Talk to Scottish Branch

On Tuesday after teaching a class at Nottingham Trent 10am-12noon I jumped on the 12.45pm train to Edinburgh. I arrived at 5.30pm and by 6.30pm I was giving a talk to the IMA Scottish Branch. Busy day!

The invite to my talk went to staff and postgraduate students at Napier University and IMA members more generally in the Branch. I gave most of the content from my careers talk but filled this out with some background on the University Liaison initiative and some of my activities, including other talks, careers fairs, the RUMS group, University Liaison Grants, Mathematics Today and the Student Section, the Younger Members Group, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, this blog, my Twitter page and the podcast.

I’m happy to report that a member of the audience has already passed on what I said, including a link to this blog and the Maths Careers website from the maths4edinburgh blog.

Careers in Cardiff

I spent a very enjoyable overnight stay in Cardiff. I gave my careers talk at the School of Mathematics, University of Cardiff (pictured below) and had lunch afterwards with Julie Hepburn, who acts as the AGCAS half of our AGCAS-IMA link. We talked about the ways we can work together to promote maths careers. Recently Julie distributed an email to careers advisors on my behalf talking about the good careers resources available from the IMA directly and through the Maths Careers project and offering to give careers talks, etc.

School of Mathematics, University of Cardiff
While I was in Cardiff I met Gareth Howell of the IMA Younger Members Group for a drink and I did indeed do what the bridge says and drink Brain’s (below; if ever there were a need for misapplication of an apostrophe! Just one small grammatically correct mark away from being a zombie direction).

Sign on bridge reads: It's Brain's you want

Podcast Episode 18: Jane Wess, Science Museum

These are the show notes for episode 18 of the Travels in a Mathematical World podcast. 18 is the only number that is twice the sum of its digits. More about the number 18 from Number Gossip.

For episode 18 I visited the Science Museum where Jane Wess told me about the mathematics collection. To accompany this episode there is a video of Jane demonstrating Napier’s Bones.

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

At Brunel giving the same talk, differently

Today I woke in Uxbridge and spent part of the day with Victor Arulchandran at Brunel University. I gave my careers talk first to the third year, where I was joined by the mathematics careers advisor, Raj Sidhu. I focused the talk on the career development aspects – the benefits of joining a professional body to commit to your professional development and help improve your career prospects. Following this, I gave the same talk to the second year, where I was joined by the mathematics placement officer, Reay Elliott. I focused the talk on the skills acquisition aspects and developing yourself during your degree by aiming to develop (and be able to evidence) the skills businesses want and those they think maths graduates don’t have (overcoming those ole’ stereotypes). The picture below is of the Mathematical Sciences building at Brunel. Victor and I had lunch then I jumped on a train to Cardiff.

Mathematics at Brunel University

Hold the bandwagon, I want to get on

I have been considering for a while the phenomenon that is Twitter. The BBC programme (or podcast) Digital Planet this week described it as: “until relatively recently, Twitter, where people just decribe what they’re doing in 140 characters or less was a rather niche, almost geeky thing” but it is now hitting the mainstream with celebrities and several people I know now using it. As a bone fide geek I have been following the development of Twitter for a while but haven’t quite taken the plunge. Now it is really taking off I have decided to give it a go for a trial period. (Or a trail period – one of the groups in my maths skills class at Nottingham Trent wrote in their project plan they would approach the problem in the first instance by “trail and error”. As my officemate quipped, “they’ve got the error part right”).

So from now and for now as well as my website, blog, podcast and pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace and YouTube, I will now also be tweeting via


Last week I stayed in Bristol on my way back from Plymouth. As I was going to be there I contacted both Bristol Universities and am pleased to report that at embarrasingly short notice they were both able to arrange for me to give my careers talk. First I travelled to University of West of England (UWE) and gave a talk to a small group there. This was a nice, relaxed environment and my talk was well received – I have been asked to come back and give it (with more notice!) to a skills/careers module. The picture below is of the building where I gave my talk.

University of West of England Maths and Stats
Next came the University of Bristol Department of Mathematics. I visited Bristol before earlier in 2008 and so was familiar with it. This helped, since the chap who had arranged the talk was unable to meet me. I was at the front of the lecture theatre with 40 or so students looking at me and no idea what to do! Thankfully, Dan Lindsay of Matrix was in the audience and shouted out advice on how to get the projection system working. The talk went well and seemed to be well received. The picture below is of the maths building.

University of Bristol MathematicsWandering the corridors I took the picture below. Bristol is a university with degrees approved under the IMA Programme Approval Scheme and the picture below shows that they are proudly displaying their certificates. I have also noticed that they are boasting their approval on their website. This is really good to see, since it helps increase the IMA’

University of Bristol IMA Programme Approval Certificates