Tag Archives: International Centre for Mathematical Sciences

Imminent changes to the facilities at ICMS

We are soon to be joined at 15 South College Street by two groups from The University of Edinburgh, School of Informatics and also by the Maxwell Institute Graduate School in Analysis and its Applications (MIGSAA). Bringing new groups into the building means that the way the space is used is changing.

ICMS will occupy the ground and top floors of the building with Informatics sandwiched in between.  The ICMS reception will remain on level 3.  The MIGSAA will have offices on the top floor and a new classroom on the ground floor.

How this affects visitors and clients:
1. ICMS will not be able to host any meetings from October to the end of December 2014.
2. A new seminar room and dining area for ICMS events will be created on the ground floor. This will be up and running in January 2015.
3. The lecture theatre will stay as it is but will be used by the MIGSAA until their new classroom is ready in January 2015. So the theatre will not be available for other uses for the remainder of 2014.

Work has already started converting levels 2 and 3 into office space for Informatics. Work will begin on the ground floor in October following our three September workshops.

When the work is completed we will have a flexible facility for hosting events. We look forward to welcoming you to our new-look facilities in 2015.

Please remember that ICMS is available to the mathematics community for seminars, colloquiums and workshops but priority is always given to our core EPSRC workshops and we do not run events in August. We have a busy calendar of events planned for 2015 see http://www.icms.org.uk/ for details.

Change of Address and New Premises

Newhaven Lecture Theatre, 15 South College StreetOn Wednesday 27 January 2010 ICMS will move into new premises, a converted church building at 15 South College Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9AA. Please make sure to address all correspondence to this address from now onwards. Telephone numbers will be announced shortly. Email addresses remain unchanged.

15 South College Street boasts a 108 seat lecture theatre, breakout and catering spaces and full access for those of restricted mobility. ICMS already has a satellite office in the building, where we also held workshops during 2009. We are very happy to be able to move our administrative base into this characterful space. The Centre will share the accommodation with the e-Science Institute and the National e-Science Centre.

Mathematicians flock to Edinburgh in 2010


In April 2010 the UK mathematics community is coming to Edinburgh for the joint meetings, British Mathematics Colloquium and British Applied Mathematics Colloquium. The collective name is Maths2010 and ICMS is pleased to be involved in the planning and organisation of this major event in the mathematics calendar. The meeting will begin on Tuesday 6 April 2010 and end at midday on Friday 9 April 2010.

Maths201o boasts an impressive line up of invited speakers:

Superplenary Talks
Emmanuel Candes (Stewartson lecture), Stanford University
Darryl Holm (Lighthill lecture), Imperial College
Robert MacKayWarwick University
L Mahadevan Harvard University
Maciej Zworski University of California at Berkeley
Main BMC Speakers
Christopher Hacon, University of Utah
Jeffrey Lagarias, University of Michigan
Gigliola Staffilani, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Main BAMC Speakers
Philip Maini, Oxford University
Eric Vanden-Eijnden, New York University
Public Lecture on Mathematical Finance
Paul Embrechts, ETH Zurich

For more information about the meeting see the Maths2010 website.

Meet the Mathematicians

A recent feature of the British Applied Mathematics Colloquium has been the Meet the Mathematicians day and 2010 is no exception. On 7th April 2010, the Royal Society of Edinburgh will be the venue for this day of activities for older school students.  The students will be able to discover what working mathematicians do and some of the fascinating places a degree in mathematics can take them.  For more information about this and previous Meet the Mathematicians days see the web pages at www.meetmaths.org.uk

Sir Michael Atiyah celebrates his 80th birthday

ICMS had the great pleasure of hosting the workshop Geometry and Physics: Atiyah80 from 20-22 April in celebration of  the 80th birthday of Sir Michael Atiyah, OM, FRS, FRSE which took place on 22 April.

The workshop delegates on 22 April 2009. Sir Michael Atiyah is in the front row, fourth from the right. To his left in the blue sweater is Peter Higgs, who is also the subject of the painting in the background. (photographer: Thomas Koeppe)

The workshop delegates on 22 April 2009. Sir Michael Atiyah is in the front row, fourth from the right. To his left in the blue sweater is Peter Higgs, who is also the subject of the painting in the background. (photographer: Thomas Koeppe)

Around one hundred and sixty of Sir Michael’s collaborators, former students and colleagues gathered for three days of academic presentations and discussions focused on the outcomes of his wide ranging mathematical career.

One highlight of the meeting was the talk on 21 April by Mike Hopkins of Harvard University on the Hill-Hopkins-Ravenel solution of the Kervaire invariant one problem. If you want to follow this up then following resources are among those available:

The Tuesday evening saw a public event at the Royal Society of Edinburgh with Sir Michael, Peter Higgs, Edward Witten and David Saxon discussing the Higgs boson in theory and experiment. The public interest was overwhelming.  The Society filled both its lecture theatre and a further meeting room with video feed with an audience of around 300 people.

