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Infinite Monkey Maths

The latest episode of BBC Radio 4’s Infinite Monkey Cage took “an irreverent and rational look at numbers, logic and mathematics” and is available to download for a length of time unbounded above in podcast form.

More information

Series 9, Episode 4: “To Infinity and Beyond” on BBC Radio 4.

The Infinite Monkey Cage, on the BBC website

The Infinite Monkey Cage podcast

More Or Less integer sequence solution revealed (spoilers!)

Radio 4 maths police More or Less took time off from calling out journalists and deputy prime ministers for their misuse of statistics this series to sneak a hidden maths puzzle into their show. The first five episodes were “brought to us by” the numbers, respectively, 1, 49, 100, 784 and 1444. Listeners were invited to work out what number would bring us the final episode.

Ian Stewart on The Life Scientific

Acknowledging the long-hidden truth that mathematicians are also scientists, Jim al-Khalili interviewed Ian Stewart yesterday for his Radio 4 programme, The Life Scientific. The show features a different scientist in each episode, and Professor al-Khalili talks to them about their life and work, what inspires and motivates them, and how their research may benefit mankind.

Professor Ian Stewart (not to be confused with geologist Professor Iain Stewart) is a professor at Warwick University, and is involved with a lot of maths outreach, including having written numerous popular maths books; he gave the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures in 1997. His research interests are in dynamical systems, bifurcations, pattern theory and biomathematics.  He also writes science fiction books, and has collaborated on the Science of Discworld books, based on Terry Pratchett’s series.

Links

Listen again to the episode of The Life Scientific, originally broadcast 17/9/13 – available up to a week afterwards.

Podcast – available indefinitely.

‘Of little practical value’?

Some mathematics, pictured here being hard to illustrate in news coverage

Some mathematics, pictured here being hard to illustrate in news coverage

As the heady excitement of the dawn of a forty-eight-Mersenne-prime world dims to a subdued, albeit slightly less factorable, normality, I have taken the opportunity to see what we can learn about the British press’s attitude and ability when it comes to the reporting of big numbers ending in a 1.

Overseas readers may not be aware that the UK’s public service broadcaster, the BBC, is funded by a mandatory annual £145.50 tax on all television-owning households. Therefore, it would be disappointing if some of these funds were not channeled into reporting the discovery in at least five or six separately-produced broadcasts across the organisation’s various radio and television outlets.

Watch Tim Harford recording a new radio show about economics for the BBC

Fans of Tim Harford and his work on BBC Radio 4’s More or Less will be excited to learn he’s doing a new radio show about economics. In this post on his blog, he explains the show will be called ‘Pop Up Economics’, and consist of short stories about important people and ideas in economics.

The show is being recorded in the evening this coming Tuesday 4th December, in London, and if you’d like to go along, you can email popupeconomics@bbc.co.uk for tickets and details.

Via @TimHarford on Twitter.

Royal Society Summer Science 2009 – my interest

Below is a video from the BBC about the Royal Society Summer Science 2009 exhibition. This interests me in two ways:

Firstly, not featured in the video is Edmund Harriss and his team who have taken a mathematics exhibit to the show, “How do Shapes Fill Space?” This is good news and will be mentioned on this week’s Travels in a Mathematical World maths news podcast, which will come out slightly too late!

Secondly, featured in the video is an exhibition on super water repellent surfaces from a group of physicists I know at Nottingham Trent University. In fact, the chap with his top off on the bed of nails is Professor Glen McHale who is Associate Dean for Research and so has a not inconsiderable say in whether I get my PhD.

Unfortunately I can’t go as I am not in London this week. If you can, between 30 June – 4 July, visitor information is on the website.

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