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Maths for research – and for fun

We’re about to hit a really busy patch here at ICMS. July sees three week-long research workshops without a break, then there’s a reshuffle of offices in August and another tranche of workshops in September.

Professor Angus MacIntyre

Professor Angus MacIntyre

The first of these workshops honours the retirement of Professor Angus MacIntyre, who was our first Scientific Director from 1994-2002. ICMS flourished under his guidance and has continued to build on the foundation laid by Professor MacIntyre. We are therefore delighted to be hosting Recent developments in the applications of model theory to algebraic, analytic and diophantine geometry from 7-11 July.  The workshop aims to paint a broader picture of the current range of applied model theory, giving the whole community a feel for the latest results and the current directions of research in the field.  It is also a welcome opportunity to celebrate Professor MacIntyre’s contribution to mathematical life in general.

You can find links to full details of all of our forthcoming research workshops on the ICMS website. The programme for 2015 will be added as events become finalised.

We did say something about fun in the title, didn’t we? There are a couple of public events coming up in the next few weeks too.  The first sounds particularly entertaining.

Our colleagues at University of Edinburgh School of Mathematics are holding an evening of mathematical card magic in our lecture theatre on 4 July.  Tickets can be reserved  here. If they are all taken, you can join the waiting list for cancellations on the same site.

As part of the workshop on Function theory in several complex variables in relation to modelling uncertainty Professor Malcolm Smith will give a public lecture on Inerters and Formula 1 at 6pm on Tuesday 22 July . Details and ticket reservations will be available from the ICMS website in the next day or two.  Keep an eye on our website or follow us on Facebook or Twitter for updates.

Finally, some of you may be wondering about the outcome of the nomination that was the subject of our previous blog post.  We are very proud to say that Madeleine Shepherd (ICMS Comms Officer) was runner up in the Individual Category of the Heriot-Watt Universiy Principal’s Public Engagement Prize.  This well-deserved recognition for her innovative work for ICMS and beyond.  We extend our congratulations to the winners – you can read about them here.


Muß Es Sein? – Epigraph to a String Quartet

A public lecture by Yang-Hui He (City University London, Nankai University & University of Oxford)

18.00 Tuesday 13 May
Newhaven Lecture Theatre, ICMS, 15 South College Street, Edinburgh

Tickets include the reception after the lecture and are free. They should be reserved via Eventbrite

“Muß es sein?” So wrote Beethoven in an epigraph to his last string quartet. In today’s great quest for the Theory of Everything, physicists are led to ask the same: Must it be so? Do all interactions and all particles of nature fundamentally originate from a cosmic string quartet?

In this talk, we take the audience on a bird’s-eye view of the theory of superstrings, what is it and why it is important. We will emphasize the wealth of ideas which has revolutionized the world of pure mathematics.

Yang-Hui He studied at Princeton University, where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Physics, with a Certificate in Applied Mathematics and a Certificate in Engineering, Summa cum Laude. He then obtained a Distinction at the Mathematical Tripos at Cambridge University before moving to MIT where he obtained his PhD in theoretical and mathematical physics. Yang continued with postdoctoral work in the University of Pennsylvania before joining Merton College, University of Oxford as the FitzJames Fellow in Mathematics and then the UK STFC Advanced Fellow in theoretical physics. Yang joined City University in 2010 as Reader in Mathematics and was concurrently awarded the Yangtze Chair Professorship at Nankai University by the Chinese Ministry of Education.

Job Opportunity – Conference Coordinator and Editorial Officer

Yesterday we said farewell to a valued colleague and now we’re looking to recruit her successor.

This permanent post is predominantly conference & events management and around 30% looking after the editorial side of two research journals.  The application period is now open and runs until 4 October.

Full details and application forms can be found here.

Indo-UK Initiative in Applied Mathematics

The UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Department of Science and Technology (DST), India are jointly funding a programme for organising 12-14 workshops in Applied Mathematics in next two years. Roughly half the workshops will take place in each country. ICMS will be administering the workshop programme.
This initiative follows the UK-India Interaction Meeting in Applied Mathematics that took place in July 2012.  The full report from this meeting can be found here.
Workshop participants should be from the two countries and each proposal should involve at least one Key Organiser from the host country and a Coordinator in the other country.
The workshops themselves will take place between April 2014 and April 2016. Proposals should be submitted at one of the following deadlines:

  • Current submission deadline: 11th October 2013
  • Future submission deadline: 31st July 2014

Full details of the submission procedure are in our Indo-UK workshop section.

Internationally Innovative

Last month saw the publication of International Innovation magazine’s interview with Professor Keith Ball, our Scientific Director.  In it he talks about the international aspects of ICMS and gives his views on the near future of mathematics.  Read the article here.

Double honours for our Scientific Director!

Photo of Keith Ball

Professor Keith M. Ball, FRS. FRSE

ICMS is delighted to report that its Scientific Director, Professor Keith Ball has been elected as a Fellow of two of the UK’s learned societies.

Professor Ball is one of 54 new Fellows elected to the Royal Society (RS) on 2nd of May. The full list is available on the RS website.

In March this year Professor Ball was also elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE).  The induction of new Fellows takes place on 20 May in the Society’s rooms on George Street, Edinburgh.

Professor Ball joined ICMS as it’s Scientific Director in 2010 and is Professor of Mathematics at University of Warwick.  His time is shared between the two institutions.


Viking maths at Museum Lates

Viking maths at Museum Lates

ICMS Staff and the Outreach Team from the School of Mathematics at University of Edinburgh combined forces to present The Valknut Challenge at the National Museum of Scotland’s Viking-themed RBS Museum Lates event last week. The Valknut is a symbol from Norse mythology which happens to be the first recorded instance of a topological structure called the Borromean Rings. This particular braided link was ideal material for a puzzle and friendship bracelet workshop. So Julia, Joshua, Helene and Madeleine donned their Viking gear and set about challenging the visitors to make their own Valknut. Much maths was undertaken painlessly in this disguse!

[Click the photo to visit the National Museum of Scotland’s RBS Museum Lates website]