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Podcast: Episode 54 – Maths news with Sarah Shepherd

These are the show notes for episode 54 of the Travels in a Mathematical World Podcast. 54 is the number of colored squares on a Rubik’s cube. More about 54 from Number Gossip.

This week on the podcast I met Sarah Shepherd, PhD student at the University of Nottingham and Editor of iSquared Magazine, and we discussed some maths news. Links to all the articles we mentioned are below.

Fabrice Bellard claims to have calculated Pi to 2.7 trillion digits on a desktop computer using a highly efficient algorithm. Read “Pi calculated to ‘record number’ of digits” from the BBC.

Mathematical Ethnographies, a film project at the University of Bristol, aims to explore how mathematicians think and work, their passion for the subject, what their motivations are, and how they view themselves. Read the press release “New films explore the pain and the pleasure of maths“.

The list of books recommended to me via Twitter for a 13-year old keen mathematician is on my blog as Reading list for a keen 13 year old mathematician.

Marcus du Sautoy chooses 5 books which “reveal the beauty of mathematics” in an interview with The Browser. Read “The Beauty of Maths“.

Marcus du Sautoy has been awarded OBE for services to science. Read “New Year Honours 2010” from the University of Oxford.

The Mandelbulb is a 3d interpretation of an object similar to the Mandelbrot set. See images from the Mandelbulb on the page entitled “Mandelbulb: The Unravelling of the Real 3D Mandelbrot Fractal” and read an article on how it was done in the New Scientist as “The Mandelbulb: first ‘true’ 3D image of famous fractal“.

An exhibition, 1001 Inventions, at the Science Museum, London as part of an exhibition aimed at bringing Islamic scientists to greater public recognition. Read “Elephant clock trumpets golden age of ancient Islamic science” in the Times. Noel-Ann Bradshaw covered the life and works of the Islamic scholar al-Kharazmi in podcast Episode 17 – History with Noel-Ann Bradshaw – al-Kharazmi.

The number of people joining teacher training courses in England this year are up. Read “Trainee teacher targets exceeded” from the BBC.

Girls are just as good at maths as boys but they are too shy to realise their talents, new research has found. Read “Girls ‘too shy’ to shine in maths” in the Telegraph.

Schools are using drama, role-play, music and dance to get children interested in subjects such as maths and science, according to Ofsted. Read “Schools using dance and fashion to get bored pupils interested in maths” in the Telegraph.

The Guardian has a special report on how to build up confidence in teaching and learning maths, “Do the maths“. This includes articles on Maths using Google Maps, video games, Maths Careers website relaunch, Chartered Mathematics Teacher, Self-evaluation tools for maths teachers, series of short interviews on how maths made careers, including Simon Singh, Carol Vorderman, Johnny Ball and Kate Bellingham.

The MathsCareers website is available via

Professor Robin Sharp has spent a year perfecting the design for an autonomous unicycle. Read “Design for an autonomous unicycle“.

The way fungus-like slime moulds grow could help engineers design wireless communication networks. Read “Engineers ‘can learn from slime’” from the BBC. Someone else who is keen on modern engineering methods learning from nature is Adrian Bowyer, who talks about this in episode 9 and episode 10.

Woolworths Stores: read Matt Parker’s satire “Locations of Ancient Woolworths Stores follow Precise Geometrical Pattern“.

You can find out about Mathematics Today on the IMA website.

For more about iSquared Magazine visit the iSquared Magazine Website.

You can find out more about the IMA by visiting You can find out more about what I do by reading this blog, by following me on Twitter or visiting Join the Travels in a Mathematical World Podcast Facebook Fan Page.

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