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What Can Mathematicians Do? Recordings of ten talks by disabled mathematicians

Montage of faces of presenters

In December I organised a series of online public maths talks called What Can Mathematicians Do?

The recordings of the talks are now online, free for anyone to watch. You could go to the official page I put up on Newcastle University’s website, or you could just watch them here!

First, Tanya Gleadow talked about the maths of drawing with lasers, and I stepped in at the last minute to talk about the Herschel enneahedron:

In the second session, Abi Kirk talked about Euler’s formula for polyhedra, and Amy Mason shared a method for deciding what to watch next on Netflix:

Third, Chetna Petal talked about her mathematical career in “I introduce myself as a mathematician… yes, really” and then Lucy Rycroft-Smith talked about the maths of menstruation (yes, really!)

In the penultimate session, Sophie MacLean showed how to get rich by applying maths to stock trading, and Lauren Gilbert talked about her experiences as a disabled physics student at Newcastle:

Finally, Naomi Wray enthused about the dozenal system for writing numbers, and Matt Mack described how to make art using the Travelling Salesman Problem:

So there you go!

I reckon the series was a moderate success: I did gather ten disabled mathematicians to talk to the public about maths, but the format didn’t work too well. We tried to time the sessions so that schools could take part in the last week of school, but didn’t get much take-up. I don’t know if I should have been more persistent with reminding teachers who signed up about the sessions, or if it just wasn’t practical. It was interesting to work with BSL interpreters for the first time, and I’m glad to have made contact with all of the speakers, some of whom I hadn’t worked with before.

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