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Maths at the Cambridge Science Festival 2012

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The Cambridge Science Festival is on from March 12 to March 25. We've picked out some maths goodies for you.

  • A mathematical look at the Olympics — March 12, 6pm-7pm, Mill Lane Lecture Rooms, Mill Lane
    To prepare competitors and spectators for London 2012, Professor John Barrow casts a mathematical eye over a wide range of Olympic sporting events. A little elementary maths can help us appreciate what is going on in a range of running, swimming, jumping, throwing, paddling, lifting, swinging and wheelchair racing events. He will also examine some of the strange scoring systems that sports employ.
  • How fast can Usain Bolt run? — March 24, 12.30pm-1.30pm, Centre for Mathematical Sciences, Clarkson Road
    How could Usain Bolt improve his world 100 metres sprint record significantly without improving his speed? How fast should he be able to run? Professor John Barrow answers these and other questions in this talk, which also looks at the mechanics of sprinting and the effects of wind assistance, timing accuracy and altitude on sprint times.
  • Hands on maths fair, age 5+ — March 17, 12noon-4pm, The Pitt Building, Trumpington Street and March 24, 12noon-4pm, Centre for Mathematical Sciences, Clarkson Road
    Games and puzzles for all ages from the University's Millennium Mathematics Project. Pit your wits against the SOMA cube, tangrams, Auntie's Tea Cups or giant dominoes, and sharpen your strategic reasoning skills!
  • Maths of sport pentathlon — March 24, 12noon-4pm, Centre for Mathematical Sciences, Clarkson Road
    Explore some of the maths hidden in the Olympic and Paralympic Games! Challenge yourself to complete the Maths of Sport Pentathlon, a series of hands-on mathematical activities focusing on Olympic and Paralympic sports and infrastructure.
  • On the shoulders of Eastern giants — March 16, 5pm-6pm, Babbage Lecture Theatre, New Museums Site
    We learn at school that Isaac Newton is the father of modern optics, that Copernicus heralded the birth of astronomy, and that it is Snell's law of refraction. But what is the debt these men owe to the physicists and astronomers of the medieval Islamic Empire? Men such as Ibn al-Haytham, Avicenna, Biruni, Ibn Sahl, al-Tusi and Ibn al-Shatir. In this Andrew Chamblin memorial lecture; Jim Al-Khalili will tell the story of these fascinating characters. You need to pre-book, visit the festival website.
  • The wonders of biostatistics — March 17, 10am-4pm, drop in, Old Examination Hall, Free School Lane
    Come and explore with us how biostatistics can be used to improve health. Try our four different activities in which your creativity and thinking abilities will help you to solve the challenges we'll give you!
  • Alan Turing and the Enigma cipher — March 22, 8pm-9pm, Babbage Lecture Theatre, New Museums Site
    In the centenary year of Alan Turing's birth, Simon Singh discusses the German Enigma cipher machine and how it was cracked by Alan Turing and the other codebreakers at Bletchley Park during the Second World War. The lecture will include a demonstration of a genuine working Enigma machine. You need to pre-book, visit the festival website.

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