Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Art in the Andrew Wiles Building - Antoni Malinowski at work

The Andrew Wiles Building, home to Oxford Mathematics, is a space where mathematics is embedded in the design, from the Penrose Paving to the two large interior crystals. However, it is also a space filled with light, a natural environment for art that works explicitly with light and colour. It is with this in mind that London-based artist Antoni Malinowski has been commissioned to paint an art work on the white walls of the entrance area of the Building. Antoni will be at work for three months, painting directly onto the walls. Come and watch an artist as he develops and refines his work.

Antoni describes his work as follows:

"Each day the journey of light is registered on the two large white walls facing each other in the luminous foyer. My work begins by sensitising this background by applying a reflective paint made with mica ground to a fine pigment. Then on the south facing wall, using light absorbing pigments, I paint in colours related to the warm end of the spectrum - from red to yellow. These light wave subtractive earth pigments have been used by painters for around forty thousand years. 

On the north facing wall, other historical pigments like green earth, lapis lazuli and azurite are going to mark the cool end of the spectrum - from green to violet. An additional layer of brush strokes will be painted with contemporary paint, made with nano technology interference pigments. These don’t absorb light, but bend the wavelengths. The interaction of these two ways in which colour is ‘produced’ will create the dynamic of the paintings. The wall paintings will appear very different from different viewing points and with different light conditions. The colour will oscillate between darkness and light, appearing and disappearing, showing different sides of binary complementarities. One elongated thin line in each painting will contribute to the opening of the pictorial space - an invitation for an imaginary spatial journey.”

Malinowski's recent work includes a commission inside the award-winning Everyman Theatre in Liverpool.


Friday, 27 March 2015

£2.3 million for Symmetries and Correspondences

Nigel Hitchin, Minhyong Kim, Kobi Kremnizter, and Boris Zilber of Oxford,  Ivan Fesenko of the University of Nottingham, and international collaborators Mikhail Kapranov (IMPU Japan) and Fedor Bogomolov (NYU) have been awarded a £2.3 million grant from the EPSRC for their project on ‘Symmetries and Correspondences’.  

Together with a stellar team of visiting researchers, they aim to assemble into a single coherent framework ideas and techniques arising from the most recent developments in geometry, topology, number theory, mathematical physics, and logic. These will then be brought to bear on key themes of fundamental mathematics centred on the various approaches to non-abelian and/or higher-dimensional class field theory and the theory of L-functions. The goal is bring about substantial unity in the diversity of programmes at the interface of  higher geometric structures and long-standing questions of number theory and geometry.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Network Science: making sense of a complex world

Network science helps us understand many kinds of Big Data. Since the late 20th century it has been increasingly relevant to people's everyday life. Networks can help us to make sense of our increasingly complex world.
Work with school students and teachers in developing network science skills has demonstrated that it can be a powerful and motivating approach to understanding and theorising solutions to complex social, health and environmental problems. Network science research also provides opportunities to develop many of the skills, habits of mind and ideas that are not being addressed in extant curricula and teaching practice.
Consequently the network science community needs to develop accessible educational materials, tools and techniques. To initiate this process, one key question was posed: What should every person living in the 21st century know about networks by the time they finish secondary education? The result presented here - Network Literacy: Essential Concepts and Core Ideas - is truly a group effort, representing the distillation of the work of over 30 network science researchers, educators, teachers and students from across the world including Mason Porter from the Mathematical Institute in Oxford. 
Thursday, 12 March 2015

Cédric Villani - Birth of an Idea. Public Lecture now online

What goes on inside the mind of a mathematician? Where does inspiration come from? In this lecture, based on his book of the same title, Cédric Villani describes how he encountered obstacles and setbacks, losses of faith and even brushes with madness as he wrestled with a new theorem that culminated in him winning the most prestigious prize in mathematics, the Fields Medal.



Thursday, 5 February 2015

Angkana Rüland wins Hausdorff prize

Angkana Rüland of the Mathematical Institute in Oxford and Junior Research Fellow at Christ Church College has won the Hausdorff prize for the best thesis at the University of Bonn for her work on "On Some Rigidity Properties in PDEs". Since leaving Bonn in April 2014, Angkana has been part of the Oxford Centre for Non-Linear PDE under Sir John Ball.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

G H Hardy in Oxford - the first in our series of Oxford Mathematicians

“I was at my best at a little past forty, when I was a professor at Oxford.”

