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Particularly mathematical New Years Honours 2020

It’s that time of year when we take a look at the UK Government’s New Years Honours list for any particularly mathematical entries. Here is the selection for this year – any more, let us know in the comments and we’ll add to the list. 

  • Prof. Nick Woodhouse, Emeritus Professor of Mathematics, University of Oxford. Appointed CBE for services to Mathematics.
  • Prof. Abdel Babiker, Professor of Epidemiology & Medical Statistics, UCL. Appointed OBE for services to medical research.
  • Agnes Johnstone, Head of Mathematics, Oban High School. Awarded BEM for services to STEM Education and the community in Oban.

Get the full list here.

International Day of Mathematics

International Day of Mathematics March 14

The UNESCO Executive Board decided in October 2018 to endorse a recommendation, coordinated by the International Mathematical Union, to proclaim an International Day of Mathematics on 14th March each year. This recommendation is on the agenda for the UNESCO General Conference in November 2019 an, if adopted, will have its first official celebration on 14th March 2020, where the proposed theme is ‘Mathematics is Everywhere‘.

Preparations in anticipation for the adoption seem to be heating up, with a publicity drive underway. The IDM website says it will share free materials, projects, ideas and software, as well as a map of worldwide events and gatherings, all in multiple languages and under open licenses. You can sign up for a “one or two emails per month at most” mailing list to keep informed.

More information: The IMU wants to make π Day the International Day of Mathematics (October 2018).

Wikithon for diversity in mathematics

Image of Ada Lovelace (credit: Science Museum)

Next Tuesday, October 8th, UCL Mathematics is hosting a Wikithon in celebration of Ada Lovelace Day from 5-7pm. The theme is Diversity in Mathematics, and the aim is to write Wikipedia articles about mathematicians from under-represented groups. The session will be led by Dr Jess Wade BEM (Imperial College, Physics) and Dr Alice White (Wellcome Trust).

Jess Wade was appointed BEM earlier this year for services to Gender Diversity in Science.

If you want to participate, you are asked to bring a laptop – pizza will be provided. You are asked to register (for free) for catering reasons.

42 is the answer to the question “what is (-80538738812075974)³ + 80435758145817515³ + 12602123297335631³?”

We now know that the number 42 can be written as the sum of three cubes:

\[ 42 = (-80538738812075974)^3 + 80435758145817515^3 + 12602123297335631^3 \]

This computational breakthrough was achieved in a collaboration between Andrew Sutherland (MIT) and Andrew Booker (Bristol). They announced the result by both replacing their homepages with the expression – with the page title Life, the Universe and Everything.

Simon Singh wants someone to help with Top Top Set

Top-Top Set Maths logo

Simon Singh, author of Fermat’s Last Theorem and The Code Book, among others, has for the last three years been running a project called Top-Top Set. It’s an enrichment project to stretch kids at non-selective state schools in the UK.

Now, Simon is looking for an experienced maths teacher to help him grow the project even further.

Responsibilities for the Top-Top Set Project Co-ordinator include:

  • Developing the top-top set project to maximise its impact and cost-effectiveness.
  • Supporting and visiting the schools currently
  • Helping schools implement the top-top set model to full effect.
  • Recruiting more schools to start in September 2020.
  • Working with potential and existing funders.
  • Teaching top-top sets or potential top-top set students.
  • Developing resources for and managing the online Parallel Project.

If that sounds like something you’d like to do, find more information about how to apply at the Good Thinking Society website.

If that doesn’t sound like something you’d like to do, or just while you’re waiting to hear if you’ve got the job, check out Parallel, a set of free weekly maths challenges developed to support Top-Top Set, but available to everyone.

Cédric Villani is running for mayor of Paris

Cédric Villani under an umbrella

Fields medallist Cédric Villani has announced he’s running to be mayor of Paris.

Villani is already a deputé for Emmanuel Macron’s La République en Marche! party, but his ambition doesn’t seem to be bounded above, so now he wants to be mayor of Paris.

France has already had a mathematician President, Paul Painlevé, so I’m surprised to see Villani revisiting a solved problem. Maybe he’s going for an induction…

How far will Cédric Villani go to achieve his goal? Well, here’s a piece in Le Parisien featuring a photo of him in an open-necked shirt and without his signature spider brooch. Watch out, world!

A press release on Villani’s website also mentions that he’s got a book out in February, Immersion, de la science à la politique, reflecting on his experiences campaigning and in parliament.