Conference jointly organised by The British Society for the History of Mathematics
and The Lewis Carroll Society in association with The Birmingham and Midland Institute
The Birmingham and Midland Institute, Margaret Street, Birmingham, B3 3BS
Saturday, 18th May 2013. 10:30 – 17:00.
…. the poignant and hugely entertaining theatre production of “The Universal Machine” at the New Diorama in central London. On April 23 there was a special performance with various various prominent ATY supporters in the audience. It was a great treat to see the nieces of Alan Turing there, familiar to many from their engaging TV interviews, with fascinating memories of their uncle Alan.
The uniformly wonderful company, and Diorama staff, must have been really relieved to hear all the positive comments. The music and cleverly crafted lyrics gave a special lightness to the essentially sad story, and both intensified, and lifted the impact to a new level. Turing’s niece Janet was especially happy to see her grandmother (Turing’s mother Sara) played so brilliantly by Judith Paris. Judith also attracted high praise from The Guardian.
There were lots of reviews in the national press. There was a thoughtful piece by Daisy Bowie-Sell in the Telegraph: http://bit.ly/ZLaiWH with our favourite review by the ever perceptive Libby Purves in The Times: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/arts/stage/theatre/article3751815.ece
If you live within reach of London, don’t miss it! Some nights are already sold out, but it’s on at New Diorama (just 15 minutes walking from Kings Cross) until May 11: http://newdiorama.com/whats-on/the-universal-machine
An interesting discussion at Stackexchange. The question is:
I’m a children’s book writer and illustrator, and I want to to create a book for young readers that exposes the beauty of Mathematics. I recently read Paul Lockhart’s essay “The Mathematician’s Lament,” and found that I, too, lament the uninspiring quality of my elementary math education.
I want to make a book that discredits the notion that math is merely a series of calculations, and inspires a sense of awe and genuine curiosity in young readers.
However, I myself am mathematically unsophisticated.
What was the first bit of mathematics that made you realize that math is beautiful?
For the purposes of this children’s book, accessible answers would be appreciated.
And here is a randomly chosen answer with other contributor’s comment:
A: I found it completely amazing that the angles in a triangle always added up to 180 degrees. No matter how you drew a triangle, you could measure the angles with a protractor and they always add up to about 180 degrees, like magic. Even more amazing when I realized it wasn’t some rule of thumb or approximation, but true in some deeper sense for the ideal, platonic triangle.
C: When I came home and told my father, he drew a triangle on the skin of an orange. All angles were 90°. I was deeply disturbed.
From Manchester University Staff Net:
Schools in the Wirral, Devon and Buckinghamshire have provided the winning teams of codebreakers in this year’s Alan Turing Cryptography Competition.
Launched in 2012 as part of the Alan Turing Centenary, the Cryptography Competition is now an annual event in the School of Mathematics.
The story follows the adventures of Mike and Ellie, fresh from discovering the long-lost ‘Turing Treasure’ in last year’s competition, as they get caught up in a new cryptographic adventure around The University of Manchester, involving a mysterious ancient artefact – the Egyptian Enigma! Students were required to solve six codes to complete the competition.
This year’s winning teams were:
||Calday Grange Grammar School, Wirral
||Torquay Boys’ Grammar School
||Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School, Marlow
Dr Charles Walkden from the School of Mathematics said: “Once again we – together with SkyScanner, the competition’s sponsor – have been delighted with the amount of excitement and enthusiasm that the competition has generated, with almost 2,000 young cryptographers from all over the UK taking part to solve some fiendishly difficult codes.
“We’ve also had people from Australia, South Africa and North America (as well as several European countries) following the competition, showing that there’s a global interest in the life of Alan Turing and his contributions to society. We’re already planning next year’s competition, starting in January 2014, which promises to be even bigger and better!”
Although the 2013 competition has now closed, you can still view the story and clues at:
Look inside. Book description:
In the wrong hands, math can be deadly. Even the simplest numbers can become powerful forces when manipulated by politicians or the media, but in the case of the law, your liberty–and your life–can depend on the right calculation.
In “Math on Trial,” mathematicians Leila Schneps and Coralie Colmez describe ten trials spanning from the nineteenth century to today, in which mathematical arguments were used–and disastrously misused–as evidence. They tell the stories of Sally Clark, who was accused of murdering her children by a doctor with a faulty sense of calculation; of nineteenth-century tycoon Hetty Green, whose dispute over her aunt’s will became a signal case in the forensic use of mathematics; and of the case of Amanda Knox, in which a judge’s misunderstanding of probability led him to discount critical evidence–which might have kept her in jail. Offering a fresh angle on cases from the nineteenth-century Dreyfus affair to the murder trial of Dutch nurse Lucia de Berk, Schneps and Colmez show how the improper application of mathematical concepts can mean the difference between walking free and life in prison.
A colorful narrative of mathematical abuse, “Math on Trial” blends courtroom drama, history, and math to show that legal expertise isn’t always enough to prove a person innocent.
An LKL Maths-Art workshop
by Simon Morgan and John Sharp
Thursday 11th April 2013, 6.00 – 7.30pm
The Möbius strip is a well known mathematical object in topology. Among artists, its curious properties have been often explored, with Max Bill and M. C. Escher among the most famous exponents. After a brief survey of this art and a basic mathematical overview, we will explore new aspects of this fascinating object as a starting point for potential new art. The session will be mainly practical because the properties of the
Möbius strip can only be explored through hands-on experience. Please bring scissors, tape, and large paper sheets (e.g. old newspapers)!
