All talks are to be held in the Winstanley Lecture Theatre, Trinity College, and will begin at 8.30pm with port and orange juice from 8.15pm. With the exception of the first talk, which is open to all, talks are for members only; non-members may join at the door.
Monday, 14th October: Dr. Piers Bursill-Hall (DPMMS):
God, as you know, is a Trinity man, but is She a mathmo?
This will be about how mathematics became the supreme way of knowing, but for all the wrong reasons … sufficiently wrong for you to think twice about telling the world you’re a mathmo, let alone a Trinity mathmo. It just might have been better to have come up to read sociology …
Monday, 21th October: Prof. Imre Leader/Dr. Thomas Forster (DPMMS):
Does Mathematics need a Philosophy?
Monday, 28th October: Dr. Hugh Hunt (Engineering Department):
Maths problems in Engineering – Handling Infinity
I am an engineer who uses a lot of maths. One of the difficulties I encounter regularly is dealing with zero and infinity, because these are abstract concepts (nothing in the real world is infinite, and nothing that exists is zero). Mathematical models are comfortable with zero and infinity, for instance Hooke’s law for springs – the spring can extend to infinity, and the maths says that a bouncing ball will bounce an infinite number of times before stopping. As for zero, an infinite wire of finite mass has zero width. But there is more. Can we assume that a rail (on a train track) is infinitely long? This is a useful assumption for sound radiation. What about a power cable between its supports – can that be thought of as infinite? A lot hinges on the answers to the integral over sin and cos from 0 to infinity, which are 1 and 0 respectively. An engineer can prove these results very simply.
Monday, 4th November: Prof. Tom Körner (DPMMS):
Thinking at Random
When we are at school we are told that you cannot get proofs by just throwing things down at random. However sometimes we are so stupid that choosing at random may be the only way to show that something happens.
Monday, 11th November: Prof. Jonathan Mestel (Imperial):
Carry on taking Fluids!
Thus was I instructed by my G.P. when I was a Trinity undergraduate all too many years ago. So I took his advice, and here’s some of the farrago that followed.
Monday, 18th November: Prof. Sheila Bird OBE FRSE (MRC Biostatics Unit):
Do Pharmacological Interventions Reduce Drugs-Related Deaths? What Statistical Methods are There – and How Can we Use them to Find Out?
Powerful well-designed randomized controlled trials together with intelligence gleaned from the clinical follow-up of research cohorts of HIV -infected patients have transformed the life expectancy of HIV -infected persons from less than 10 years in the 1980s to the loss of 10 years from life-expectancy in the 21st century. By contrast, Scotland lost more lives to opiate-related deaths in the five years from 2006-2010 than to HIV /AIDS in 30 years. Why? To what extent do pharmacological or criminal justice interventions reduce opiate-related deaths? How do we find out . . . ? Sheila describes discoveries in the heroin injectors’ story from 1980 to 2012, and how they were made.
Monday, 25th November: Dr. Vicky Neale (DPMMS):
Some Unsung Mathematical Heroines
I’ll pick some interesting female mathematicians of the past, and talk a little about their lives and work in mathematics.
Monday, 2nd December:
Mathmo Call My Bluff
Come and celebrate Christmas with the TMS’s annual Call My Bluff event. Watch a Freshers’ Team take on a team drawn from the combined might of the rest of the university in a competition in which mathematical knowledge takes a second place to the ability to hold a good poker face.