Tag Archives: Mathematics

The art and beauty of general relativity

Margaret Wertheim is Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow in Science Communication, The University of Melbourne. She is an internationally noted writer and exhibition curator whose work focuses on relations between science and the wider cultural landscape. The author of six books, including ‘The Pearly Gates of Cyberspace,’ a groundbreaking exploration of the history of Western concepts of space from Dante to the Internet.

Wertheim is the founder and director of the Institute For Figuring, a Los Angeles-based organization devoted to the aesthetic and poetic dimensions of mathematics and science. (www.theiff.org) Through the IFF, she has designed exhibitions for galleries and museums in a dozen countries, including the Hayward Gallery in London and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C. The IFF’s “Crochet Coral Reef” project – spearheaded by Margaret and twin sister Christine – is the largest participatory science-and-art endeavor in the world, and has been shown at the Andy Warhol Museum (Pittsburgh), the Science Gallery (Dublin), New York University Abu Dhabi, and elsewhere. Through an unlikely conjunction of handicraft and geometry, the Crochet Coral Reef offers a window into mathematics while addressing the issue of reef degradation due to global warming. Wertheim’s TED talk on the topic has been viewed more than a million times, and translated into 20 languages, including Arabic.

Topology and the Visualization of Space

Artist and author, Tony Robbin, works with painting, sculpture and computer visualizations. He is a pioneer in the computer visualization of four-dimensional geometry. With his paintings and innovative computer visualizations of hyperspace, he continues to investigate different models of the fourth dimension and how these are applied in art and physics.

We may just have solved the great mystery of why drops splash

“I am interested in the flow of liquids and gases at very small scales (so-called microfluidics) where experimental analysis is often impossible. Using mathematical modelling and computational simulation can then provides unique insight into such flows.
Much of my research has concerned the dynamics of liquid drops – how they merge, form and interact with solid surfaces (do they splash?).”

James Sprittles is Assistant Professor in Mathematics, University of Warwick.

The Maths of Life and Death

Dr Kit Yates is a Senior Lecturer in mathematical biology at the University of Bath. His job consists of taking real-world phenomena and uncovering the mathematical truths that lie behind them. He extracts the common patterns that underlie these processes and communicates them. He works in applications as diverse as embryonic disease, the patterns on eggshells and the devastating swarming of locust plagues – teasing out the mathematical connections in the process.

On Dark Matter and Dark Energy

Brian Clegg is an English science writer. He is the author of popular science books on topics including light, infinity, quantum entanglement and surviving the impact of climate change, and biographies of Roger Bacon and Eadweard Muybridge. In this exclusive interview he discusses ideas relating to his latest book, ‘Dark Matter & Dark Energy: The Hidden 95% of the Universe’.

Thinking about Patterns

Ian Stewart is an Emeritus Mathematics Professor at the University of Warwick and a Fellow of the Royal Society. He is author or coauthor of over 190 published research papers on pattern formation, chaos, network dynamics, and biomathematics. He has published over 120 books including ‘Does God Play Dice?’, ‘Nature’s Numbers’, ‘Why Beauty is Truth’, ‘Professor Stewart’s Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities’, ’17 Equations that Changed the World’, ‘Infinity’, ‘Calculating the Cosmos’, and the four books of the bestselling ‘Science of Discworld’ series with Terry Pratchett and Jack Cohen. He has five honorary degrees, and his awards include the Royal Society’s Faraday Medal, the IMA Gold Medal, the AAAS Public Understanding of Science Award, the LMS/IMA Zeeman Medal, the Lewis Thomas Prize, and the Euler Book Prize. He is an honorary wizard of Unseen University on Discworld. In this exclusive interview he discusses the mathematics behind patterns in Nature.

How animals got their spots and stripes – according to maths

Dr Thomas Woolley is a Lecturer in Applied Mathematics at Cardiff University. He specializes in mathematical biology, where his doctorate focused on understanding the pattern formation behind fish spots and zebra stripes. Alongside this research he now investigates mathematical models of stem cell movement. The hope is that by understanding how stem cells move we can influence them and, thus, speed up the healing process.