Plus Blog

November 4, 2011

Have you ever wondered what string theory sounds and looks like? If yes, you can find out this weekend at Queen Mary, University of London. Musicians Anna Piva and Edward George, in collaboration with physicist and Plus author David Berman and mathematical physicist James Sparks are developing Explorations in Eleven Dimensions, a multimedia art project based on a series of sonic, visual, and textual readings of string theory's equations, themes and aesthetic concerns.

The performances will be based on the sonification of David Berman's string theory equations and a series explorations of frequency and micro-tonality in the work of Bach and Debussy with James Sparks.

Flow Motion will be joined for the performance by a quartet of musicians from London's classical and improvised music scene: Alison Blunt (violin), Chris Cullen (flute, saxophone), Grahame Painting (cello, guitar), Mark Sanders (drums).

The first component of the project, a series of sound art performances, will take place at Queen Mary's Octagon room on the 5th and 6th of November 2011, at 7.30pm. See here for more information and here for directions.

October 11, 2011
Alan Turing

Alan Turing

Next year sees the centenary of Alan Turing's birth. To celebrate, the Mathscareers website is running a competition for 17 to 19 year-olds. Your task is to write an article on Turing's work and the prize is £100 Amazon voucher and having your article published on the website. See the Mathscareers website for more details.

To get started, have a look at these articles on Plus:

October 11, 2011
Laureates

Thomas Sargent (top) and Christopher Sims.

With European governments struggling to avert imminent disaster in the Euro zone, the award of this year's Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences could not be more relevant. The prize has gone to Thomas Sargent and Christopher Sims whose work explores how and if policy decisions can affect the economy and how unexpected shocks spread through it.

Maths and stats are central to economics and finance — so to celebrate their role we've had a look through our archive for our favourite articles on the subject. Who knows? Maybe they'll help save the Euro!

October 11, 2011
beer

We have a new favourite joke, thanks to Plus reader, Ellen Hetland Fenwick!

A countably infinite number of men went into a pub. The first one ordered a pint. The second ordered a half-pint. The third ordered a quarter of a pint ... The barkeeper, with a face full of disgust, finally poured two pints and put them on the bar and said, "It's good when people know their limit."

Ha(ha)n! And you can read more on beer and infinite series on Plus!

October 7, 2011
Ada Lovelace, aged about 19

Ada Lovelace, aged about 19

Today is Ada Lovelace Day celebrating the work of women in mathematics, science, technology and engineering. Since Plus is run entirely by women, we're very happy to join in! We've got plenty of articles and podcast by or about women mathematicians to choose from on Plus and here are some of our favourites.

Some mathematical heroines from the past:

Articles by mathematical heroines from the present:

Some conversations with female mathematicians about their careers and roles in mathematics (these are podcasts):

Also, our Careers library has plenty of interviews with women who've built their careers on maths.

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September 12, 2011

Compass & Rule: Architecture as Mathematical Practice in England, 1500-1750, is a lovely online version of the physical exhibition held at the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford, in 2009. Compass and Rule focuses on design and drawing, exploring the role of geometry in the dramatic transformation of English architecture between the 16th and 18th centuries. During this time new concepts of design based on geometry changed how architects worked and what they built, as well as the intellectual status and social standing of their discipline. Identified as a branch of practical mathematics, architecture became the most artistic of the sciences and the most scientific of the arts.

As well as a great online exhibition covering the geometry of stonemasons, the design of St Paul's and the architectural apprenticeship of King George III, it also has some fascinating videos of how to construct technical drawings or design classical architectural features using just a straight edge, compass and right angle.

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