Dots and Holes at the Edinburgh International Science Festival

Next week ICMS will be the proverbial hive of activity!  As well as hosting the Mathematical Neuroscience 2011 workshop we have two public lectures as part of Edinburgh International Science Festival.

Robert Ghrist of the University of Pennsylvania will be in Edinburgh on Tuesday 12 April to deliver a Distinguished Lecture at the School of Informatics for the Scottish Topology Seminar of the School of Mathematics and to give a more general interest talk about the Mathematics of Holes as part of the Edinburgh International Science Festival.  His talk introduces `topology’ – the mathematical study of holes – and uses a century’s worth of holey innovations to explain why your cell phone drops calls, why your GPS plans erratic travel routes, and why you can’t find good, cheap, healthy fast-food.

Two days later, on Thursday 14 April, our own Scientific Director, Keith Ball, will be here to tell you about Counting Dots and Pick’s Theorem.  An interesting piece of recreational maths , Pick’s Theorem also provides an excellent illustration of how mathematicians think about research problems.

The formula calculates the area of certain polygons but it also captures the fundamental property of prime numbers that underlies the cryptographic systems used to protect financial transactions and the patterns produced by the children’s toy, Spirograph.

Both talks take place at 7pm in the main lecture theatre at 15 South College Street.  Tickets can be booked through the Festival’s box office using the following links:

We look forward to seeing you at one or both of them!

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