Here’s the latest (well, almost) news of mathematical and maths-related things that happened in December.
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Here’s a round-up of some mathematical events and competitions that might be of interest, happening from October.
The London Mathematical Society Popular Lectures present exciting topics in mathematics and its applications to a wide audience. The 2017 Popular Lectures were Adventures in the 7th Dimension (Dr Jason Lotay, University College London) and The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Physics in Maths (Professor David Tong, University of Cambridge).
The Lectures are now available on the LMS’s YouTube channel, along with many of the previous years’ videos.
Here’s a round-up of some of the news from this month.
Never-ending Turing centenary, part XLVI
The Alan Turing centenary shows no signs of abating.
First of all, there’s a marvellous new art installation under Paddington Bridge in London, in memory of Turing. There’s also a theatre piece called Breaking the Code, showing at Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre until 19th November.
Secondly, work continues to introduce legislation in the UK pardoning all gay men who were convicted of crimes related to homosexuality, in the same way Alan was a few years ago. Ministers said they were ‘committed’ to getting the law passed, but in an emotional session the bill was “talked out” by minister Sam Gyimah, meaning it wasn’t voted on.
LMS wins the first Royal Society Athena prize
The London Mathematical Society (LMS) has been honoured this autumn by receiving the first Royal Society Athena Prize to recognise its advancement of diversity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) within the mathematical community. The prize was awarded in a ceremony at the Royal Society’s annual diversity conference on 31 October.
Royal Society press release
Fourth Christopher Zeeman medal goes to Rob Eastaway
Mathematician, author and friend of the site Rob Eastaway has received the 2016 Christopher Zeeman medal, awarded to recognise and acknowledge the contributions of mathematicians involved in promoting mathematics to the public and engaging with the public in mathematics in the UK.
There will be an award lecture taking place on 22 March 2017, and details will be announced in Mathematics Today and the LMS Newsletter.
IMA website article on the award
Rob Eastaway’s citation (PDF)
Here’s a round up of some other recent (and now less so) news stories we didn’t cover in full.
13 New 3-body orbits discovered
Physicists from the University of Belgrade have discovered numerically 13 new solutions to the 3-body problem, in 2 dimensions. Described as “quite a feat in mathematical physics”, the discovery makes progress towards the long-standing problem of determining how three particles, when left to move under the action of their gravity on each other, will behave. The solutions they’ve found are all for particles moving in a 2-dimensional plane, and are represented using points on the surface of a sphere to describe the position of the three particles.
Article from Science
Claimed disproof of the Triangulation Conjecture
The Triangulation Conjecture, a result in topology, may turn out to be false as UCLA’s Ciprian Manolescu claims to have disproved it. The conjecture claims that every compact topological manifold can be triangulated by a locally finite simplicial complex, which means that, roughly, any surface (well, n-dimensional surface) can be divided into triangles in a specific way that topologists find exciting. The conjecture has already been disproved in dimension 4, although hope was held it might be true in higher dimensions. We’re still waiting for confirmation the disproof is correct, but if it is it wipes out many topologists’ hopes of being able to divide certain types of surfaces into triangles in a specific way.
Blog post on the topic, with an interesting comments discussion
(via Dave Richeson on Twitter)
Math Cannot be Patented
A patent suit filed in the Eastern District of Texas has been dismissed on the grounds that mathematics cannot be patented. Uniloc, described in an article on news blog Rackspace as ‘a notorious patent troll’, alleged that a floating point numerical calculation by the Linux operating system violated U.S. Patent 5,892,697. You can’t patent maths!
Mathematics Cannot Be Patented – Case Dismissed at Rackspace
Transactions of the LMS: an open access journal
Fans of Open Access journals will be pleased to hear that the London Mathematical Society is launching one, titled Transactions of the London Mathematical Society. The LMS would like to emphasise that:
By launching this journal, the LMS is not promoting any particular cause and we do not advocate one publishing payment model over another.
Details can be found on pages 8-11 of their most recent newsletter.
LMS Newsletter #424
The London Mathematical Society has announced that this year’s Women In Mathematics Day will take place on April the 18th and 19th at the Isaac Newton Institute in Cambridge. It’s free for students and £5 on the door for everyone else.
The event provides an opportunity to meet and talk with women who are active and successful in mathematics. While this is an occasion particularly for women active in mathematics to get together, men are certainly not excluded from this event.
The deadline for poster and talk submissions is March 15th 2013 (contact Beatrice Pelloni); if you’d like to register as a delegate, get in touch with Katy Henderson by April 1st 2013.
Women in Mathematics Day event page at the LMS
Having visited the British Library on stop 1, I bought a sandwich for lunch and walked down to Russell Square.
The clue I tweeted to my location (below) was nicely ambiguous, looking like a fairly standard London scene. David Ault, winner of the photo clue competition at stop 1, attempted a “CSI ‘Zoom… Enhance…’” on the phone boxes but failed.
A page on the Camden Council website gives a timeline of history of the Russell Square. The origins are in 1545 when the first Earl of Southampton purchased the manor of Bloomsbury from the Crown, and particularly in 1669 when the Russell family acquired the Estate. A period of building in the late 18th and early 19th centuries led to the laying out of a garden in Russell Square in 1806.
Russell square is described in ‘Russell Square and Bedford Square‘ (Old and New London: Volume 4 by Edward Walford) in 1878:
A writer in the St. James’s Magazine thus speaks of this locality: “Russell Square is, under ordinary circumstances, a very nice place to walk in. If those troublesome railway vans and goods wagons would not come lumbering and clattering, by way of Southampton Row, through the square, and up Guilford Street, on their way to King’s Cross, ‘La Place Roussell’ would be as cosy and tranquil as ‘La Place Royale’ in Paris. It has the vastness of Lincoln’s Inn Fields without its dinginess.”
It was in these gardens that I sat for my lunch, by a fountain that was added in a re-landscaping in 2000-1, “loosely based” on the original layout. I visit Russell Square often, though not often the gardens, as it is the location of De Morgan House, headquarters of the London Mathematical Society (LMS). The photo below shows a view from the fountain towards De Morgan House.
According to a brief history given on the LMS website, the formation of the society took place in a fashion of founding new “specialised scientific outlets” in the 19th century, including societies for geology (1807), astronomy (1820), statistics (1834) and chemistry (1841). Originally associated with University College London (incidentally, on the other side of Russell Square), the LMS held its first meeting at University College on Monday January 16th 1865 with Augustus De Morgan, the founding professor of mathematics at University College, as its first President giving the opening address. The idea for the society came from De Morgan’s son, George Campbell De Morgan, and Arthur Cowper Ranyard, both former students at University College, who felt “it would be very nice to have a Society to which all discoveries in Mathematics could be brought, and where things could be discussed, like the Astronomical [Society]”.
Having operated from offices in various locations, the Society located in (and renamed) De Morgan House in 1998. The building now holds a conference venue and a room used by the IMA for meetings, one or other of which is where I tend to be going when I visit Russell Square on ordinary days.
The square is also the home of the Russell Hotel. This is a significant location because the hotel gives its name to the Russell Group of 20 universities which, according to its website, are “committed to maintaining the very best research, an outstanding teaching and learning experience and unrivalled links with business and the public sector”. The Russell Group was founded and originally met in the hotel.
Having finished my lunch, I moved on. I will save my next stop for another post.