SIMON MORGAN is a mathematician with a career-long interest in the connections between mathematics, art and education. He has taught and researched mathematics in the UK and the USA, including at the University of Minnesota and Los Alamos National Laboratory.
JOHN SHARP is a researcher, writer and teacher on mathematics and art, and is well
known for the sculptural forms known as Sliceforms and Dforms, and for his work on anamorphosis. He is co-organiser of the LKL Maths-Art seminars.
TIME: 6.00 to 7.30pm
PLACE: London Knowledge Lab, 23-29 Emerald St, London, WC1N 3QS
[Travel information & maps at: http://bit.ly/LKL-MathsArt-venue]
An London Knowledge Lab Maths-Art Seminar
by Francisco González Redondo
Thursday 14th February 2013, 6.00 – 7.30pm
According to the standard view, the history of Art begins in the Upper Palaeolithic era, in the Aurignacian period in Europe, roughly 40,000 years ago. By that time, our ancestors had developed the capability of symbolic thinking, an indicator of behavioural modernity that constituted a significant revolution. But together with horses, deer, goats, bison and mammoths painted on walls (Parietal Art), carved on stone or engraved on bone artifacts (Portable Art), we also find abstract paintings and engravings which contain non-representational graphic marks which can only be understood from a very specific point of view: Mathematics. Indeed, the interpretation of such symbolic register as tallies, calendars, astronomical notations, mnemonic devices and, even, cardinal and ordinal numbers, is experiencing increasing acceptance among archaeologists. In this Seminar we will witness how those first artists, members of our same species, with our same mental capabilities, registered both their artistic and mathematical thinking.
FRANCISCO A. GONZÁLEZ REDONDO is qualified in mathematics, philosophy of science (PhD 1992), and history of mathematics, science and technology (PhD 2000). He has published more than 100 articles and books in the historical field. Since 1993 he is Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at Madrid’s Complutense University.
TIME: 6.00 to 7.30pm
PLACE: London Knowledge Lab, 23-29 Emerald St,
London, WC1N 3QS
[Travel information & maps at: http://bit.ly/LKL-MathsArt-venue ]
Following on from the 2012 competition, the School of Mathematics atthe University of Manchester will again be running the Alan Turing Cryptography Competition in January 2013. The competition is aimed at secondary school pupils up to and including Year 11 or equivalent, and pupils should organise themselves into teams of at most 4 people.
The competition starts on Monday January 7th at 4pm. You can register here: http://www.maths.manchester.ac.uk/cryptography_competition
The story comprises of six chapters, following the exploits of two children, Mike and Ellie, who get involved in a cryptographic adventure involving a mysterious ancient artefact – the Egyptian Enigma! Every 2 weeks, starting on Mon 7th Jan, a new chapter of the story will be released on the website. Each of the 6 chapters contains a code to be solved. Teams have to solve these codes as fast as they can and submit their answers on the competition website.
There are some great prizes, sponsored by Skyscanner, for the three top-placed teams at the end of the competition. There will also be a prize for the first team to solve each chapter and a number of spot prizes awarded throughout the competition. See the website http://www.maths.manchester.ac.uk/cryptography_competition for
For more information see the website or contact email@example.com
From the brilliant post THE WONDROUS MATHEMATICS OF WINTER in The New Yorker blog, by Gregory Buck:
There’s the snowman: the human form given in three spheres. It is a sort of absurdist abstraction: the top sphere makes sense, and we can stretch to consider the middle one to have captured the salient properties of those of us with more orbic midsections. But I don’t know what to make of the bottom sphere. There may be some work to do here, which Euclid or Archimedes might have gotten to if it had snowed more often in Greece. The ratios of the spheres matter. A stack of three equally sized white spheres might read as tennis balls in a sleeve or cocktail onions on a toothpick. After considerable investigation, I have discovered that if the proportions of the diameters are 5:4:2.5 (from bottom to top) then the form unambiguously reads as a snowman, with or without carrot, coal, sticks, scarf, or hat. We have then a stack of three white spheres that signify archetypal “winter” quite clearly. I challenge you to signify any other time of year with such simple geometry.
Read more, including including Gregory Buck’s musings on how winter is the Platonist’s season, and why being a mathematician is like being stuck in a blizzard.
Documentary filmmaker Ekaterina Eremenko is famous for unique, innovative documentaries. Her new film Colors of Math (The Russian title, Чувственная математика - Sensual Mathematics - is better) is an intellectually stimulating and beautifully shot film invites us to look at mathematics from a new angle – as the arena of the senses. To most people mathematics appears abstract, mysterious. Complicated. Inaccessible. But math is nothing but a language to express the world. Mathematics can be sensual. In this documentary, the beauty of mathematics, its sounds, colors, taste, and texture are revealed through the eyes of contemporary mathematical geniuses Cédric Villani, Aaditya V. Rangan, Jean-Michel Bismut, Günter Ziegler, Maxim Kontsevich, and Anatoly Fomenko.
Get more information on the film at http://www.facebook.com/ColorsOfMath, and watch the trailer here. Judging by the trailer, the film deserves promotion by mathematicians.
A still from the film: