Public News

Watch Marcus Du Sautoy lecture in Oxford

Marcus Du Sautoy, Charles Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford, will be delivering a series of filmed public lectures on 05 and 06 September in the new Mathematical Institute building in Oxford covering a range of mathematical themes. Targeted at a general audience and students keen to pursue mathematics at university, the talks are free but require advance booking. Please contact Dyrol Lumbard (lumbard [-at-] maths [dot] ox [dot] ac [dot] uk).

Thursday 05 September, 13.00-14.30. The Music of the Primes: a talk about the Riemann Hypothesis and primes

Thursday 05 September 15.00-16.30. Symmetry: a talk based on his second book, 'Finding Moonshine'

Friday 06 September 13.00-14.30. The Secret Mathematicians: the connections between maths and the arts

Friday 06 September 15.00-16.30. The Irrational, the chaotic and incomplete: the mathematical limits of knowledge

Please note these lectures will be video-taped to air on a Japanese public television station (NHK) this autumn. By attending these lectures, you are giving NHK your consent to possibly appear on this television programme without any compensation or credit.

Convincing teenagers of the beauty of networks - watch the video

Dr. Mason Porter and his team of students and postdocs, together with new Hooke Research Fellow Heather Harrington have been visiting schools to teach students of ages 13-16 about the mathematics of networks.  

Marcus Du Sautoy to receive an honorary degree from the University of Liverpool

Marcus du Sautoy, Charles Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science and a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford has been awarded an honourary degree by the University of Liverpool in recognition of his making mathematical sciences accessible to a wider audience. The honorary degree will be conferred during a week of ceremonies at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall on Monday, 15 July.

Nick Trefethen, Frances Kirwan, Fernando Alday and Tom Sanders awarded LMS prizes for 2013

The winners of the London Mathematical Society Prizes for 2013 were announced at the Society meeting on 5 July 2013:

Professor Nick Trefethen has been awarded the Naylor Prize and Lectureship in Applied Mathematics on account of his exceptional contributions to Numerical Analysis and his undoubted ability to communicate this fascinating and central subject to a wider audience.

Professor Frances Kirwan is awarded a Senior Whitehead Prize for her work on geometric invariant theory and the geometry and topology of moduli spaces. Professor Kirwan has introduced many fundamental techniques and applied them to solve several outstanding problems, particularly involving moduli spaces of bundles.

Professor Fernando Alday is awarded a Whitehead Prize for his work on properties of supersymmetric gauge theory, and its connections with two dimensional conformal field theory and with string theory in anti-de-Sitter space.

Dr Tom Sanders is awarded a Whitehead Prize for his spectacular results in additive combinatorics and related areas. In particular he is recognised for his paper obtaining the best known upper bounds for sets of integers containing no 3-term arithmetic progressions, for his work dramatically improving bounds connected with Freiman's theorem on sets with small doubling, and for other results in additive combinatorics and harmonic analysis.

New Building Construction: Progress Update 44


Cranes & Fork Lifts:- An occasional mobile crane is being brought in when required.

Entrance:- The proposed closure of the access road from gate 7 with alternative access has been postponed to co-ordinate with neighbour/client requests and is now set to start on Monday 15th July with access reopening on Sunday 28th July.

Future works for July

Entrance:- Remaining glass adjacent to gutter and general finishes to conclude.

Cladding:- Units left out for access (including crystal glass) has now been closed up.

Glass Atrium Roofs:- The north atrium roof is complete. Copings and edge trims are ongoing.

Reconstituted Stone & Brise Soleil:- External Brise Soleil installations (louvred sun shade) are complete.

Ground Crystals: Now that the glass to the crystals is substantially complete the focus will be on closing the sides on the south crystal and service interfaces.

Architectural Metalwork:- Roof terrace balustrade brackets are now ready to receive glass.

Waterproofing & Flat Roof:- Decking followed by glass balustrading are due to commence.

Lifts:- The lift contractor Thyssen have installed all large lifts. 2 platform lifts are also installed.

A stage lift will be incorporated into the large lecture theatre.

