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Podcasting about: Isaac Newton Institute Podcast

In this series of posts, we’ll be featuring mathematical podcasts from all over the internet, by speaking to the creators of the podcast and asking them about what they do.

We spoke to Dan Aspel, communications officer at the Isaac Newton Institute in Cambridge, about the Institute’s in-house podcast.

Living Proof Podcast logo

Podcast title: Isaac Newton Institute Podcast (renamed to ‘Living Proof’ in 2021)
Links: ApplePodtail
Average episode length: 10-20 minutes
Recommended episode: This Interview with Matt Parker at the TMiP conference 2019

What is the Isaac Newton Institute?

Founded in 1992, the Isaac Newton Institute is the UK’s premier mathematical research centre. Based on the University of Cambridge’s mathematics campus, it runs research programmes with myriad applications over a wide range of cutting-edge science and technology. Selected by a panel of leading mathematicians, these programmes are chosen for their scientific merit and presence at the forefront of current developments where a significant scientific breakthrough can be expected. They are expected to be interdisciplinary and to have the highest quality leadership and participants invited from across the globe – with the result being that a third will typically come from the UK, a third from Europe as a whole and a third from the rest of the world. This mixture of minds, as well as the time and space given to them, allows the Institute to transcend the boundaries of departmental structures and truly move disciplines.

What kind of things happen at the INI?

Recent programmes have focused on subjects as diverse as: the mathematics of energy systems, the science of the human heart, the Wiener-Hopf technique, complex analysis, uncertainty quantification, computer vision and quantum field theory. Notable past participants have included more than 27 Fields Medallists and winners of the Abel Prize. INI also has a pivotal role in helping to champion diversity within the mathematical sciences. Numerous initiatives, including the Kirk Distinguished Visiting Fellowship and a supportive and open infrastructure for those travelling with families and young children, are helping the Institute in this regard as well as the availability of funding packages for visitors and participants from developing countries.

Tell us more about your podcast.

Launched in March 2019, the INI podcast series aims to highlight these diverse people and explore the many interconnected topics linked to the Institute’s activities. Interviewees may range from visiting academics and lecturers to mathematicians, other scientists, and prominent figures within the University of Cambridge and beyond. The podcast typically involves mathematical themes, but is specifically aimed at a general audience. The focus is on the subjects being interviewed and the social stories they have to tell, not just on the significance and details of the research they may be undertaking.

What’s special about your podcast?

With 2,500 visitors passing through the Institute each year, there is a rich pool of interviewees from which to choose. We hope that 15+ episodes already available and the many more to come will inspire, interest and entertain.

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