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Aperiodical News Roundup – March 2021

Here’s a round-up of some maths news we didn’t yet write about this month.


László Lovász and Avi Wigderson

This month the Abel Prize committee announced this year’s award will go to László Lovász and Avi Wigderson “for their foundational contributions to theoretical computer science and discrete mathematics, and their leading role in shaping them into central fields of modern mathematics.” The prize will be handed over at a ceremony in May. You can read more about this year’s prize on the Abel Prize website.

Cheryl Praeger has been awarded the inaugural Ruby Payne-Scott Medal for her mathematical work on symmetry and developing algorithms that help power technology around the world. Named after pioneering Australian radio astronomer Ruby Payne-Scott, the medal recognises exceptional researchers in physical and biological sciences and is awarded by the Australian Academy of Science.

The Royal Society of Edinburgh has announced its list of 2021 Fellows, which includes mathematicians Paul Glendinning, Tara Brendle and Bernd Schroers.

Turing banknote
Image: Bank of England

And since we haven’t reported enough Alan Turing news, the design for the new Alan Turing £50 note has been revealed. GCHQ have released a series of puzzles linked to the design (presumably looking to find the next Alan Turing, so they can put whoever it is on the £100 note a century from now).

Visit the Turing Challenge website to throw your hat in.

Events & Websites

The IMA are running a What it’s like to study Mathematics at University?’ Conference online on 14th April – with speakers including researchers, maths teachers and A-level students, the event will explore what being a student mathematician entails and how to take it further into a career. For ages 16+, it’s free to attend and you can register online.

From the people who brought you the WayBack Machine, the Internet Archive Scholar includes over 25 million research articles and other scholarly documents preserved in the Internet Archive. The collection includes everything from digitised copies of eighteenth century journals through to the latest Open Access conference proceedings and pre-prints crawled from the World Wide Web.

Screenshot of the Her Maths Story website

The newly launched Her Maths Story website collects stories of women mathematicians from all over the world, and includes photos and pithy quotes – it’ll be a useful resource if you want to showcase real mathematicians and their varied backgrounds and careers.

Other news

Rob Eastaway has written a lovely blog post about statistician John Haigh, who passed away on 9th March. Rob also recommends John’s book Taking Chances: Winning with Probability.

Aperiodical News Roundup – February 2021

Image by /

Here’s a round-up of the latest mathematical news from the (perfectly rectangular) month of February.

Aperiodical News Roundup – January 2021

Events, Competitions & Proposals

LMS Women in Maths Events

Registration is now open for the upcoming virtual Women and Non-Binary People in Mathematics conference funded by the LMS, taking place on 11th-12th February. The event is open to all mathematicians in all stages of their career and from any field, and is on MS Teams.

The LMS are also running their annual Women in Mathematics Day on 24th March, aiming to promote interest and careers in mathematics for women. Open to mathematicians of all genders, backgrounds and career stages, the event will include talks from academia and industry, a panel discussion and a poster competition with prizes.

International Day of Mathematics Website & Poster Challenge

International Day of Mathematics 2021: March 14

For 2021’s International Day of Mathematics on 14th March, the theme is Mathematics for a Better World. The organisers have now launched their 2021 website, Mathematics for a Better World, which shows some cool applications of maths.

IDM are also holding a poster challenge linked to the theme, Mathematics for a Better World. The challenge is to create a poster that shows one way to make the world a little bit better using mathematics. The competition runs until 1st March.

Back issues of Eureka Recreational maths journal now available online

Eureka, the recreational mathematics journal produced by the Cambridge University Mathematical Society The Archimedeans, has placed all of its old archive issues online so anyone can access them.

Other Good News

Preorders for printed copies of Chalkdust 11 & 12 now available

If you remember physical printed media from the Past Times and are a fan, you can order physical printed copies of Chalkdust Issues 11 & 12 through their website.

Medals of the Order of Australia awarded to maths people

Numberphile creator Brady Haran and maths pioneer Prof. Cheryl Praeger are among those awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia, as part of this year’s Australia Day celebrations on 25th Jan.

WA’s first female maths professor lands top award in Australia Day honours list, at ABC News
Brady’s writeup about the award on his blog

Communications of the AMS, a new diamond open access journal, is launched

Communications of the American Mathematical Society (CAMS) is a new, diamond open access journal designed to provide a home for the very best research and review articles across all areas of mathematics. CAMS will be a natural home for both pure and applied mathematics, presenting a window into a holistic view of mathematics and its applications to a wide range of disciplines. The AMS expects the journal to be a diverse and inclusive home for mathematicians around the world in support of emerging research. It is anticipated that the first published articles will appear in early 2021. For more information, visit the journal’s webpage​.

(via Ian Agol on Twitter)

Funding Boost for Mathematical Sciences Institutes

Three of the UK’s leading research institutes will be supported to widen access to mathematical sciences and support training through funding confirmed on 21st January. The Isaac Newton Institute (INI), the International Centre for Mathematical Sciences (ICMS) and the Heilbronn Institute for Mathematical Research (HIMR) will be able to support a wide range of education and training activities using the money.

The funding is part of the £300 million government investment in the Additional Funding Programme for Mathematical Sciences, announced in 2020.

Funding boost for mathematical sciences institutes, on the UKRI website
January 2021 funding increase: what does it mean for INI, ICMS and the mathematical community? on YouTube

(via EPSRC on Twitter)

‘This is What a Mathematician Looks Like’ badges raise money for charity

Aerospace engineer Krystina Pearson-Rampeearee has launched a new set of pin badges which proudly proclaim “This is what a mathematican looks like”. In the accompanying Twitter thread, she explains that £1.50 from the sale of each badge will go to maths positivity charity Maths on Toast.

The badges are available, along with a range of others, in Krystina’s Etsy shop for £6.99 + P&P.

(via @Obeverley on Twitter)

Remaining News

Increase in Scientific Publications not mirrored in maths

Some scientific publishers are reporting a surge in submissions this year as scholars find more time during the pandemic to write papers. Does mathematics fit this pattern? Err, no. This blog post by Edward Dunne for the AMS goes into it.

(via @AmerMathSoc on Twitter)

Graham Hoare has died

Graham Hoare has died aged 85. Among his many achievements he was a mathematician and teacher, one of the driving forces behind the Royal Institution’s mathematics masterclasses, letters editor for the Mathematics Today journal and an active member of the Mathematical Association.

Graham Hoare obituary, in the Guardian.

The University of Leicester is planning to sack all its pure maths staff

In a move which claims to ‘shape for excellence’, the University of Leicester plans to cease research in pure mathematics. All pure mathematicians will be made redundant (in the middle of a pandemic) and three teaching-focused lecturers will be hired to cover their undergraduate programmes.

The idea is that the university needs to focus more on its “future research identity in AI, computational modelling, digitalisation and data science”, and that resources will be reallocated there. Presumably they’ll have to also outsource any integers or algebraic structures they need in order to do those things as well.

Previous attempts to do a similar thing in 2016 were met with outcry, including from the late Sir Michael Atiyah, and dropped, but they’re trying again. There’s a petition protesting the decision which already has over 5,000 signatures.

Mathematics is not redundant, on iPetitions.
Redundancies comment #3 – Plan for Maths doesn’t add up, on the University of Leicester UCU website.

(via Tim Gowers on Twitter)

Aperiodical News Roundup – December 2020

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

Aperiodical News Roundup – November 2020

Here’s some of the latest mathematical news and goings-on from the month of November.

Aperiodical News Roundup – October 2020

Here’s a roundup of mathematical stories from the month that’s just been.