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Tuesday, 4 May 2021, 6:00PM - 7:00PM
Museum of London

The Maths of Life and Death

Dr Kit Yates

Every time you look at the world you are building a model. With every new experience these representations of your environment are refined and reconfigured. Each piece of sensory information you perceive makes the model of reality in your head more detailed and complex. The building of mathematical models, designed to capture our complex reality, is the best way we have of making sense of the rules that govern the world around us. The key to exemplifying these rules is to demonstrate their effects on people's lives: from the extraordinary to the everyday.

This talk will relate true stories of life-changing events in which the use (or abuse) of mathematics has played a critical role. We will meet athletes banned by faulty tests and patients crippled by faulty genes; innocent victims of miscarriages of justice and the unwitting victims of mathematical bugs. We follow stories of investors who have lost fortunes and parents who have lost children, all because of mathematical misunderstanding. We wrestle with ethical issues from abortion to anti-vaccination and examine pertinent societal issues like medical screening, political referenda, disease prevention and criminal justice, on all of which mathematics has something profound or significant to say.


Reservations are required for this lecture. In person reservations will be available closer to the event. Sign up to our email newsletter for updates: https://www.gresham.ac.uk/newsletter/

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Kit is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Bath and co-director of the Centre for Mathematical Biology at the University of Bath.

His research demonstrates that mathematics can be used to describe all sorts of real-world phenomena: from embryo formation to locust swarming and from sleeping sickness to egg-shell patterning. He is particularly interested in the role that randomness plays in Biology. His research into Mathematical Biology has been covered by the BBC, the Guardian, the Telegraph, the Daily Mail, RTE, Scientific American and Reuters amongst others.

Along side his academic position, Kit is also an author and science communicator. His first book, “The Maths of Life and Death“, was published on September 5th 2019, by Quercus.

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