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Doctor Who and the Quaternions – the LMS’ 150th birthday party

(A report by Richard Elwes from the launch of the London Mathematical Society’s 150th birthday year. All the talks are available to watch online at the LMS’ birthday portal)

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There’s a standard format for celebrating a mathematical milestone, perhaps the 80th birthday of some deeply eminent number theorist. His collaborators and graduate students, and their graduate students, and their graduate students all gather together in some gorgeous location to regale each other with their latest theorems, while the rest of the world pays no attention. For the London Mathematical Society’s birthday, we had something different. Well, we did have the gorgeous location. The Goldsmiths’ hall in London is a magnificent venue, and the livery hall in particular was evidently designed by someone with a peculiar fondness for Element 79. (See for yourself.) But speaker-wise, a decision had obviously been taken that the party would be an outward-looking affair. The focus was not so much on the LMS, or even on maths per se, but on our subject’s ability to unlock worlds, particularly the worlds of TV, film, and computer games.

‘George Green’s Mathematical Influences’ — audio now available

I recently gave a public talk about George Green’s mathematical education and influences, the audio for which is now available online.

Talk: Alan Turing and the Enigma Machine, by James Grime

James Grime has written an all-new talk, titled “Alan Turing and the Enigma Machine”, which he’ll be delivering 5:30-6:30 on Tuesday the 12th of June at the Centre for Mathematical Sciences, Clarkson Road, Cambridge.

Alan Turing was one of our great 20th century mathematicians, and a pioneer of computer science. However, he may best be remembered as one of the leading code breakers of Bletchley Park during World War II. It was Turing’s brilliant insights and mathematical mind that helped to break Enigma, the apparently unbreakable code used by the German military. We present a history of both Alan Turing and the Enigma, leading up to this fascinating battle of man against machine – including a full demonstration of an original WWII Enigma Machine!

You can find more details of the event on the Millennium Mathematics Project site.

Slides – “Putting maths notation online”

On Monday I gave a talk at Birmingham at a workshop titled, Using social media to engage students in mathematical sciences. I have no experience of doing that, but I was invited to talk a bit about putting maths notation online. It’s basically just a collection of links to the posts I’ve written on the subject previously, but maybe big text in small slides will be more accessible.

Continue reading “Slides – “Putting maths notation online”” on cp’s mathem-o-blog

Talk: Two Dictionaries of Mathematics, 1679 and 1989 by David Nelson

The Penguin Dictionary of Mathematics

On my book shelf is a paperback of over 460 pages of two column, densely typeset definitions of mathematical terms. The Penguin Dictionary of Mathematics (Third Edition) is edited by David Nelson. On Friday 2nd March 2012 David Nelson will give a talk to the IMA East Midlands Branch, “Two Dictionaries of Mathematics, 1679 and 1989”. The abstract for this is:

This talk attempts to describe the history, aims and content of two books. Firstly Joseph Moxon’s Mathematicks made Easie: or, a Mathematical Dictionary Explaining the Terms of Art and Difficult Phrases used in Arithmetick, Geometry, Astronomy, Astrology, and other Mathematical Sciences (1679), which was the first mathematical dictionary to be published in English. Secondly The Penguin Dictionary of Mathematics (1989), which has had subsequent editions in 1998, 2003 and 2008.

This talk will take place at the University of Nottingham at 7.30pm. As usual, no charge is made to attend meetings; non-IMA members are welcome. Full details and directions are available via the IMA East Midlands Branch website.

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