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Podcast: Episode 57 – History of Maths and x, Shape of the cosmos: Developments from Newton to Einstein

These are the show notes for episode 57 of the Travels in a Mathematical World Podcast. 57 is the so-called Grothendieck prime. The story goes that brilliant mathematician Alexandre Grothendieck was asked to name a prime number and gave 57, which is, of course, not prime. This story is used to illustrate how some mathematicians are so used to thinking in the abstract that they struggle with concrete examples. Long time listeners may recall I had a similar problem with the number 9, although I suspect for somewhat more mundane reasons! You can read the story in the AMS Notices and read a biography of Grothendieck at MacTutor.

This episode links with another lecture in the series entitled “History of Maths and x”, for various x. I am no expert on these topics but they interest me and I would like to explain a little of them to you. This time the x is gravity and the lecture covers “Shape of the Cosmos“. Lectures take place at the University of Nottingham. The lecture will be videoed for the web and available for download at History of Maths and x. Lectures are to be accompanied by an article in iSquared Magazine and a companion episode of this podcast containing additional information not in the talk or article.

You can view the talk and find out more through www.historyofmathsandx.co.uk.

You can find out more about the IMA by visiting http://www.ima.org.uk/student/. You can find out more about what I do by reading this blog, by following me on Twitter or visiting peterrowlett.net. Join the Travels in a Mathematical World Podcast Facebook Fan Page.

Podcast: Episode 56 – Edmund Harriss, Development and teaching of mathematical ideas

These are the show notes for episode 56 of the Travels in a Mathematical World Podcast. 56 is the 6th tetrahedral number, meaning it is the sum of the first six triangular numbers. More about tetrahedral numbers from thesaurus.maths.org.

This week on the podcast I spoke to Edmund Harriss of the University of Leicester, and we discussed a range of topics around enthusing people about mathematics and how mathematical ideas are developed and taught.

Ptolemy Mathcards were designed by Edmund and Chaim Goodman-Strauss. You can find out about the creation and development of mathematical ideas by investigating the history of mathematics. A good place to start is The British Society for the History of Mathematics. If you are interested in the use of history in mathematics teaching, try the BSHM Education site.

You can find out more about Edmund’s work in tiling patterns and maths outreach by listening to episode 55 of the podcast. I recommend Edmund’s blog Maxwell’s Demon, and following Edmund on Twitter as @Gelada.

You can find out more about the IMA by visiting http://www.ima.org.uk/student/. You can find out more about what I do by reading this blog, by following me on Twitter or visiting peterrowlett.net. Join the Travels in a Mathematical World Podcast Facebook Fan Page.

Podcast: Episode 55 – Edmund Harriss, Tilings, motivations and Street Maths

These are the show notes for episode 55 of the Travels in a Mathematical World Podcast. 55 is the largest triangular number in the Fibonacci sequence. More about 55 from Number Gossip.

This week on the podcast I spoke to Edmund Harriss of the University of Leicester, who speaks about his research area of tiling patterns and how this leads him into maths outreach.

Edmund contributes to a Tilings Encyclopedia. You can read about medieval Islamic tilings in New Scientist. There is a gallery of Escher tilings at Mathematical Imagery. You can find out more about Escher on the M.C. Escher website, or by reading the Escher biography at the MacTutor History of Mathematics archive. You can read about Penrose tilings in the Tilings Encyclopedia and read a biography of Penrose at MacTutor.

Edmund’s Royal Society exhibition has a website: “How do shapes fill space?” You can find out more about Street Maths by viewing Edmund’s slides “Street Maths“. You can read Marcus du Sautoy on motivating interest in mathematics in the Guardian article “The secret life of numbers“. Edmund mentions a meeting he ran at Leicester, “Talking to teachers“.

I recommend Edmund’s blog Maxwell’s Demon, and following Edmund on Twitter as @Gelada.

You can find out more about the IMA by visiting http://www.ima.org.uk/student/. You can find out more about what I do by reading this blog, by following me on Twitter or visiting peterrowlett.net. Join the Travels in a Mathematical World Podcast Facebook Fan Page.

Podcast: Episode 54 – Maths news with Sarah Shepherd

These are the show notes for episode 54 of the Travels in a Mathematical World Podcast. 54 is the number of colored squares on a Rubik’s cube. More about 54 from Number Gossip.

This week on the podcast I met Sarah Shepherd, PhD student at the University of Nottingham and Editor of iSquared Magazine, and we discussed some maths news. Links to all the articles we mentioned are below.

Fabrice Bellard claims to have calculated Pi to 2.7 trillion digits on a desktop computer using a highly efficient algorithm. Read “Pi calculated to ‘record number’ of digits” from the BBC.

