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Review: Closing the Gap, by Vicky Neale

Did you read Cédric Villani’s Birth of a Theorem? Did you have the same reaction as me, that all of the mentions of the technical details were incredibly impressive, doubtless meaningful to those in the know, but ultimately unenlightening?

Writing about maths, especially deep technical maths, so that a reader can follow along with it is hard – the Venn diagram of the set of people who can write clearly and the set of people who understand the maths, two relatively small sets, has a yet smaller intersection.

Relatively Prime Recap: Season 2, Episode 8: Diegetic Plots, Chapter 2

Diegetic Plots, Chapter 2

There really isn’t enough silliness in maths. Samuel has tried to inject some throughout the series, sometimes more successfully than others. This is the episode where he finally nails the silliness.

Diegetic Plots, Chapter 2 is a nice finale to a generally good season of Relatively Prime. Dealing with sketches and haiku from the mathematical domain, we get a glimpse of the daft side of maths.

Cédric Villani’s Birth of a Theorem is Radio 4 Book of the Week

Birth of a Theorem, the autobiographical book by French mathematician and (spoiler) Fields Medallist Cédric Villani, is Book of the Week on BBC Radio 4 this week, read by non-French non-mathematician Julian Rhind-Tutt. Villani also appeared on discussion show Start the Week on Monday, talking about ‘the mathematical mind’ along with mathematician Vicky Neale; Morgan Matthews, director of kid-does-maths film X+Y; and novelist Zia Haider Rahman.

Not mentioned on The Aperiodical this month – August 2014

As usual in the summer, we’ve all been off doing our own things and consequently neglecting the news queue. Time to break out our tried-and-tested solution: a combo-post summarising everything we failed to cover in depth, before it goes completely out of date.

The Royal Society has Opinions about Education

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

Cédric Villani is setting up a Maths Museum in Paris

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)

Science Magazine establishes a Statistical Board of Reviewing Editors

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!

More information

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

ASA launches ‘This is Statistics’

this is statistics

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

via Tim Harford on Twitter

Tony Mann on Atiyah and Villani at Tate Modern

Tony Mann attended the Atiyah/Villani(/Stewart) event at Tate Modern yesterday and wrote a review of this for his blog. He discusses several interesting ideas from the discussions – “a few that resonated with me” – including on problem solving, history and the practice of doing mathematics in relation to art, barriers and the place of blackboards.

Tony notes that the event was being recorded so we might look forward to a recording that can be viewed later.

Read Tony’s review: Atiyah and Villani at Tate Modern – the value of blackboards.