Oxford Mathematics Public Lectures

We run regular Public Lectures that enable anyone with an interest in the subject to see the best mathematicians in action and to share the pleasure (and occasional pain) of this most important of subjects. For booking information please click on the abstract for each lecture.

If you can't be here in person you can always view online. Jump down to Public Lectures and interviews online.

You can view and download posters from previous events.

9 May 2017
17:00
to
18:15
Professor Tim Palmer
Abstract

Meteorologist Ed Lorenz was one of the founding fathers of chaos theory. In 1963, he showed with just three simple equations that the world around us could be both completely deterministic and yet practically unpredictable. More than this, Lorenz discovered that this behaviour arose from a beautiful fractal geometric structure residing in the so-called state space of these equations. In the 1990s, Lorenz’s work was popularised by science writer James Gleick. In his book Gleick used the phrase “The Butterfly Effect” to describe the unpredictability of Lorenz’s equations. The notion that the flap of a butterfly’s wings could change the course of future weather was an idea that Lorenz himself used in his outreach talks.

However, Lorenz used it to describe something much more radical than can be found in his three simple equations. Lorenz didn’t know whether the Butterfly Effect, as he understood it, was true or not. In fact, it lies at the heart of one of the Clay Mathematics Millennium Prize problems, and is still an open problem today. In this talk I will discuss Lorenz the man, his background and his work in the 1950s and 1960s, and will compare and contrast the meaning of the “Butterfly Effect" as most people understand it today, and as Lorenz himself intended it to mean. The implications of the “Real Butterfly Effect" for understanding the predictability of nonlinear multi-scale systems (such as weather and climate) will be discussed. No technical knowledge of the field is assumed. 

Please email external-relations@maths.ox.ac.uk to register

Further reading:
T.N.Palmer, A. Döring and G. Seregin (2014): The Real Butterfly Effect. Nonlinearity, 27, R123-R141.

Public Lectures Online

The Mathematics of Visual Illusions - Ian Stewart

How can we uhderstand our complex economy - Doyne Farmer

Fashion, Faith and Fantasy - Roger Penrose

Modelling genes: the backwards and forwards of mathematical population genetics - Alsion Etheridge

What We Cannot Know - Marcus du Sautoy

The Travelling Santa Problem and Other Seasonal Challenges - Marcus du Sautoy

Symmetry, Spaces and Undecidability - Martin Bridson

M.C. Escher: Artist, Mathematician, Man - Roger Penrose and Jon Chapman

Dancing VorticesÉtienne Ghys

The Gömböc, the Turtle and the Evolution of Shape Professor Gábor Domokos

Birth of an Idea: A Mathematical Adventure - Professor Cédric Villani

The History of Mathematics in 300 Stamps - Professor Robin Wilson

What Maths Really Does - Professor Alain Goriely

Forbidden Crystal Symmetry - Sir Roger Penrose

Big Data's Big Deal - Professor Viktor Mayer-Schonberger

Love and Math - Professor Edward Frenkel

Why there are no three-headed monsters, resolving some problems with brain tumours, divorce prediction and how to save marriages - Professor James D Murray

The Irrational, the chaotic and incomplete: the mathematical limits of knowledge - Professor Marcus du Sautoy

The Secret Mathematicians: the connections between maths and the arts - Professor Marcus du Sautoy

Symmetry: a talk based on his second book, 'Finding Moonshine'  - Professor Marcus du Sautoy

The Music of the Primes: a talk about the Riemann Hypothesis and primes - Professor Marcus du Sautoy

Interviews with Mathematicians

Nigel Hitchin reflects with Martin Bridson

https://www.maths.ox.ac.uk/node/23405

Roger Heath-Brown in conversation with Ben Green

https://www.maths.ox.ac.uk/node/16561

Roger Penrose interviewed by Andrew Hodges – part one

http://podcasts.ox.ac.uk/extra-time-professor-sir-roger-penrose-conversation-andrew-hodges-part-one

Roger Penrose interviewed by Andrew Hodges – part two

http://podcasts.ox.ac.uk/extra-time-professor-sir-roger-penrose-conversation-andrew-hodges-part-two

Michael Atiyah interviewed by Paul Tod

http://podcasts.ox.ac.uk/sir-michael-atiyah-life-mathematics-conversation-paul-tod-occasion-sir-michaels-85th

Jim Murray interviewed by Philip Maini

http://podcasts.ox.ac.uk/james-d-murray-reflections-life-academia-conversation-phillip-maini

Bryce McLeod Interviewed by John Ball

http://podcasts.ox.ac.uk/bryce-mcleod-life-mathematics-conversation-john-ball