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Subject:

Latest news from Plus magazine! - http://plus.maths.org

From:

Marianne Freiberger <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Thu, 29 Dec 2005 16:01:05 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (199 lines)

In this newsletter:

- Latest news
- Browse with Plus
- Mathematical moments
- Live maths


**********

Latest news from Plus 

Volunteers discover new largest prime
http://www.plus.maths.org/latestnews/sep-dec05/mersenne/index.html


History helps maths - Learning about the history behind maths helps 
students understand it better 
http://www.plus.maths.org/latestnews/sep-dec05/history/index.html


Rap: rivalry and chivalry - How rappers interact
http://www.plus.maths.org/latestnews/sep-dec05/rappers/index.html



Plus... more news from the world of maths

Symmetry, dance and sexual selection 
http://www.plus.maths.org/latestnews/jan-apr05/plusmore35/index.html#symmetry

Communicating maths 
http://www.plus.maths.org/latestnews/jan-apr05/plusmore35/index.html#descartes



**********


Browse with Plus

A cabinet of mathematical curiosities

Plus reader Denis Bilodeau alerted us to this interesting article on Ivars 
Peterson’s Math Trek. It’s all about visualising maths and there are 
amazing pictures of things that are otherwise hard to imagine. 
http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20051224/mathtrek.asp



SciTalk – science and fiction

SciTalk is a NESTA-funded project set up by former scientist Ann Lackie, 
who is also the novelist Ann Lingard. Its aim is to bring together fiction 
writers and scientists to change the way science is represented in 
fiction. Over 100 UK scientists – from PhD students to FRS - are already 
registered and writers are using the site to find out how scientists think 
and work. If you’d like to register as a writer or scientist go to: 
http://www.scitalk.org.uk/


**********


Mathematical moments

Sir Isaac Newton - Born: 4 January 1643 in Lincolnshire, England
                   Died: 31 March 1727 in London, England


Newton is no doubt one of the most important scientists that ever lived. 
Born the son of a wealthy but uneducated farmer he entered Trinity College, 
Cambridge, in 1661 to study for a law degree. It is said that he became 
interested in maths after being unable to understand a book on astrology 
he had bought on a fair in Cambridge. But his tour de force did not start 
until 1665, when Cambridge University closed after an outbreak of the 
plague and he had to return to Lincolnshire. In the following two years he 
laid the foundation of the works that were to revolutionise mathematics and 
physics. From a pure mathematical viewpoint, his most important 
contribution was the differential and integral calculus. Working 
independently from Leibniz, who can also be credited with its invention, he 
realised that integration was the inverse process of differentiation and 
developed is “method of fluxions”. He finished a written account of this 
work in 1671, yet it did not get published until 1736.

His work on physics, entitled Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, 
but simply known as “Principia”, is hailed as one of the greatest science 
books ever written. The centrepiece of the Principia is the law of 
universal gravitation: “all matter attracts all other matter with a force 
proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to 
the square of the distance between them.” Newton’s understanding of gravity 
and motion revolutionised physics.

Newton also contributed extensively to optics. Having observed a ray of 
light passing through a prism, he was one of the first to claim that white 
light was not a single entity, but could be split into a variety of 
different rays.

During his career Newton got into various arguments with colleagues. It 
seems that he had problems accepting criticism, which caused him to 
withdraw from the academic world. After a nervous breakdown he left 
Cambridge in 1696 and took up a government position in London. Although he 
did not return to active research, his last years were overshadowed by a
dispute with Leibniz about who had invented the calculus first. He was 
knighted by Queen Anne in 1705, the first scientist ever to receive this 
honour.

Find out more about Newton at the MacTutor site:
http://www-groups.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~history/Mathematicians/Newton.html
and the Newton project:
http://www.newtonproject.ic.ac.uk/prism.php?id=1

You can read the transcript of a Gresham College lecture on Newton by Robin 
Wilson at http://www.gresham.ac.uk/event.asp?PageId=4&EventId=66 This site 
also features a video of the lecture.

**********

Live maths


The secret world of codes and code breaking

This is one of the free public lectures organised by the Millennium 
Mathematics Project. Claire Ellis will demonstrate a genuine World War II 
Enigma machine and explain how mathematicians managed to unravel the 
Germans’ Enigma code. Suggested age range: 16+.
The lecture will take place on the 26th of January at 5pm at

Centre For Mathematical Sciences
Wilberforce Road
Cambridge
CB3 0WA

Admission to the lecture is free but by ticket only. For tickets please 
contact Charlotte Goodburn, Millennium Mathematics Project, tel: 01223 
766839 or email [log in to unmask]

More information: http://mmp.maths.org/events/eventlist.php 
This is a repeat of a very popular lecture, be sure to book early!!




There are three public maths-related lectures at Gresham College, London, 
in January:

Time: a guide for travellers

2006 would have seen the 100th birthday of the great mathematician Kurt 
Goedel. He is most famous for his groundbreaking work on the theory of 
mathematical proof, but he also worked on another mindboggling concept: 
time travel. Professor John D Barrow FRS describes time travel in physics 
and fiction and explains how you can travel into the past without altering 
your future.

12th of January at 1pm at The Lecture Theatre, The Museum of London  
http://www.gresham.ac.uk/event.asp?PageId=45&EventId=359



Wallpaper patterns and buckyballs

Ever wondered how many ways there are to tile your bathroom floor? Find out 
with Professor Robin Wilson:

18th of January at 1pm and 6pm at Barnard’s Inn Hall
http://www.gresham.ac.uk/event.asp?PageId=45&EventId=389

Impossibility: the limits of science

Professor John D Barrow explores the limits of science and asks whether 
they are consequences of our nature, consequences of the universe’s nature 
or consequences of the nature of knowledge itself.

26th of January at 1pm at The Lecture Theatre, The Museum of London
http://www.gresham.ac.uk/event.asp?PageId=45&EventId=361

**********

The Plus team would like to wish everyone a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

**********

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If you have any comments on this newsletter, or Plus Magazine, please
contact us at [log in to unmask] - we are always happy to hear from
our readers!

Feel free to forward this email to anyone you think might be
interested.

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