Extracting insights about the EU referendum from Facebook using R.

A referendum will be held on 23 June to decide whether
the  United Kingdom should remain a member of the European
Union or whether the UK should leave the EU.  This decision will have important implications for the future of the UK, so there is a lot of interest in the state of public opinion about the matter.

Julian Stander, Luciana Dalla Valle, and John Eales, from CMS, and their
collaborators, have published an article about their analysis
of the Facebook pages of the various sides in the debate.

You can follow their article on Facebook or Twitter.

New posters about our research in 3-5 Kirby place

If you walk into a typical mathematics or physics department you typically see on the walls many posters explaining a research topic, or an advert for a conference in some exotic location.

There are are some very professional looking posters on the walls of 3-5 Kirby place, where some of the people in the Mathematical Sciences Centre have their offices. However, many of the posters are old, and were produced by people, who have long left the University.

Spring is here, so it is time for a poster clean up! So there has been an effort, coordinated by Stephen Huggett, to update the posters in our building. The new posters are currently being printed. So soon a visitor to our building will get an up to date overview of our current research activities.

For our virtual visitors, they can look at the example below.


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.