Author Archives: Peter Cameron

About Peter Cameron

I count all the things that need to be counted.

Tools for mathematicians

Over the weekend, in connection with a research project on semigroups (which I will write about shortly), I needed to know the distribution of the size of the image of a random mapping from the set {1,…,n} to itself. I … Continue reading

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A small calculation

Yesterday, a competitor in the London marathon collapsed and died. The event warranted a headline on the BBC news. The article pointed out that someone collapsed and died two years ago. Now, of course, running a marathon puts a huge … Continue reading

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Real v recreational mathematics

A footnote to my report on Persi Diaconis’ lecture on Martin Gardner. Persi challenged us to consider the question: Is there a sharp division between “real” mathematics and “recreational” mathematics, and if so, where does it come? G. H. Hardy clearly thought … Continue reading

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66th British Mathematical Colloquium

By the time you read this, the BMC at Queen Mary will be over, or almost over. Due to circumstances more-or-less outside my control, I was only able to attend the first half-day. I heard the plenary lecture by Cédric … Continue reading

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On either side

We are currently spending quite a lot of time on the East Coast line between Kings Cross and Leuchars. Max kindly gave us a book called On Either Side, a facsimile of a publication by the London and North Eastern … Continue reading

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Generation, t-designs and other mathematical notation

Donald Knuth, a mathematician (his adviser was Marshall Hall, his thesis on algebraic structures related to projective planes) turned computer scientist, became dissatisfied with typesetting while producing his multi-volume The Art of Computer Programming. So he took time off to … Continue reading

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More on open access

The European Mathematical Society Newsletter has often discussed new developments in academic publishing, in particular open access. In the current issue, it returns to the fray with four somewhat contrasting opinions from a two semi-retired academics, two editors of Zentralblatt … Continue reading

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From the archive, 8

Various diaries came to light while I was office-clearing last Christmas, most notably a diary I kept for five months, from December 1986 to May 1987. I had just started work at Queen Mary College (as it was then), and … Continue reading

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A letter to the Guardian

Don Braben is one of my heroes. He has a clear-headed but deeply-held belief, with which I agree, that the bureaucracy of modern science gets in the way of getting good science done, at a time when the world needs … Continue reading

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Combinatorics in Scotland, group theory in Portugal

I never really wanted to retire. For various reasons which no longer matter, I decided to retire from my position at Queen Mary, University of London, on turning 65 two years ago. I hoped that I would find enough to … Continue reading

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