Maths at uni in The Indy

There is a guide on university aimed at potential university students by the Independent. This includes an A-Z on careers and the mathematics article has just been released. Apart from the picture (a calculator; a non-scientific one), the article seems quite good. Essentially, maths is a difficult but worth it and has a good range of post-degree options.

I am featured in a case study in the article. Noel-Ann Bradshaw, who contributes the Maths History features to the Travels in a Mathematical World podcast, and Steven Hughes, who will be organising the IMA Younger Mathematicians Conferences in 2010, both of the University of Greenwich, are featured as well.

View the article “Getting Into University > A-Z Degrees > Mathematics” by Emma Bartley on the Independent website.

Podcast: Episode 24 – John Sharp, Maths and Art

These are the show notes for episode 24 of the Travels in a Mathematical World podcast. 24 is the only number that is the product of all the numbers less than its square root. More about 24 from Number Gossip.

This week on the podcast we hear from John Sharp of the London Knowledge Lab who talks about his work in mathematics and art. John has some excellent resources on his Flickr page “dsliceforms” and on his YouTube channel “dsliceforms”, including the video below on Sliceforms.

There is more detail on the Bridges Conference at the conference website. You can find out more about the Maths-Art Seminar series on the London Knowledge Lab website. Details for the Journal of Maths and Art are available from Taylor & Francis.

If you can, please help to promote the podcast. You can help promote the podcast by pointing people to There is a poster/flyer to advertise the podcast: poster in A4 format; poster in A5 format.

You can find out more about my work with the IMA by following me on Twitter, reading this blog and visiting Join the Facebook page.

Chalk and talk and interactive whiteboards

Last December I gave a talk to the E-Learning in Mathematical Subjects (ELMS) Seminar Series at Nottingham Trent University. This was based on an essay I wrote for my PGCHE on lecture delivery methods. It looks at chalk and talk methods vs. PowerPoint and winds up on some of the things that can be done with interactive whiteboards. You can watch my video on the ELMS website, also download my slides, etc. and view other ELMS talks through the website.

ELMS is something I have been involved with through my PhD in e-learning in maths at Nottingham Trent University. These aim to bring people together from around the university who teach mathematical content and have similar issues but no opportunity to otherwise meet, along with people who are interested in education and e-learning for research and those who work in e-learning support. We received funding from the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications in 2006 to support the seminars and allow videoing of these for distribution through the ELMS website at We also receive support from the Higher Education Academy Maths, Stats and OR Network who provide web space for the videos.

The view on careers from a tower overlooking London

I spent the day in London and gave my careers talk at London Metropolitan University. I had to modify this as the first and second year students had a class which started half way through my talk, while the final year students could stay for the whole hour (or hour and 15 as it turned out). I gave the skills development part of the talk and then talked, by request of my host Dr Amir Khossousi, about mathematics societies and what the students may gain by setting one up (as a commuity and individually). They might do just that, with the help of an IMA University Liaison Grant.

I told them student Mathsocs activities include events – social, mathematical and careers based – peer support sessions, newsletters, sports teams and generally building a sense of community among the student body. I gave a plug for the IMA RUMS blog in that regard, where people can find out what other societies are up to. I told them about the UL Grant funding and the electronic copy of Mathematics Today that I can send to student reps. Finally, I told them about the London group of universities, run on behalf of the IMA by Noel-Ann Bradshaw (and having a Facebook group “London University Maths Societies – IMA”). It was nice when saying what fantastic opportunities there are to attend mathematical events in London (not least Gresham College and the Lighthill Institute) to be able to gesture and take in the whole of central London with a sweep of my hand from the window in the 11th floor of the Tower Building (pictured below).

After the first and second year students left I returned to the usual talk, telling the students to look at career profiles (including Maths Careers, Plus and the Travels in a Mathematical World podcast) to find an area of mathematics that interests them and what a great benefit to their career IMA membership and chartered status can be. Actually the real hard sell in that regard was given by Dr. Pargat Singh Calay CMath FIMA CSci who gave a passionate speech on the benefits of association with the IMA.

Tower Building, London Metropolitan University

Podcast: Episode 23 – Paul Shepherd, Decimation and Subdivision

These are the show notes for episode 23 of the Travels in a Mathematical World podcast. Readers of this blog will know I am relieved to have remembered to note that 23 is prime. 23 is an interesting number thanks to the birthday problem: In a group of 23 or more randomly selected people there is a more than 50% probability that a pair of them will share a birthday. You can read a serious article on the Birthday Problem at Wolfram MathWorld, or a more light hearted one at Damn Interesting. More about the number 23 from Number Gossip.

This week on the podcast we hear from Dr. Paul Shepherd of the University of Bath. Paul is a mathematician working in the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering and speaks about two aspects of 3D modeling – decimation and subdivision. Decimation is the process of simplifying a computer model of a 3D shape by selectively reducing the number of triangles used to make up the model so it can be practically handled inside a computer. Subdivision is the opposite process, in which a very simple 3D model has extra triangles added to make it look more realistic. Paul also talks about what a mathematician can bring the world of engineering and architecture. There is more information on Paul’s work in these areas on his website.

You can find out more about my work with the IMA by following me on Twitter, reading this blog and visiting Join the Facebook page.

Podcast Episode 22: Mike Maher, Transport modelling

These are the show notes for episode 22 of the Travels in a Mathematical World podcast. 22 is the smallest multidigit number such that the sum of its digits equals the product of its digits. More about 22 from Number Gossip.

Recently I visited Scotland and while there I met Mike Maher, Professor of the Mathematical Analysis of Transport Systems at the Institute for Transport Studies, Leeds University. Mike sat down with me at the University of Edinburgh and talked about his work in transport modelling.

You can find details of the research carried out in the Network Modelling group at ITS, Leeds, a brochure for the SATURN traffic assignment software suite and further details about microscopic traffic simulation modelling and the DRACULA program (including a downloadable software demo).

If you are interested in the topic, there was another episode of the podcast on transport optimisation problems, episode 3 with Joanna Hartley.

You can find out more about my work with the IMA by following me on Twitter, reading this blog and visiting