The Bank of England has announced, following a public poll, that the new £50 note will feature mathematician, cryptographer and computer science pioneer Alan Turing. While this might seem like unambiguous good news, the issues it raises are more complicated than they first appear. Here’s a guest post from LGBT+ mathematician Calvin Smith with his thoughts on the decision.
It’s obviously fabulous that Alan Turing is being recognised on the new £50 note, but this joy at seeing a gay mathematician given this recognition is tainted with the memory of his cruel treatment by the society of the day and the ongoing persecution of queer and trans people today.
This is a guest post from Philipp Legner, the creator of Mathigon – an interactive maths education platform.
Every year, thousands of students around the world ask themselves why they have to learn mathematics. Calculators can do long division. You can look up the quadratic formula on the internet. And when will you ever need calculus in everyday life? It seems like they have a point.
In fact, the maths curriculum has not changed significantly in the last 50 years. Its primary focus is on memorising rules and procedures which can be used to solve standardised exam questions. I created Mathigon because I strongly believe we need to change this – not only to make mathematics more enjoyable for students, but also to teach different skills that are much more useful in life: problem-solving, abstraction, logical reasoning, creativity, and curiosity.
In 2017, the University of Bath hosted the first Talking Maths in Public conference, a gathering for UK maths communicators. As part of the event, attendance bursaries were awarded to students interested in maths outreach, and the recipients of the bursaries wrote about their experiences. To celebrate the fact that a second TMiP conference will be happening this year (booking is open now, and we’re all going to be there!), we’re sharing their report of TMiP 2017. You can find out more about this year’s event (which also includes a bursary scheme) at talkingmathsinpublic.uk.
This post was jointly written by Imogen Morris, (University of Edinburgh), David Nkansah (University of Glasgow) and Olivia Sorto (University of Edinburgh).
The programme for this year’s Cheltenham Science Festival has now been released, and tickets go on sale to members today (general booking opens next Wednesday). We asked Cheltenham local and science festival regular Martin Whitworth to send us his pick of the events for the mathematically inclined.
Festival season will soon be upon us. In a recently announced programme of over 200 events, the 2019 Cheltenham Science Festival includes many that will be of interest to the mathematically-minded, including events by maths presenters Marcus Du Sautoy, Ian Stewart, Matt Parker, Katie Steckles, Zoe Griffiths, Ben Sparks, Kyle D Evans and Hannah Fry.
A group of over 800 scientists have signed their names to an article published in Nature, explaining why statistical significance shouldn’t be relied on so heavily as a measure of the success of an experiment. We asked statistics buff Andrew Steele to explain.
A few months ago, Adam Townsend went to lunch and had a conversation. I wasn’t there, but I imagine the conversation went something like this:
Adam: Hello. Smitha: Hello. Adam: How are you? Smitha: Not bad. I’ve had a funny idea, actually. Adam: Yes? Smitha: You know how the \hat command in LaTeΧ puts a caret above a letter?… Well I was thinking it would be funny if someone made a package that made the \hat command put a picture of an actual hat on the symbol instead? Adam: (After a few hours of laughter.) I’ll see what my flatmate is up to this weekend… Jeff: What on Earth are you two talking about?!
As anyone who has been anywhere near maths at a university in the last ∞ years will be able to tell you, LaTeΧ (or $\LaTeX$) is a piece of maths typesetting software. It’s a bit like a version of Word that runs in terminal and makes PDFs with really pretty equations.
By default, LaTeΧ can’t do very much, but features can easily added by importing packages: importing the graphicsx package allows you to put images in your PDF; importing geometry allows you to easily change the page margins; and importing realhats makes the \hat command put real hats above symbols.