News from the world of Maths

November 3, 2010

Ever wondered how your cat can be dead and alive at the same time, or whether there could be a version of you with tentacles editing a magazine in a parallel universe? (Rest assured, Plus is currently tentacle-less and in this universe.)

Science Brainwaves, a student-led organisation from the University of Sheffield, with the aim of bringing all things science to the masses, present this year’s Christmas Lecture. Dr Paul Stevenson will discuss weird physics — the brain contorting conundrums that give us lasers, phone apps, MRI scanners and light switches.

November 3, 2010

You're unlikely to ever run into a black hole, but here's what it "looks" and "sounds" like when two black holes run into each other. The movie shows a simulation of the gravitational waves generated when two black holes collide and form a third, and the sound file shows what these waves would sound like if you cold hear them.

October 29, 2010

SCIENAR, a European project to stimulate and develop links between science and art, has just produced a new DVD exploring three emblematic scenarios where science and art intersect. Looking at three historical ages, antiquity, the renaissance and modern times, the DVD explores a range of topics, from ancient geometry to perspective in renaissance art, as well as relativity and chaos theory.

October 18, 2010

Benoît Mandelbrot, the father of fractal geometry, died last Thursday at the age of 85. Born in Poland in 1924, Mandelbrot had dual French and American citizenship and spent most of his working life in the US. He died of cancer in a hospice in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

October 15, 2010

If you're an artist who's inspired by maths and science, here's a chance to exhibit your work. Through its annual open exhibition opportunities, Orleans House Gallery in London helps artists both locally and nationally to showcase their work in group exhibitions. Each year, over 500 individual artists exhibit work in a range of open exhibitions across three galleries in London: Orleans and Stables Galleries, Twickenham and the Riverside Gallery in Richmond.

October 15, 2010

Well, it goes to no-one because there isn't a Nobel Prize for maths. Some have speculated that Alfred Nobel neglected maths because his wife ran off with a mathematician, but the rumour seems to be unfounded. But whatever the reason for its non-appearance in the Nobel list, it's maths that makes the science-based Nobel subjects possible and it usually plays a fundamental role in the some of the laureates' work. Here we'll have a look at two of the prizes awarded this year, in physics and economics.

October 5, 2010

The Maths Careers website has launched a poster competition for students aged 11 to 19. You're invited to pick a historical mathematician and design an A4 poster about them. Do a little digging and find out the things they don't teach in your maths lessons – who were these mathematicians? What were their lives like? How did they come up with their great mathematical ideas? The best three posters from readers aged 11-14, 14-16 and 16-19 will win an iPod shuffle and a £25 iTunes voucher, and your posters will also appear on the Maths Careers website for everyone to see.

October 4, 2010

The physicist Brian Cox, presenter of the BBC2 series Wonders of The Solar System has teamed up with the Big Bang science fair to launch the Big Bang Lesson. Brian will visit one school somewhere in the UK and deliver a lesson based around the solar system.