Presentation day for Operational Research and Monte Carlo Methods module.

Typically when business leaders are asked what skills that they would like students to have, they always mention, in addition to good mathematical skills, the ability to work in teams and to communicate well.

In the second year module: Operational Research and Monte Carlo Methods,  part of the assessment involves a group project on using a package called SIMUL8. The aim of the project was to study passengers trying to buy tickets at a railway station. There were various options, such as the number of cashiers and tickets machines, and the students were asked to investigate ways to minimize the queuing time to buy a ticket. The students worked together in groups of roughly 4.

Today all the different groups made short 15 minute presentations (including 5 minutes of questions) as part of the assessment for this part of the coursework.

The module lead for this course is Dr. Malgorzata Wojtys from the Center of Mathematical Sciences at Plymouth.

A trip to the campus planetarium

The Immersive Vision Theatre (IVT) on the campus of Plymouth University can be used as a planetarium. Dr Ben King today held the final taught lecture in his module: Mathematical Methods and Applications, for second year students, in the IVT.

The course ends with a derivation of Keplers’s law from Newton’s law of gravitation. Ben showed the students a short film, showing the modern use of the law of gravitation to finding the  mysterious Dark Matter. After the film, there was a quiz on the material. At the end there was a quick tour of the Universe, ending with the cosmic background radiation.


Mathematical modelling of foot ulcers

Mathematics has many applications in health care. Dr Jason Hughes, from the University’s Mathematical Sciences Research Centre and Dr Miriam McMullan, Lecturer in Podiatry are collaborating on developing a new mathematical model to predict the pressure on feet.  The model could help prevent foot ulcers.

They have been awarded a grant from the University’s Institute of Health and Community Pump Priming Fund.


Walking on custard at Butlins

Tim Reis and Ana Paula Palacois  attended the  Astonishing Science Weekend in Butlins (Bognor) 15th-17th April of this year. They presented a popular demonstration about walking on custard.

Some very good reviews are below:

And some pictures …



Review talk about glueballs

Craig McNeile has been invited to present a review on the status of lattice results for the masses of glueballs at the Elba 2016 workshop on Forward Physics in Italy.

Glueballs are made out of gluons. They are in principle allowed by the QCD theory (the most important theory for nuclear physics), but there is no experimental evidence for them. There have been many experiments, which have tried to find them, but so far there has been no confirmed signal for glueballs. Better experiments and more accurate theoretical calculations of the glueball masses may help us find this new class of particle.



Statistics and the Pope

Dr Julian Sander, Dr. Luciana Dalla Valle  and collaborators have written an interesting article about the life expectancy of the Pope.  The current Pope, jokingly announced  that he  expected to live another two or three years.

In their article, the authors use Bayesian statistics with the data from the life spans of previous Popes, to show that the current Pope will probably live much longer than a few years.

The paper was discussed on a radio show on the BBC.




Film about mathematical thinking

On the 21st April, the film Thinking Space directed and produced by Heidi Morstang  , will be shown at Plymouth University.

The 60 minute documentary film features nine UK-based mathematicians offering insights into their mathematical thinking across a broad range of mathematical research fields.

You can get details from the whats on page at the University.

The film will be introduced by Professor Stephen Huggett from the CMS at Plymouth University. The film maker  Heidi Morstang will be also be at the screening.