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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In May this year Martin Gardner, who has inspired generations of mathematicians with his recreational maths, sadly passed away. He wanted no memorials, but he expressed a desire for the Gatherings for Gardner to continue - these were events held every two years in his honour, exploring all kinds of topics that would interest him, mathematics, science, art, magic, puzzles and more.
London, September, 1853. A cholera outbreak has decimated Soho, killing 10% of the population and wiping out entire families in days. Current medical theories assert that the disease is spread by "bad air" emanating from the stinking open sewers. But one physician, John Snow, has a different theory: that cholera is spread through contaminated water. And he is just about to use mathematics to prove that he is right.
Statistics can mislead, and who'd know this better than mathematicians? It's ironic, then, that mathematics itself has fallen victim to the seductive lure of crude numbers. Mathematicians' work is being measured, ranked and judged on the basis of a single measurement: the
number of times research papers are cited by others. And mathematicians are not happy about it.