Monthly Archives: November 2011

The private life of numbers (2): from figurate to happy numbers

This is Part 2 of a set of three posts adapted from Mateja Prešern’s talk at The Burn in November 2011. In Part 1 we looked at the set of “lucky” numbers. Of course, there are many other sets of … Continue reading

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Quotation for the week: Sylvester

No, not the cartoon cat. James Joseph Sylvester was one of the great and eccentric figures of nineteenth-century mathematics. Here he is explaining — in the course of a public speech — why mathematicians are generally so bad at public … Continue reading

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Bohr’s barometer

One of our Y4 Maths and Physics students, Ben Snow, has pointed me towards the story of a cocky student, a physics exam and a barometer. It’s probably safe to say that the story is apocryphal — or in other … Continue reading

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Multidisciplinarity: road to ruin? A debate

Introduction: Much of the research that is being funded nowadays is multidisciplinary.  It is sometimes called interdisciplinary, but that is a misnomer.  A multidisciplinary project is one that needs at least two different types of expertise, but it usually falls … Continue reading

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The private life of numbers (1): are numbers just numbers?

This is Part 1 of a set of three posts adapted from Mateja Prešern’s talk at The Burn in November 2011. Do you have a lucky number? Or a favourite number? Surprisingly many of us do, whether we’re mathematicians or … Continue reading

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Lecture: wind power or hot air?

The Faculty of Engineering is hosting a lecture this Wednesday (23 November) by Prof. David Mackay. The title is “2050 Pathways: Energy Arithmetic for the UK and for the World”, and it’s the inaugural James Blyth* Lecture. Further details and … Continue reading

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Sail of the century

For those of you with an interest in mechanics, there’s a fascinating project currently going on in Walvis Bay, Namibia, where the Vestas Sailrocket team from England are trying to break the world speed record for a sailing boat — … Continue reading

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