Sir Michael’s birthday and surrounding events also attracted interest from the press resulting in articles in:

For more information about the workshop and about Sir Michael Atiyah please visit:
Geometry and Physics: Atiyah80 ICMS workshop page
Atiyah80 by Andrew Ranicki

N is another success!

N is a Number - panel discussion

N is a Number - panel discussion: (l to r) Tim Johnson, Chris Eilbeck, Andrew J Wilson.

Last night saw the final screening in the Maths at the Movies season for 2009.  An almost full-house were treated to a rare cinema showing of N is a Number George Csicsery’s classic documentary portrait of Hungarian mathematican Paul Erdös. This was followed by a discussion of all three films in the series and how mathematicians are percieved by the media in general.

Panellists Andrew J Wilson and Tim Johnson were united  in their opinion of  The Oxford Murders as a slight murder mystery within a caricature of the mathematical community. By contrast 21 was considered a much better piece of work, in terms of storytelling, realistic character portrayal and mathematical content.  The probabilistic approach to “gambling maths” in 21 led to comparison with the current financial crisis and a fine exposition from Tim on how the banks got it wrong – by misidentifying the process of mathematics as an absolute solution.

Many a mathmatician is disappointed in the regular depiciton of eccentricity, and sometimes madness as a prerequiste for mathematical ability.  This issue was addressed by Andrew, saying that the nature of dramatic narrative requires something out of the ordinary to create a story. However, we should not lose sight of the supporting cast of mathematicians who populate these films. From pure fiction to documentary, they constitute the background of normality against which the eccentric character’s tale is told.

The audience participation was lively, well-informed and wide ranging, exploring maths education, mainstream film and television portrayals of science and maths and finally throwing up some novel ideas for scripts.

This event was a successful end to a successful season of mathematical films and talks at the 21st Edinburgh International Science Festival.  ICMS thanks all those who made it so – Filmhouse and Festival staff, speakers, panellists and event chairs, sponsors and, most of all, the audiences.

See http://www.icms.org.uk/activities/mathsmovies for backround information.

Capacity crowds at maths lectures!

Allen Knutson demonstrates a juggling trick during his talk.

Allen Knutson demonstrates a juggling trick during his talk.

Maths is not always the best choice of topic to attract large audiences but 180 people filled the lecture theatre (twice!) for ICMS’ public lectures last night. These events were the centre piece of our contribution to the 21st Edinburgh International Science Festival and we were thrilled to be able to share our passion for maths with so many people.

Two very different speakers demonstrated their applications of maths to the “entertainment industry” much to the delight of the crowd.

Allen Knutson, The Juggling Mathematician (left), described what has become a standard way of notating juggling tricks and how it can be used to explore new possibilities in his art, interspersed with dazzling displays of dexterity (in both hand and footwork!). Among other things, he showed us the infamous “baby juggling” trick, substituting a shoe as no babies volunteered from the audience. The trick involves juggling with standard balls and one awkwardly shaped object. Using the notation it is easy to work out where to insert the object to make the routine work easily and with comic effect.

David Baraff answering audience questions after his talk.

David Baraff answering audience questions after his talk.

David Baraff, Senior Animation Scientist at Pixar (below left) followed Allen with an insight into the mathematical models that underlie such captivating films as Monsters Inc and Ratatouille. David’s speciality is realistically simulating the movement of hair and cloth. He and his team do this so well that we often take for granted the attention to detail in these animations. However every fold in every costume in every frame has to be described by David’s models – no wonder he won an Academy Award for it!

David also gave a short introduction to a screening of Ratatouille earlier that day at Filmhouse Cinema and was interviewed on Forth 2 in the morning.

For the slides from the Juggling Mathematician talks, background links about Pixar animation and more information about all ICMS events at the 2009 Science Festival see the page on our website (links are in the sidebar).

The first of the series sells out!

Filmhouse Cinema's box office board showing that we'v filled the hall

Filmhouse Cinema's box office board showing that we'v filled the hall

The first film in the Maths at the Movies series was screened last night to a full house.  This murder mystery set in the Oxford mathematical community of 1993 kept the audience guessing to the end – and not just about why the scriptwriters saw fit to change Fermat to Bormat!

Following on from this film we are showing 21 on Thursday 9 April 5.45pm.  Another gripping tale, this time based on the true story of how some gifted mathematics students were coached not only in playing blackjack but in all the other skills needed to be big winners in Las Vegas.  Why did they do it – to get rich quick, to get into medical school or just because they could?

There are still tickets available for 21 but  don’t leave it too late in case we repeat yesterday’s sucess! Visit www.filmhousecinema.com to book tickets online.

If you want to know more about Maths in the Movies in general visit the ICMS website.