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.

Second edition of book on Coastal and Marine Processes

Plymouth is known as the Ocean city. The sea permeates almost every aspect of the city, including the University of course. It is important to understand the sea’s influence on the coast (as anyone who has taken the train from Plymouth to Exeter can testify). What better way to understand the sea, than to use mathematics.

On April 11th, the extensively revised second edition of the book Modelling Coastal and Marine Processes, written by Prof. Philip Dyke will be published. The update now includes pointers to open source software, and details developments in new numerical methods, beyond the trusty finite difference methods.


Walking on custard at the Astonishing Science Weekend in Butlins

Tim Reis and Ana Paula Palacois will be walking on custard at the Astonishing Science Weekend in Butlins (Bognor) from 15th-17th April.

You can get some idea of what will happen at the Astonishing Science Weekend, from the video below.

Last year Tim and Ana Paula did a similar demonstration at Butlins Minehead, which had about 4000 visitors. They were helped out by final year students: Lauren Archer and Sophie Bennett.

Lauren Archer walking on custard at Butlins Minehead.

The video below shows a dynamic demonstration of walking on custard.

Online magazine about mathematics

We were recently sent an online magazine about mathematics called Chalkdust.   The magazine seems largely written by students at UCL. Some of the articles we liked were:

  • An article about using analog computers to solve differential equations. When I worked at the National Nuclear Corporation, during the summer vacation, when I was an undergraduate student, one of the staff members kept complaining that the analog computers they use to use to simulate nuclear reactors were much better than the digital computers.
  • An interesting article about fractional calculus 
  • There is an informative interview with Prof Ian Stewart. I didn’t know he had written a book with Terry Pratchett — of disc world fame.

There are also competitions and puzzles.

Mentoring at mathematical modelling camp

Mathematics is required for many industrial applications. A recent report estimates that Mathematical Sciences is worth £208bn to the economy  and 10% of jobs. So it is important for Mathematicians to engage with industry.

Last week, Tim Reis was a mentor at a graduate mathematical modelling camp,  hosted at the Mathematical Institute, Oxford. It was was a week long event for postgrads designed to encouraging their modelling skills, with a particular emphasis on solving problems from industry. The camp was organized by EPSRC-sponsored CTD in Industrial-Focussed Mathematical Modelling   and the IMA

Tim’s group won the prize awarded by  the IMA.

Tim in Oxford

Celebrating Women’s day in 2016

Dr Luciana Dalla Valle of the Plymouth CMS was featured in Plymouth University’s celebration of the 2016 International Women’s day. This year the University featured Women in Science.

Dr Luciana Dalla Valle

Big Data are everywhere. My goal is to inspire and support new generations of data scientists from any nationality and gender. I teach and research how to extract from data underlying messages and useful insights that change the way we see the world.


Possible new particle at CERN

One of the central goals of particle physics is to find
the basic equations of nature, or even better to find the
basic principles from which the equations can be derived.
Physicist hope that the entire Universe can be explained
by the equations, which should fit on a T-shirt (small size rather
than extra-large size too).

The dream of physicists to find the ultimate equations
of physics has been hampered by the lack of firm experimental
evidence for new particles from Beyond the Standard model (BSM).
Last December, experimentalists presented some preliminary evidence
for a new particle. The signal seen by the two collaborations at
CERN could still be a statistical fluke. CERN is starting to collide
protons again, so they should be able to present a more definitive
result later this year. As of 1 March, 263 theoretical papers have been written  about what the what the signal from CERN could be.

There are many possibilities for what this potential new particle
could be, but many of the explanations involve strongly interacting
quantum field theories. The physics of strongly interacting
theories are difficult to study, unless the equations are solved
using large supercomputers. Dr. Antonio Rago is the principal
investigator for the UKQCDBSM project on the Dirac supercomputer
in the UK, whose purpose is to study strongly interacting theories on the computer to find candidate BSM theories.

Yesterday the results for this potential particle, from CMS and ATLAS at CERN, were updated, and the evidence for its existence slightly increased. Antonio is looking forward to the more definitive experimental results promised later this year.


A research visit to China

The modern way of doing science involves international collaboration
at many levels. The use of email and Skype has made is easier to work
with researchers in other countries, than it was say in Einstein’s
time, when letter writing and trips on ocean liners, were the only way
for far flung collaborators to work together.

Even in this electronically connected times, there is still no substitute for
researchers to physically visit each other (sometimes known as meeting
in meatspace). Dr. Ben King has been awarded 2000 pounds for a month
long visit to the CARDC (Chinese Aerodynamics Research and Development Center), by the Royal Society International Exchange Scheme, Ben will work with Dr. H. Hu on the project:
“Interaction of high power laser pulses with the quantum vacuum”.

China Aerodynamics Research and Development Center (CARDC).