Looking for something to think about next time you gaze at your reflection when brushing your teeth? Then Sara Santos has some mathematical inspiration for your next daydream in her MMP public lecture, Through the looking glass... again and again!. If Alice took a magic trip inside a conic arrangement of mirrors, what would she find in this
mathematical wonderland? You can take a look through a 3D kaleidoscope to see what happens to Alice's cubes and icosahedrons!
Sara Santos is Clothworkers' Fellow in mathematics at The Royal Institution of Great Britain (Ri) and is responsible for coordinating the UK-wide network of secondary Ri mathematics masterclasses. Sara will be speaking at 11am on Thursday 11 June 2009, at the Centre for Mathematical Sciences, Cambridge, just down the hall from Plus! Admission to the
lecture is free but by ticket only — for tickets please contact Kerstin Enright, Millennium Mathematics Project, Centre for Mathematical Sciences, Wilberforce Road, Cambridge CB3 0WA (01223 766839) or email: email@example.com. You can also sign up for notifications of future MMP events at the MMP site.
And don't forget you can also see the London Mathematical Society's popular lectures on Monday 22 June in London and Tuesday 15 September in Birmingham. Come and see how physicists helped answer a hundred year old question about prime numbers and how random matrices and Riemann zeroes feature in a major Hollywood movie with Nina Smith. And Mark Miodownik will
explain how fleas can jump over 100 times their own height, flies can walk on water and a hamster can survive falling from aircraft without a parachute.
Admission is free, but by ticket only. For more information and tickets, contact Lee-Anne Parker, London Mathematical Society, De Morgan House, 57-58 Russell Square, London,WC1B 4HS (email: firstname.lastname@example.org), or visit the LMS website.
After a gruelling 73 days each dragging 110kg of equipment in temperatures 40 degrees below zero, polar explorers Pen Hadow, Ann Daniels and Martin Hartley are now safely home in the UK spring sunshine. The aim of their expedition was to produce a comprehensive set of sea ice and snow thickness data in the Arctic, and despite technical problems, their data has already produced some surprising
The response to our International Year of Astronomy project seven things everyone wants to know about the universe has shown that Plus readers are keeping up with the frontiers of theoretical physics. Now you have a chance to debate the Big Questions in person, as the
Astrophysics Group at the Physics Department of Imperial College London present a new series of debates on topical themes in modern astrophysics and cosmology.
In each debate a member of the Astrophysics Group will discuss one of the big questions raised by cutting-edge research with a guest, be it the origin of the Universe or the existence of black holes. The series will be accessible to everybody and is aimed at the general public, who will have the opportunity to ask questions in what will be a lively and interactive discussion.
The first topic up for debate is "the Origin of the Universe" at 6-8pm on Thursday 18 June at Imperial College, London. Prof. Michael Rowan-Robinson and Rev. Dr John Polkinghorne, will tackle the fascinating question of what the Big Bang means from both a scientific and a theological perspective. The next event will take place in mid-July and will
discuss the existence of the mysterious dark energy.
Attendance is free but registration is essential, you can find out more at the Big questions site.
And for those of you holding out for the answer to our latest question 'Are the constants of nature really constant?', we have just recorded John Barrow's answer to this question, which ranged from how to standardize the widths or wires to alternate universes. We'll publish his answer in a podcast and article next week, as well as launch the next poll for you to choose the third thing everyone
wants to know about the universe. Stay tuned....
Should international travel be banned in the face of swine flu? Should life-saving drugs be withheld because they're too expensive? Should the government ban alcohol? And are bacon sandwiches really that dangerous?
Plus may seem like an unlikely place to look for answers to these questions, but this is about to change. With support from the Wellcome Trust we're launching a new project, called Do you know what's good for you?, which will look at the role of mathematics and statistics in the biomedical sciences.
Just over two weeks after the outbreak of swine flu, sorry, H1N1, most of us have come round to the idea that a pandemic doesn't always necessitate panic. The infection is spreading steadily, but in most people it's relatively mild and only a very small number of people have died outside Mexico. So were initial media reports just hype?
A very good article which shows just how important fairly simple maths is in thinking rigorously about the world around us.
For example, I had heard of the idea of herd immunity before and had never really understood it - from a biological perspective I just thought tha if there were unvaccinated individuals around they would catch the disease so you'd have to immunise everybody. But once you introduce the idea of an reproduction rate, it's absolutely clear why that's not the case - because any geometric series with
r<0 tends to 0.
Of course as the article goes on to make clear, it's more complicated than that as a geometric series is probably not the appropriate model, but that's what makes it so fascinating. Thanks Plus!
If you're thirsty for knowledge, then go along to this free Gresham College lecture taking place in London on Wednesday the 13th of May. It marks the publication of John D Barrow's latest book, 100 Essential Things You Didn't Know You Didn't Know, which answers one hundred essential questions of existence. From winning the lottery, placing bets at the races and escaping from bears, to
sports, Shakespeare, Google, game theory, drunks, divorce settlements and dodgy accounting; from chaos to infinity and everything in between. Barrow writes a regular column for Plus, so you might be lucky enough to see some maths you've seen in Plus live on stage.
The lecture starts at 6pm and you can find directions on the Gresham College website.