Plus Blog

May 18, 2008
Monday, May 19, 2008

Clifton Callender from Florida State University, Ian Quinn from Yale University and Dmitri Tymoczko from Princeton University — all professors of music — have developed a new method of analysing music called "geometrical music theory" that is based on the mathematics entangled in the structure of music.

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posted by westius @ 10:36 AM

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May 14, 2008
Thursday, May 15, 2008

Walter Warwick Sawyer was a mathematician and author who made a major contribution to mathematical education. He recently passed away in Canada, aged 96. He was very much concerned with the practical applications of mathematics and considered that students taught mathematics without an appreciation of its application would have no more understanding of what they were learning than a machine. His love of mathematics is seen in the title of his first book, the highly acclaimed Mathematician's Delight, whose aim was to "dispel the fear of mathematics".

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posted by westius @ 2:26 PM

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May 14, 2008
Thursday, May 15, 2008

From the complexity of the snowflake, to the London tube map and the spiralling Andromeda galaxy, imagery has always been a vitally important ingredient of science. Plus talks to John Barrow, professor of mathematics at Cambridge University and author of the new book Cosmic Imagery, about the images that have changed science, and how we have viewed science, over the centuries.

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This podcast is also available in an enhanced version, which shows all the images mentioned in this podcast as you listen. You can view the enhanced podcast in your browser, or download the MP4 file to to your computer and for playing on your MP4 player (for example iPod).

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posted by Plus @ 3:53 PM

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May 11, 2008
Monday, May 12, 2008

Gresham College: New Gresham Professor of Geometry

Professor John Barrow FRS, the Director of the Millennium Mathematics Project and Professor of Mathematical Sciences at Cambridge University, has been appointed the new Gresham Professor of Geometry at Gresham College in London for 2008-2011. Founded in 1596, this is the oldest mathematics professorship in the UK and previous holders include Isaac Barrow, Robert Hooke, and Roger Penrose. John Barrow was Gresham Professor of Astronomy from 2003-7 and is the only person other than Laurence Rooke, in 1657, to hold Gresham chairs in two different subjects.

Read John's Outer space column in Plus.

posted by westius @ 7:59 AM

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May 5, 2008
Tuesday, May 06, 2008

It is common belief among teachers and parents that when teaching mathematical concepts, the best way to illustrate them is with 'real-world' examples. However, researchers at Ohio State University's Center for Cognitive Science have found the exact opposite — that college students taught a new mathematical concept with real-world, concrete examples were less able to apply their knowledge to new situations than students taught with abstract symbols.

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posted by westius @ 4:40 PM

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April 30, 2008
Thursday, May 01, 2008

There are more grains of sand on Earth than there are stars in sky, or so the saying goes.

Mathematician Anne Fey, from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, is using sand-pile models as a novel approach to calculate probabilities in fields as diverse as studies of the Earth's crust, stock market fluctuations and the formation of traffic jams.

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posted by Plus @ 9:53 AM

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