(This article is based on an interview that was originally conducted for the podcast Relatively Prime)
Robert Schneider is a rock star mathematician. I do not mean that in the metaphorical sense, as when it is applied, with a rather unmathematical lack of precision, to celebrity mathematicians such as Terry Tao, Cedric Villani, or Timothy Gowers. I mean it in the most literal sense: Robert Schneider is a mathematician and Robert Schneider is a rock star.
Anyone who caught any of this summer’s BBC Proms may have noticed that in the midst of the World’s Greatest Classical Music Festival, someone managed to sneak in a bit of mathematics. Emily Howard, whose degree was in Mathematics and Computing at Oxford, has become a composer whose works are performed alongside Glinka and Shostakovich. I spoke to Emily about her latest composition, Calculus of the Nervous System, which was part of this year’s Prom 51, on 21st August.
Marcus du Sautoy has lent his weight to The Telegraph’s numeracy campaign, Make Britain Count. In an interview covering maths and music, patterns and abstraction and a little about his and his children’s mathematics education, he also talks about how maths teaching in schools could be improved, stating that
in this country there’s an honour in saying you’re bad at maths, whereas in places such as India and China, mathematics is valued by the community. Parents there know that if their kids understand this language, they will be empowered. Sadly, this message hasn’t got across in many European countries yet… It’s got to be something that the whole society takes responsibility for and that is why I’m supporting the Telegraph’s Make Britain Count campaign. We’re not brave enough in our maths education these days. Kids get so bored at school from 11 to 14. They’re not exposed to the really interesting stuff.
Source: Make Britain Count: Marcus du Sautoy joins our campaign.
Dr Thomas Woolley of Oxford University’s Mathematical Institute will give a lecture on ‘Maths and Music’ on Monday 23 April at Thame Town Hall, starting at 7.30pm. The abstract follows. Free tickets are available from Thame Town Hall.
Music is the expression of thoughts, ideas and feelings.Mathematics is the language of fact, rigour and knowledge. They seem separate, but they are linked. Join us on a tour of only a few of these connections and leave with an appreciation of both. Although Dr Woolley’s work mostly involves using mathematics to research the skin patterns of animals, he also spends much of his time explaining mathematics to the “man in the street”. Dr Woolley has been involved in a number of mathematical workshops, activities and talks for the public, such as the Mathemusica group which opened the Oxford Science Festival in March with a performance fusing mathematics and music. “As an academic I spend most of my time producing mathematics that very few people would understand”, says Dr Woolley, “The goal is to push back the boundaries of knowledge, make the unknown known, and pure mathematicians aside, make the world a better place”.
Source: Pulse-Project.org: Maths and Music Lecture April 23rd Thame.