All in the air at once

This is a reminder that the Edinburgh Mathematical Society’s annual Popular Lecture will be held in Edinburgh on the afternoon of Friday 17 February 2012. It will be given by Dr Colin Wright, who specialises in the mathematics of juggling. Here’s the abstract:

Juggling has fascinated people for centuries. Seemingly oblivious to gravity, the skilled practitioner will keep several objects in the air at one time, and weave complex patterns that seem to defy analysis.

In this talk the speaker demonstrates a selection of the patterns and skills of juggling while at the same time developing a simple method of describing and annotating a class of juggling patterns. By using elementary mathematics these patterns can be classified, leading to a simple way to describe those patterns that are known already, and a technique for discovering new ones.

This talk is suitable for most ages. Those with some mathematical background will find plenty to keep them occupied, and those less experienced can enjoy the juggling as well as the exploration and exposition of this ancient skill.

I gather from other people who’ve seen Dr Wright perform (including our own Adam McBride) that his talks are a great mixture of information and entertainment!

The lecture is from 1630–1730 in Lecture Theatre 3 of Appleton Tower, University of Edinburgh. I’m aware of at least one group of students who are planning to travel through to Edinburgh for the talk, so if you’d like to go but would prefer to go in company, let me know  ( and I’ll put you in touch with them.


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