The London Mathematical Society have released a report ‘Advancing women in mathematics: good practice in UK university departments‘. The LMS is “concerned about the loss of women from mathematics, particularly at the higher levels of research and teaching, and at the missed opportunities that this represents”.
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Christmas is a time for giving, celebrating, family and magic. But did you know it’s also a time for equations? Department store Debenhams has decided to honour this recent Christmas tradition by tasking at least two members of Sheffield University’s undergraduate maths society to come up with formulae for ‘a perfectly decorated Christmas tree‘, picked up by The Sun, The Metro and others.
Previous festive howlers include ‘the formula for the perfect family Christmas‘ (sponsored by The Children’s Society to promote a book) and a prior stab at ‘the equation for the ideal Christmas tree‘ (sponsored by B&Q), which are just nonsensical strings of abbreviations. However, unlike those examples of naff-ematics, the Sheffield tree-decorating equations make enough sense for me to take a critical, overly-serious look at them on their own merits, and show how you might begin to come up with something more rational.
Having neglected the home of wartime codebreaking since it packed up and left with the end of hostilities, it looks like the Foreign Office is Turing over a new leaf – Foreign Secretary William Hague paid a visit to Bletchley Park on Thursday to make a couple of announcements that will please both amateur and more serious codebreakers.
Long-standing chum of The Aperiodical, Samuel Hansen, has been spending the past year travelling round the world recording interviews and collecting audio for an ambitious series of programs about maths called Relatively Prime: Stories from the mathematical domain. The first episode will be released next Monday.
Researchers have designed and fabricated a quantum processor capable of factoring a composite number – 15 – into its constituent prime factors, 3 and 5.
According to a press release, this “represents a milestone on the road map to building a quantum computer capable of factoring much larger numbers, with significant implications for cryptography and cybersecurity”. The results are published in advance online access at Nature Physics.
An IMA/LMS press release points out that A-level and AS-level Mathematics and Further Mathematics entries are continuing to rise.
The number of A-level Mathematics entries is up 3.3% on last year, with AS Mathematics increasing by 5.1%.
Further Mathematics also continues to grow, with entries increasing by 7.6% at A-level this year and 12.9% at AS.
This means that since 2007 the number of A-level Mathematics entries has risen by 42.7% and in Further Mathematics the increase is even greater at 68%.
The piece also points out that “mathematics A-levels now account for 11.4% of all entries – more than any other subject”. A quote from LMS Education Secretary Dr Tony Gardiner warns that “it is essential that Ofqual’s current review does nothing to undermine this position”.
Press release: A-level results – Mathematics is counting its success.
EDF Energy, one of the pantheon of Olympics sponsors, has opted to share its love for energy through its ‘Energy of the Nation’ project, launched earlier this week. By monitoring the nation’s positive and negative ‘energy’, by which they mean ‘things they are saying on Twitter’, they’ll turn the London Eye into a giant pie chart each evening at 9pm and display the results of the previous 24 hours’ sentiments over the course of 24 minutes. While my approval of such a large act of data representation is practically off the (pie) chart, I’m interested to find out how it works before judging it either way.