Category Archives: mathematics and …

how our discipline relates to other things

Necessity

While reading Thomas Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur, in Chapter 25 of Book 8, I came upon this striking sentence: Ye shall want no thing that you behoveth My first parsing of it was wrong. When it was written, the nominative … Continue reading

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Circles disturbed

My review of the book Circles Disturbed: The Interplay of Mathematics and Narrative has just appeared in the on-line version of the London Mathematical Society’s Newsletter, which can be found here. I do intend to return to this and say … Continue reading

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Raymond Brownell’s exhibition

Raymond Brownell is one of a select group of artists whose work is informed by mathematics. Raymond was born in Tasmania, and worked as an architect, having been involved with the Sydney Opera House. He now lives in Sussex and … Continue reading

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Overheard

On the Piccadilly line this morning, one side of a phone conversation: You know square and cube? The band’s called Cubed because it’s the power of me, the power of you, the power of us, that’s the third power, so … Continue reading

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Lex poems

Samuel Taylor Coleridge said, “poetry = the best words in the best order”. Now lexicographers believe they know the best order for words, to put them in their dictionaries. So one could consider a lex poem to be one where … Continue reading

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When I walk into the room

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that too few women reach the level of permanent academic appointments in mathematics. What is not agreed is what should be done about it. Some think that we should have some form of affirmative … Continue reading

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Impact factor engineering

Goodhart’s law asserts: When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure. This simple and obvious truth, it seems to me, is at the basis of much of the present crisis in evaluation of teaching (both … Continue reading

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Tessellating in the rain

On the left, the Giant’s Causeway in Ireland: a periodic tessellation of the plane by hexagons (with some imperfections), made of basalt. On the right, the Mathematics building at Queen Mary, University of London: a non-periodic Penrose tiling, made of … Continue reading

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Poetry and science

In The Age of Wonder, subtitled “How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science”, Richard Holmes quotes John Bonnycastle, from the preface of the 1811 edition of his book Introduction to Astronomy in Letters to his Pupil, … Continue reading

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Bob Dylan is 70

Happy birthday, Bob! I mention this here not just because I like his work, but because he is an artist who is not scared of mathematics. He described Robbie Robertson as “the only mathematical guitar genius I’ve ever run into … Continue reading

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