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Aperiodical News Roundup – August 2022

Not much going on in the world of maths this month (or, we’re on holiday so we haven’t been paying attention), but here’s a round-up of a few stories we saw this month.

The next Black Heroes of Mathematics Conference is scheduled for the 4th and 5th October, taking place online and featuring speakers including statistician Sophie Dabo-Niang (University of Lille), actuarial/finance lecturer Tolulope Fadina (University of Essex), Tosin Babasola (University of Bath), mathematician and former NFL player John Urschel (Harvard), Mathematically Uncensored podcast host Aris Winger (Georgia Gwinnett College), engineer Ejay Nsugbe (Nsugbe Research Labs), Nandi Leslie (Raytheon Technologies) and Franck Kalala Mutombo (University of Lubumbashi). The event is a joint initiative between The British Society for the History of Mathematicsthe International Centre for Mathematical Sciences, the Institute of Mathematics and its Applicationsthe Isaac Newton Institutethe London Mathematical Society, and the Mathematical Association.

Photo: HLFF

Later this month the 9th Heidelberg Laureate Forum will take place in Germany, bringing together laureates of the Abel Prize, Fields Medal and other prestigious maths and computer science awards. The event also invites hundreds of promising PhD students in maths and computer science to network and watch lectures by the laureates. Much of the conference will be livestreamed online, and there’ll be Twitter and blog coverage of the event (including some posts by me, and others by Chalkdust team member/friend of the site Sophie Maclean).

Aperiodic tilings exhibition

The Open University has put together a mathematical art exhibition and workshop inspired by aperiodic tilings, in honour of Uwe Grimm, and it’s now possible to view the Aperiodic tilings exhibition online, including stills of the pieces and a video walk around the exhibition.

And finally: our own Peter has noticed an interesting trend of positive coverage of maths in the media, and has collected some examples in this Twitter thread, including a Guardian piece about someone who discovered a love of maths later in life having struggled at school, a BBC Radio 4 episode of biography show ‘Great Lives’ on Dame Kathleen Ollerenshaw. Add your own examples to the thread!

Aperiodical News Roundup – November 2021

Here’s a roundup of some of the news stories from the world of maths in the month of November.


Photo of headshots of women mathematicians featured in the film as well as a blackboard

Eugenie Hunsicker and collaborators have produced a film entitled “Words of Women in Mathematics in the Time of Corona”, which raises awareness of the impact of the pandemic on women in mathematics.

The QE Prize for Engineering’s ‘Month of Making’, as featured previously in a post announcing the start, is well under way and continues until 12th December, with scientific, mathematical and engineeringy ideas for make-it-yourself gifts every day.

This month saw the official launch of MathsCity Leeds, as previously covered in this review by hands-on discovery centre correspondent Peter and his son.

Photo of MathsWorldUK Committee and Support Team in the discovery centre, with Katie and Paul watching an interactive demonstration of pendulums in the background top right
MathsWorldUK Committee and Support Team, with the Aperiodical’s Katie and Paul hiding in the background top right (Photo: North East Post)

Leading mathematicians, council members, and key professionals from tourist attractions and universities across the country were just some of the guests that attended the bustling launch party last night for the UK’s first maths discovery centre. […] Celebrating the milestone achievement by the pioneering charity MathsWorldUK, the MathsCity launch was an opportunity to show donors, supporters, and future investors why the innovative new attraction that opened its doors in Leeds City Centre last month is so important for the future.

North East Post
Text from screenshot: This proposal has reached 100% commitment. We are preparing for its launch and expect to create it soon.

Attempts to start a proof assistants stack exchange have been successful, and the Stack Exchange team are “are preparing for its launch and expect to create it soon”. (via Andrej Bauer)

A new paper has been published in Nature about the use of machine learning in pure maths research. This isn’t machine learning making new maths, but rather it’s pitched as a collaboration between mathematician and machine – the authors argue that machine learning can be used “to guide intuition and propose conjectures”. The paper gives some examples of new fundamental results in pure mathematics that have been discovered with the assistance of machine learning.

Open Calls

How maths helps people - Poster Ccompetition. Photos of the earth from space, a syringe, a brush fire, a crowd and a whale. IMA and Maths Careers logo.

The IMA has launched a poster competition called How Maths Helps People, in which high school students are asked to design an A4 “persuasive poster which shows how maths can be used to help people”. The poster should be aimed at high school students, and students with winning posters in each age group will receive an Android tablet. The closing date is 31st January 2022.

A photograph of a group of young researchers, standing in a modern building, grouped around a seated old bearded internet evangelist
Vint Cerf at HLF 2014 (Photo: HLFF)

The LMS has announced its annual call for nominations for its 2022 prizes, which are awarded in various categories for mathematical research, innovation and exposition.

Recreational Maths Magazine has issued a call for proposals for its upcoming π-themed issue, which will be their first specially themed issue. Calls close on 14th March 2022 (obviously).

The Heidelberg Laureate Forum, which takes place in September in Heidelberg, Germany, and brings together top-level maths laureates with young researchers for a week of lectures, workshops and networking has announced that applications for young researchers to attend HLF 2022 are now open. If you know any PhD or postdoc mathematicians who would like a chance to meet some cool people and have a great trip to Germany, encourage them to apply!

