Wednesday, 25 October 2017, 4:00PM - 7:00PM
Museum of London

Mathematical Constants and Their Beautiful Relationship

Professor Robin Wilson, Professor John D Barrow FRS, Professor Raymond Flood

GRESHAM COLLEGE WITH THE BRITISH SOCIETY FOR THE HISTORY OF MATHEMATICS

This year’s event will focus on the beauty of Mathematical Relationships. The main speaker, Professor Robin Wilson will discuss Pi and e, and the most beautiful theorem in mathematics, preceded by shorter presentations by Professor John Barrow on Zero is a Hero and by Professor Raymond Flood on Just Imagine: The Tale of i. 

There will be a short break at 5.30 pm during which refreshments can be purchased from the Museum Cafeteria. Ends at 7 pm.

No reservations are required for this lecture. It will be run on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.
Doors will open 30 minutes before the start of the lecture.

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Professor Robin Wilson is Emeritus Gresham Professor of Geometry, a professor in the Department of Mathematics at the Open University, and a Stipendiary Lecturer at Pembroke College, Oxford. Professor Wilson also regularly teaches as a guest Professor at Colorado College.

Professor Wilson's academic interests lie in graph theory, particularly in colouring problems, e.g. the four colour problem, and algebraic properties of graphs. He also researches the history of mathematics, particularly British mathematics and mathematics in the 17th century and the period 1860 to 1940 and the history of graph theory and combinatorics.

Outside of the strict mathematical canon, Professor Wilson is particularly interested in the musical output of Gilbert and Sullivan - an interest that has given rise to publications and two Gresham College lectures: 'The Other Side of Sullivan' and 'A Sing-In with Gilbert and Sullivan'.

Prior to his appointment as Gresham Professor of Geometry in 2004, he was the Visiting Professor in the History of Mathematics. Upon his appointment to the Geometry chair, Professor Wilson said: "Mathematics is, and has always been a central part of human culture, and I do not believe that one can fully understand the subject if it is separated from its historical roots. My proposed lectures are designed to support this conviction."

All of Professor Wilson's past lectures can be accessed here.

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Professor John D Barrow FRS has been a Professor of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Cambridge since 1999, carrying out research in mathematical physics, with special interest in cosmology, gravitation, particle physics and associated applied mathematics.

Since its inception in 1999 John Barrow has been the director of the Millennium Mathematics Project which aims to improve the understanding and appreciation of mathematics and its applications amongst young people and the general public. This has born fruit with the Project's receiving the Queen's Anniversary Prize for Educational Achievement in 2005. Further to this, he has received many awards and prizes for his own research in mathematics and astronomy, including the Locker Prize for Astronomy and the 2006 Templeton Prize.
He is the author of over 420 articles and 19 books, translated in 28 languages, exploring the wider historical, philosophical and cultural ramifications of developments in mathematics, physics and astronomy. He has also delivered lectures in a perhaps unique combination of locations including 10 Downing Street, Windsor Castle, the Vatican Palace and the Venice Film festival. He is also the author of the (Italian language) Infinities, which won the Italian Premi Ubu award for the best play in Italian theatre in 2002.

The appointment of Professor Barrow to the Geometry chair at Gresham College repeats a feat only previous achieved in 1652 by the founding member of the Royal Society, Lawrence Rooke. Having been a highly popular Professor of Astronomy between 2003 and 2007, Professor Barrow is only the second professor in Gresham College's four-century history to have been appointed to two separate chairs.

Professor Barrow's Geometry lectures complement the topics covered by his predecessors in the chair of Geometry Professor by focussing on the application of mathematics to familiar things. His aim is to show how mathematics is all around us and tells us many things about the world which we couldn't learn in any other way. The everyday mathematical problems that he will address reveal the importance of fascinating pieces of simple mathematics.

All of Professor Barrow's previous lectures can be accessed here.

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Raymond Flood has spent most of his academic life promoting mathematics and computing to adult audiences, mainly through his position as University Lecturer at Oxford University, in the Continuing Education Department and at Kellogg College. In parallel he has worked extensively on the history of mathematics, producing many books and writing diverse educational material.

He is Emeritus Fellow of Kellogg College, Oxford, having been Vice-President of the College and President of the British Society for the History of Mathematics before retiring in 2010. He is a graduate of Queen’s University, Belfast; Linacre College, Oxford; and University College, Dublin where he obtained his PhD.

He enjoys communicating mathematics and its history to non-specialist audiences, as he has done recently on BBC Radio 4’s In Our Time and on transatlantic voyages with the QM2. Two of the most recent books with which he has been involved are The Great Mathematicians, which celebrates the achievements of the great mathematicians in their historical context, and Mathematics in Victorian Britain,which assembles into a single resource research on the history of mathematicians that would otherwise be out of reach of the general reader.

His first year of lectures as Gresham Professor of Geometry was titled Shaping Modern Mathematics:

The 19th Century saw the development of a mathematics profession with people earning their living from teaching, examining and researching and with the mathematical centre of gravity moving from France to Germany. A lot of the mathematics taught at university today was initiated at that time. Whereas in the 18th Century one would use the term mathematician, by the end of the 19th Century one had specialists in analysis, algebra, geometry, number theory, probability and statistics, and applied mathematics. This series of free public lectures looks at the shaping of each of these mathematical areas and at the people who were involved.

Professor Flood continues his Geometry series in the 2015/16 academic year, entitled 'Great Mathematicians, Great Mathematics'.

Professor Flood's previous lecture series' are as follows:

2014/15 Great Mathematicians, Great Mathematics
2013/14 Applying Modern Mathematics
2012/13 Shaping Modern Mathematics

All of Professor Flood's past Gresham lectures can be accessed here.

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