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Aperiodical News Roundup – December 2020

Here’s the latest (well, almost) news of mathematical and maths-related things that happened in December.


Nalini Joshi
Ole Warnaar

The George Szekeres medal for 2020 has been awarded to Nalini Joshi and Ole Warnaar. Awarded by the Australian Mathematics Society in even numbered years, it recognises “an outstanding contribution to the mathematical sciences”.
Nick Higham

The Council of the IMA has awarded the IMA Gold Medal 2020 to Nicholas (Nick) Higham. Institute Gold Medals are awarded in recognition of outstanding contributions to mathematics and its applications over a period of years, and Prof Higham has been an active member of the maths research community with over 140 publications, as well as serving on many committees, contributing maths software and writing books.

Also, in light of recent circumstances, The LMS Prizes Committee has decided to extend the deadline to submit nominations for LMS Prizes in 2021 to Wednesday, 13th January 2021.

Things to Do

PROMYS (the Programme in Maths for Young Scientists), run by a collaboration between Wadham College and the Mathematical Institute at the University of Oxford, and the Clay Mathematics Institute, is a programme designed to encourage mathematically ambitious secondary school students to explore the creative world of mathematics. PROMYS has announced it’ll be running its four-week summer course as an online programme this year, in July/August 2021, and applications will be open shortly.

Also at Oxford is the Oxford University Online Maths Club, taking place every Thursday at 4.30pm with an live-streamed hour of maths problems, puzzles, mini-lectures, and Q&A. It’s free to attend, with an emphasis on solving problems, building fluency, and looking ahead at links to university maths – ideal for school students thinking of maths at uni.

And finally, in case you missed it, the RSS Christmas Quiz has been online since before Christmas, but answers can still be submitted up to 31st January. It’s not just a maths quiz – it includes logic and word puzzles, and general knowledge and lateral thinking are required!

Other News

David Christie has broken his own world record by calculating over $\pi \times 10^{13}$ digits of e. (via Angela Brett on Twitter)

Mathematician Peter M. Neumann has died, as reported by Snezana Lawrence on Twitter, which has produced a touching thread of responses from people who knew him, and some lovely memories are shared in this blog post by Tony Mann. EDIT: Peter Cameron has also shared some memories in a blog post, and an obituary by Peter’s son David Neumann is in The Guardian.

In strange maths news, a fan of Kurt Gödel successfully convinced the cemetery where he and his wife are buried to allow him to modify Gödel’s gravestone, because he wasn’t happy with the font… and then wrote a blog post about it?

Russian mathematician Azat Miftakhov, a graduate student of Moscow State University, has been under arrest for over a year and half on some questionable charges, and there’s a petition you can sign supporting him. (via Jordan Ellenberg on Twitter)

Starting 1st January 2021, zbMATH is becoming an open access database. The mathematical community is invited to participate in its further development by sharing ideas, or becoming a reviewer.

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