Nine months of HLF blogging

I’ve now been writing fortnightly blog posts for the Heidelberg Laureate Forum’s Spektrum blog for over nine months. Small trumpet noises! Here’s what I’ve been writing about:

I’ll continue writing posts for HLF’s Spektrum blog as long as they want me to – keep checking their Twitter feed or the blog’s RSS feed to see them as they appear!

Young Researcher applications open for HLF 2019

The Heidelberg Laureate Forum is an annual gathering of maths and computer science prize laureates, including Abel Prize winners and Fields Medalists, together with 200 young researchers from across maths and computer science. It’s a great opportunity for the researchers to meet each other and the Laureates, and see talks from the leading lights in the field. From the HLF press release:

The 7th HLF will take place from September 22 to 27, 2019 […]. This prominent, versatile event combines scientific, social and outreach activities in a unique atmosphere, fuelled by comprehensive exchange and scientific inspiration. Laureate lectures, young researcher workshops and a structure welcoming unfettered discussions are the elements that compose the Forum’s platform.

Over the course of the weeklong conference, young researchers will be given the exclusive possibility to profoundly connect with their scientific role models and find out how the laureates made it to the top of their fields. As described by a young researcher, “It’s a life-changing experience. Getting the opportunity to actually speak to the laureates in close contact can really shape us.”

Applications are now open (until 15th February) for the 2019 HLF – if you are or know someone who’s an undergrad, postgrad or postdoc in maths or computer science who might enjoy a week away in scenic Bavaria with some of the world’s greatest mathematicians and computer scientists, applications can be made at

HLF Blogs: Quotable Women in Mathematics

Last month, Katie and Paul spent a week blogging from the Heidelberg Laureate Forum – a week-long maths conference where current young researchers in maths and computer science can meet and hear talks by top-level prize-winning researchers. For more information about the HLF, visit the Heidelberg Laureate Forum website.

Earlier this year, one of our colleagues made an interesting observation about the Wikiquote page for Mathematics . Wikiquote collects interesting and pithy statements, with references, and categorises them by subject. What our friend Colin had noticed that was almost all of the quotes on the page about mathematics were from men.

This reflects on existing gender imbalance in mathematics, which will hopefully improve. But mathematics is done by all kinds of people all over the world, and many of them have occasion to say interesting and/or profound things about their subject – even the ones who aren’t men. Since Wikiquote is part of the Wikimedia network and can be edited and contributed to, we held a small editing day back in May where we added a number of quotes from female mathematicians to the page, to try to balance out the score.

Walking around the Women in Mathematics featured here at the HLF this week, I was featured by the amazing quotes taken from the interviews with each of the mathematicians. I’ve picked some of my favorites – and yes, I’ve added them to the Wikiquote page . Enjoy!

Photo from opening of Women in Mathematics exhibition, © Heidelberg Laureate Forum Foundation / Mück

Photo from opening of Women in Mathematics exhibition, © Heidelberg Laureate Forum Foundation / Mück


“In doing mathematics, I express something personal. It is a source of joy to know that, despite this personal aspect, the fruit of my work can be of interest to other mathematicians. “- Nalini Anantharaman


“Mathematics offers a common language across borders. It’s a real joy. “- Alice Fialowski


“My earliest mathematical memory is my father’s explanation of the theorem that three angles in a triangle add up to 180 degrees. The idea that something could have proved to be true was very appealing to me. “- Frances Kirwan

Photo from opening of Women in Mathematics exhibition, © Heidelberg Laureate Forum Foundation / Mück

Photo from opening of Women in Mathematics exhibition, © Heidelberg Laureate Forum Foundation / Mück

“I used to fear I was on the right track. You need to develop a personal conviction that you are a mathematician , and that’s what you are doing. “- Katarzyna Rejzner


“I enjoy being surprised by mathematics and its intrinsic difficulty. The moment I enjoy the fall of one coherent whole. “- Katrin Wendland


“You should not choose to do mathematics if you want to make money; your salary as a mathematician will never correspond to the amount of time invested in your work. “- Margarida Mendes Lopes


“I like to find out as much as I can about a mathematical object as possible, just as you would like to understand a person as well as possible.” – Oksana Yakimova

HLF Blogs: The numbers behind the young researchers – 2018

Last month, Katie and Paul spent a week blogging from the Heidelberg Laureate Forum – a week-long maths conference where current young researchers in maths and computer science can meet and hear talks by top-level prize-winning researchers. For more information about the HLF, visit the Heidelberg Laureate Forum website.

Photo: Bernhard Kreutzer for HLF

For the Wednesday afternoon of HLF, the entire conference gets on a (very large) boat and heads off for a gentle cruise down the river, drink in hand and ready to enjoy the scenery. The young researchers, along with the Laureates and the rest of us, are effectively trapped on the boat for a few hours – so just like last year, we took the opportunity to corner some of the PhD and postgrad students and ask them about their research – and the numbers they find central to their work.