It's not supernatural powers that help Joana fly, but the equation on the blackboard. This partial differential equation can be used to fill in specific parts of an image based on what's around it. The process is called inpainting. For this image the equation was solved numerically to remove the stool Joana was sitting on. Image inpainting has wide ranging practical applications: from the restoration of satellite images, enhancement of medical images, the renovation of digital photographs and artwork, to special effects in images and videos.
"I am delighted for my work to have been recognised with this very special honour," says Charlie. "In recent years there have been unprecedented changes in mathematics education, particularly in curriculum development and the professional development of teachers, and it has been a privilege to have been in a position to influence them."
MEI's Chairman Gerald Goodall says:
"MEI plays a leading role in expanding opportunities for access to high quality mathematics education and we are very fortunate to benefit from Charlie’s leadership. MEI's trustees and staff are delighted to see Charlie's hard work and dedication recognised in this way."
It must almost be holidays for everyone and so it's nearly time to celebrate! For many people that involves having a nice cold glass of something and we have found the very best way to open a bottle – a beautiful Klein Bottle Opener from Bathsheba! We love Klein bottles, just one of many beautiful mathematical surfaces. You can read all about them while you enjoy your glass of bubbly!
"A mathematician, like a painter or poet, is a maker of patterns. If his patterns are more permanent than theirs, it is because they are made with ideas."
Shane Shambhu as Ramanujan and David Annan as Hardy in the play A disappearing number. Photo: Tristram Kenton.
This beautiful sentence is from G.H. Hardy's 1940 essay A mathematician's apology. The work was Hardy's attempt to justify the pursuit of pure maths to non-mathematicians and to explain its motivation. It focuses on the beauty of maths and, unlike many other attempts to make maths appear attractive, takes pride in the un-applicability of pure maths — partly because something that has no applications can't do any harm. It's an understandable sentiment for a pacifist like Hardy at the time of WWII. And although Hardy was proved very wrong about the "purity" of his own field, number theory, which is today used in cryptography, it's still a fascinating and thought-provoking read.
In the Apology Hardy also mentions the mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan, who played a defining part in Hardy's mathematical life:
"I still say to myself when I am depressed, and find myself forced to listen to pompous and tiresome people, 'Well, I have done one the thing you could never have done, and that is to have collaborated with both Littlewood and Ramanujan on something like equal terms.'"
Hardy's collaboration with the self-taught Indian genius was remarkable. It inspired the 2008 play, A disappearing number, which we explored in thisPlus article. You can also listen to our podcast with actor and mathematician Victoria Gould reading a section from the foreword to Hardy's Apology.