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Tony Mann to lecture on ‘Computing Mathematics’ at Gresham College

Tony Mann from the University of Greenwich has been appointed Visiting Professor of Computing Mathematics at Gresham College, London. This means he will deliver a

series of free public lectures will look at the mathematics of computing, and the computing of mathematics. The lectures will consider what can go wrong, how computers sometimes get the wrong answer, and the ingenuity mathematicians have used in overcoming these inherent problems.  Since Gresham Professors such as Henry Briggs, Edmund Gunter and, more recently, Louis Milne-Thomson were pioneers in the mechanisation of computation, he is especially pleased to address these subjects at Gresham College.

Redrawing the map of Great Britain from a network of human interactions

This is just about the most right-on, 21st-century paper and associated PR I’ve seen this year. MIT’s SENSEable City Lab has produced this little video to go with a paper by some of their researchers, led by Carlo Ratti:

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So we have a slickly produced YouTube video announcing an open-access paper about big data with a trendy creative commons 8-bit music track behind it. I don’t know whether to applaud them on a job well done or to have an adverse reaction against that much political correctness and PR budget in one place.

Modified packing problem might save lives

Unhelpful framing news, now. A University of Michigan of press release begins:

A hidden facet of a math problem that goes back to timeworn Sanskrit manuscripts has just been exposed by nanotechnology researchers at the University of Michigan and the University of Connecticut.

Looking at mathematical literature as literature

Stanford University News have posted a press release/interview with Reviel Netz about his book Ludic Proof: Greek Mathematics and the Alexandrian Aesthetic.

Flat tori in three-dimensional space and convex integration

French researchers Vincent Borrelli, Saïd Jabrane, Francis Lazarus and Boris Thibert have described an isometric embedding of the flat torus in 3D space, using the convex integration theory developed by Gromov in the 1970s. That means they’ve produced a surface which is topologically a torus – it has a single hole — which preserves distances between points in the 4D flat torus. Interestingly, the tangent plane is defined everywhere — the surface is in a sense smooth — but the normal vector is not defined, so it’s also a fractal. This is impossible in higher dimensions

© Borrelli et al / PNAS

I’ve recorded a short video explaining in a handwavey fashion, with a few props made from things I had lying around, just what has been done.

Feminine role models found to not motivate girls to study maths

Diana Betz and Denise Sekaquaptewa conducted two studies in the USA into attempts to counter stereotypes, reported in a University of Michigan press release.