Mathematical Ethnographies, a film project at the University of Bristol, aims to explore how mathematicians think and work, their passion for the subject, what their motivations are, and how they view themselves. Read the press release “New films explore the pain and the pleasure of maths“.

The list of books recommended to me via Twitter for a 13-year old keen mathematician is on my blog as Reading list for a keen 13 year old mathematician.

Marcus du Sautoy chooses 5 books which “reveal the beauty of mathematics” in an interview with The Browser. Read “The Beauty of Maths“.

Marcus du Sautoy has been awarded OBE for services to science. Read “New Year Honours 2010” from the University of Oxford.

The Mandelbulb is a 3d interpretation of an object similar to the Mandelbrot set. See images from the Mandelbulb on the page entitled “Mandelbulb: The Unravelling of the Real 3D Mandelbrot Fractal” and read an article on how it was done in the New Scientist as “The Mandelbulb: first ‘true’ 3D image of famous fractal“.

An exhibition, 1001 Inventions, at the Science Museum, London as part of an exhibition aimed at bringing Islamic scientists to greater public recognition. Read “Elephant clock trumpets golden age of ancient Islamic science” in the Times. Noel-Ann Bradshaw covered the life and works of the Islamic scholar al-Kharazmi in podcast Episode 17 – History with Noel-Ann Bradshaw – al-Kharazmi.

The number of people joining teacher training courses in England this year are up. Read “Trainee teacher targets exceeded” from the BBC.

Girls are just as good at maths as boys but they are too shy to realise their talents, new research has found. Read “Girls ‘too shy’ to shine in maths” in the Telegraph.

Schools are using drama, role-play, music and dance to get children interested in subjects such as maths and science, according to Ofsted. Read “Schools using dance and fashion to get bored pupils interested in maths” in the Telegraph.

The Guardian has a special report on how to build up confidence in teaching and learning maths, “Do the maths“. This includes articles on Maths using Google Maps, video games, Maths Careers website relaunch, Chartered Mathematics Teacher, Self-evaluation tools for maths teachers, series of short interviews on how maths made careers, including Simon Singh, Carol Vorderman, Johnny Ball and Kate Bellingham.

The MathsCareers website is available via www.mathscareers.org.uk.

Professor Robin Sharp has spent a year perfecting the design for an autonomous unicycle. Read “Design for an autonomous unicycle“.

The way fungus-like slime moulds grow could help engineers design wireless communication networks. Read “Engineers ‘can learn from slime’” from the BBC. Someone else who is keen on modern engineering methods learning from nature is Adrian Bowyer, who talks about this in episode 9 and episode 10.

Woolworths Stores: read Matt Parker’s satire “Locations of Ancient Woolworths Stores follow Precise Geometrical Pattern“.

You can find out about Mathematics Today on the IMA website.

For more about iSquared Magazine visit the iSquared Magazine Website.

You can find out more about the IMA by visiting http://www.ima.org.uk/student/. You can find out more about what I do by reading this blog, by following me on Twitter or visiting peterrowlett.net. Join the Travels in a Mathematical World Podcast Facebook Fan Page.

Podcast: Episode 53 – Robert Harter – Water waves

These are the show notes for episode 53 of the Travels in a Mathematical World Podcast. 53 is prime, the smallest multidigit balanced prime: primes which are the averages of their prime neighbours. More about 53 from Number Gossip.

Robert Harter talks about his PhD research at the University of Manchester into linear water wave problems. You can read a paper by Robert and others on this topic as “The effect of surface tension on trapped modes in water-wave problems“. Prof. I. David Abrahams talks about problems in this area in an interview on his website. There is a lot of information on different water wave problems at Loughborough.

You can find out more about the IMA by visiting http://www.ima.org.uk/student/. You can find out more about what I do by reading this blog, by following me on Twitter or visiting peterrowlett.net. Join the Travels in a Mathematical World Podcast Facebook Fan Page.

Podcast: Episode 52 – Jackie Grinsell, Mathematics teaching

These are the show notes for episode 52 of the Travels in a Mathematical World Podcast. In a non-leap year, the month and day are simultaneously prime a total of 52 times. More about 52 from Number Gossip.

This week on the podcast we hear from Jackie Grinsell, Head of Mathematics, Purbrook Park School, Waterlooville. This recording was made during a careers event at the University of Portsmouth.

A good starting point if you are interested in teaching is the TDA website. You can find out about mathematics teaching from the TDA, and more information from Teachernet. Good resources for maths teachers are the NCETM and nrich.

You can find out more about the IMA by visiting http://www.ima.org.uk/student/. You can find out more about what I do by reading this blog, by following me on Twitter or visiting peterrowlett.net. Join the Travels in a Mathematical World Podcast Facebook Fan Page.

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