Mechanical & Electrical:- Commissioning is ongoing that will test and balance each system.

Internal Fitout:- The north block is being thoroughly cleaned from the top working down the building with shelving and furniture also being installed. The south building is progressing with the upper floors, while the lower floors are more advanced with carpets being laid.

Lecture Theatres:- The Large Lecture Theatre has seating installed and will continue with wall panelling. The Medium Lecture Theatre is progressing with seating installation. The Small Lecture Theatre has been carpeted with wall panels installed and seating installed. The tiling and frame to glass partitioning to the main mezzanine area continues.

Joinery:- Timber balustrade panels are now largely installed to the south major atrium.

Smoke Curtains:- Smoke curtain boxes have been installed in the north and south atriums. A smoke curtain, when deployed in the event of a fire, will direct smoke away from escape routes.

External Works:- Tarmac to the west elevation is expected to take place on 28th /29th June. Penrose paving is expected to start during w.c. 1/7/2013. Kerb laying and paving have been progressing to all external areas.

Basement:- Floor painting activities are continuing to basement areas and metal doors installed.

Inspections:- As areas become complete, sections are made available for inspections.

Recent Site Photos

Latest research: accurate quantitative estimation of energy performance of residential buildings

Athanasios Tsanas in Oxford and Angeliki Xifara in Cardiff have developed an automatic tool which can accurately predict the needs for heating load and cooling load (thus, the required energy throughout the year) of a residential building when eight standard building parameters are provided (relative compactness, surface area, wall area, roof area, overall height, orientation, glazing area, glazing area distribution). The results are based on training a statistical machine learning algorithm using 768 diverse buildings.The research has created a useful tool for civil engineers and architects in their ongoing search for energy efficiency.

Professor Ingrid Daubechies awarded prestigious honorary degree

Professor Ingrid Daubechies, James B Duke Professor of Mathematics at Duke University, has been awarded a prestigious honorary degree at Encaenia, the annual ceremony in Oxford. Professor Daubechies is a leading authority on wavelet theory. In 1987 she constructed a class of wavelets that were identically zero outside a finite interval, now among the most common type of wavelets used in applications. She was the first woman full professor of mathematics at Princeton University and the first woman president of the International Mathematical Union.

The Unsolved. Marcus Du Sautoy at the Royal Society’s Summer Science Exhibition.

On 06 July in London Marcus and fellow panellists Dr June Barrow-Green and Professor Ian Stewart FRS will talk about the unsolved problems in Mathematics as part of the 2013 Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition. The event is free.

Marcus and Yoko

This year Yoko Ono is curating the Meltdown Festival on London’s Southbank featuring the dazzling talents of Iggy Pop, Patti Smith and, to add mathematical rigour, Marcus Du Sautoy who will be explaining why numbers, codes and pattern searching are one of the best tools for looking into the future. The event will take place on 23 June at 4.30pm in the Purcell Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall.

The Mathematics of Hawking (Nobby not Stephen). Logarithmic spirals over Oxford

Mathematics can be scary to the uninitiated. Especially if you are a pigeon residing on or near the new Mathematical Building in Oxford. The ubiquitous birds are no doubt thrilled at the additional accommodation we are building for them. However, their luck has run out courtesy of Nobby the Hawk and his handler Steve Mazey.

Nobby is a polymath, part athlete, part mathematician. His job is to set up a no-fly zone around the building into which the pigeons dare not venture. Steve determines the general flight pattern that Nobby will keep on until he spots a pigeon. At that point, Nobby will enter into hunting mode. Hawks like Nobby are known to have a particular strategy. He keeps his head straight and fixed for hydrodynamic stability while always keeping an eye on his prey. His method is to keep the image of the pigeon at the most sensitive part of his retina which means that his line of sight remains at a constant angle with his tangent line. The mathematical curve that satisfies this condition is an equiangular spiral (also known as spira mirabilis or logarithmic spiral) and Nobby will follow that spiral path until he is close enough to his prey.

This curve occurs across nature, for example in mollusk shells and even in the Milky Way. Nobby may not know it but he is Marvellous Mathematics in the flesh.

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