So wrote G. H. Hardy in 'A Mathematician’s Apology' Godfrey Harold Hardy (1877–1947) was the most important British pure mathematician of the first half of the 20th century. Although he is usually thought of as a Cambridge man, his years from 1920 to 1931 as Savilian Professor of Geometry at Oxford University were among his happiest and most productive. At Oxford he wrote over 100 papers, including many of his most important investigations with his long-term Cambridge collaborator J E Littlewood. 

To celebrate his work we have produced a series of six posters which hang on the walls of the mezzanine floor of the Andrew Wiles Building and which can be downloaded here. Hardy is the first in a series that will feature many towering figures from the past including John Wallis, James Sylvester, Henry Smith, Robert Hooke, Roger Penrose and the Merton School of the 14th century.

PDF icon Godfrey Hardy.pdf

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Oxford named a key founder of Alan Turing Institute

Oxford University will play a key role in the creation and the activities of the new Alan Turing Institute. The Institute will build on the UK's existing academic strengths and help position the country as a world leader in the analysis and application of big data and algorithm research. Its headquarters will be based at the British Library in London.

Oxford is one of the five universities selected to lead the Alan Turing Institute, Rt Hon Dr Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, announced today.

Vince Cable said: "Alan Turing's genius played a pivotal role in cracking the codes that helped us win the Second World War. It is therefore only right that our country's top universities are chosen to lead this new institute named in his honour. Headed by the universities of Cambridge, Edinburgh, Oxford, Warwick and UCL, the Alan Turing Institute will attract the best data scientists and mathematicians from the UK and across the globe to break new boundaries in how we use big data in a fast moving, competitive world."

The delivery of the Institute is being coordinated by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) which invests in research and postgraduate training across the UK. The Institute is being funded over five years with £42 million from the UK government. The selected university partners will contribute further funding. In addition, the Institute will seek to partner with other business and government bodies.

Researchers across Oxford University are already conducting world-class research in data science and analytics, as evidenced by the results of the recent Research Excellence Framework. Oxford's involvement in the Institute will be led by five departments: The Mathematical Institute, Department of Computer Science, Department of Statistics, Department of Engineering Science, and the Oxford Internet Institute.

The new Institute will tap into world-leading strengths and achievements across these scientific disciplines. Examples include the Mathematics of evolving networks. Research from Oxford is now routinely applied by digital marketing companies such as Bloom Media in Leeds to analyse the issue-based conversations taking place on Twitter, in real time. This has led to more responsive marking and to novel crowd-sourced intelligence services. Further examples of work in Oxford and more on the Institute can be found here.


Wednesday, 28 January 2015

James Maynard awarded a Clay Research Fellowship

James Maynard has been awarded a Clay Research Fellowship.  James obtained his doctorate at Oxford in 2013 under the supervision of Roger Heath-Brown and is currently a Fellow by Examination at Magdalen College, Oxford. James is primarily interested in classical number theory, in particular the distribution of prime numbers. His research focuses on using tools from analytic number theory, particularly sieve methods, to study the primes.

The Clay Mathematics Institute (CMI) is a privately funded operating foundation dedicated to increasing and disseminating mathematical knowledge. The CMI supports the work of leading researchers at various stages of their careers and organises conferences, workshops, and an annual summer school. Contemporary breakthroughs are recognized by its annual Research Award.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

New PROMYS Europe Programme for European Students at Oxford University

We are delighted to annouce that PROMYS Europe will take place in Oxford in July and August of this year. Building on the hugely successful PROMYS programmes in the USA,  PROMYS Europe is a challenging programme designed to encourage mathematically ambitious secondary school students to explore the creative world of mathematics. PROMYS is about asking and answering challenging questions, hard work and experiencing the sheer pleasure and beauty of mathematics.

Applications must be in by 1 April (yes seriously). Full details here.



Thursday, 18 December 2014

Zombie avoidance as a model for disease control - BBC interview


So what should you do if the dead should begin to rise? Dr Thomas Woolley talks to the BBC about avoidance strategies based on mathematical modelling, strategies that can be applied to understanding how infections such as swine flu, HIV and Ebola spread, not least because of the role of media reporting. The item is 3 hours and 17 minutes in to the programme. Thomas also spoke to American TV in Sacramento.