News

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.

New Building Construction: Progress Update 43

General

Cranes & Fork Lifts:- Mobile cranes are being used occasionally when required.

Entrance:- The proposed closure of the access road from gate 7 with alternative access for a period of 9 days has been postponed to co-ordinate with neighbour/client requests. When a suitable time is established it will enable the final road build up to progress.

Familiarisation:- A timetable at the end of July has be proposed for system familiarisation.

Elliott Thomas Logistics: - Art Gallery in the Old chapel. Walk ways and roads being kept clean and tidy on a daily basis, Traffic management of construction vehicles and safe access for pedestrians/ cyclists and dust control by bringing a road sweeper to site.

Future works for June

Entrance:- Glass to main entrance is largely in and continuing with connections to guttering.

Cladding:- Units left out for access (especially crystal glass) will be closed up over the next few weeks.

Glass Atrium Roofs:- The north atrium roof is complete. The southern atriums have been glazed, with flashings and edge details to finish.

Reconstituted Stone & Brise Soleil:- Brise Soleil (louvred sun shade) is virtually complete.

Ground Floor Crystals: Glass to the crystals substantially complete and will now concentrate on closing the sides.

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 No platform 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:- Following carpets the north block is now being cleaned with shelving being added to offices shortly before furniture delivery.

Lecture Theatres:- Now that the staging and tiering are complete, the floor services and carpeting have followed and seating installed to the large lecture theatre. The tiling to the main mezzanine area continues.

Joinery:- Timber balustrade panels continue in 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:- Kerb laying and paving have been progressing to all external areas.

Basement:- Floor painting activities will follow preparation of basement areas.

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

Recent Site Photos

MPLS Teaching Awards for Fernando Alday, Philip Maini and Greg Gyurko

Congratulations to three members of the Mathematical Institute who were recognised in the 2013 Teaching Awards exercise, held across the Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences Division. Fernando Alday and Philip Maini won two of the four Individual Awards for their outstanding contribution to undergraduate and graduate teaching respectively, and Greg Gyurko won the Special Category Award for Support Staff.

Prof. Roger Penrose discusses Relativity on Radio 4's 'In Our Time'

Roger Penrose, Emeritus Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford, joins Astromer Royal Prof. Martin Rees and Ruth Gregory, Professor of Mathematics and Physics at Durham University to discuss one of the major scientific and intellectual achievements of any century.

Precision: The Measure of All Things. Watch Marcus Du Sautoy's new television series

Professor Marcus du Sautoy's new series broadcast on BBC4 explores why we are driven to measure and quantify the world around us. Marcus du Sautoy is the Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science and a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford.

New Building Construction: Progress Update 42

General

Cranes & Fork Lifts:- Mobile cranes are being used occasionally when required.

Entrance:- It is proposed that the access road from gate 7 will be closed with alternative access for a period of 9 days starting from either 8/6/2013 or 15/6/2013. This is to enable the final road build up to be progressed.

Familiarisation:- A timetable has been proposed for system familiarisation.

Visits:- The Mathematics Department tour took place on the 24/5/2013.

Future works for June

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

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

Entrance:- The glass to the main roof area has been installed, and work will continue to glaze the sides.

Cladding:- Cladding units to both north and south are virtually installed apart from those left out for access.

Glass Atrium Roofs:- The north atrium roof is complete. The southern atriums have been glazed, with flashings and edge details to finish.

Reconstituted Stone & Brise Soleil:- Brise Soleil (louvred sun shade) is virtually complete.

Ground Crystals: The glass support steelwork to the north & south crystals are complete and ready for glass installation.

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

Mechanical & Electrical:- The power, water and gas are now connected. Commissioning has commenced and will test and balance each system.

Internal Fitout:- Carpet have been continuing in the north, while decorations and joinery are continuing in the south.

Lecture Theatres:- The staging and tiering are now close to completion, allowing floor services to progress. The tiling to the main mezzanine area has been installed under the north crystal area.

Joinery:- Specific timber balustrade panels have been completed in the south major atrium to allow the south crystal to be installed. The remaining less critical timber balustrade will now continue.

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:- Kerb laying and paving have been progressing to all external areas.

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

Recent Site Photos

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