotland

I have now concluded my time in Edinburgh and am heading home on the train. I have really enjoyed my week in Scotland. I have visited some wonderful places and met some lovely people. I didn’t have as much time as I would have liked to explore the places I visited but then this isn’t a holiday! As well as yesterday morning seeking the Clerk Maxwell statue, I spent a couple of hours before my train this morning in a beautiful, sunny Edinburgh. Below are a couple of the many pictures I have taken. I particularly think the last one is a nice rendition of Edinburgh in sping. I would like to have spent more time (a fortnight perhaps?!) exploring but I had to get on a train as it is a long journey home at the end of a very busy week.

View over North BridgeView from North BridgeScott Memorial

James Clerk Maxwell statue in Edinburgh

I started the day with a spare hour in Edinburgh during which I had a pleasant walk around old Edinburgh and sought out the statue of James Clerk Maxwell which was erected earlier in the year and to which the IMA made a contribution. There are some pictures of the statue below.

James Clerk Maxwell statue 2James Clerk Maxwell statue 1James Clerk Maxwell statue 3
If you click on the picture of the plaque below you will see a larger version and may be able to make out the names of the donors, including the IMA at the bottom right.James Clerk Maxwell statue plaqueAfter seeing the statue, the good people of the Royal Society of Edinburgh showed me into the Maxwell room which included a hologram of the statue and a case of artifacts (pictures below). I was particularly taken by the manuscript for an article hand written by Maxwell which is exhibited along with the hand written referees comments.

Maxwell's papers