From Ronald Ross to ChatGPT: the birth and strange life of the random walk - Jordan Ellenberg

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Between 1905 and 1910 the idea of the random walk was invented simultaneously and independently by multiple people in multiple countries for completely different purposes. In the UK, the story starts with Ronald Ross and the problem of mosquito control, but elsewhere, the theory was being developed in domains from physics to finance to winning a theological argument (really!).

In this Oxford Mathematics Public Lecture, Jordan will tell some part of this story and also gesture at ways that random walks (or Markov processes, named after the theological arguer) underlie current approaches to artificial intelligence; he will touch on some of his own work with DeepMind and speculate about the capabilities of those systems now and in the future.

Jordan Ellenberg is a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the author of best-selling works of non-fiction and fiction, and has written and lectured extensively for a general audience about the wonders of mathematics for over fifteen years.

Please email @email to register to attend in person.

The lecture will be broadcast on the Oxford Mathematics YouTube Channel on Thursday 18 July at 5-6pm and any time after (no need to register for the online version).

The Oxford Mathematics Public Lectures are generously supported by XTX Markets.

Please contact us with feedback and comments about this page. Created on 16 Jun 2024 - 19:56.

Alain Goriely appointed Gresham Professor of Geometry

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Oxford Mathematician Alain Goriely has been appointed Gresham Professor of Geometry. The Professor of Geometry at Gresham College, London, is one of ten lecturers whose roles are to give free educational lectures to the general public, the purpose for which the college was founded in 1597 in the will of Thomas Gresham. In total there are over 130 public lectures a year, all of which are online.

Alain Goriely FRS is the Professor of Mathematical Modelling here in Oxford, Director of the Oxford Centre for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (OCIAM), the Director of the International Brain and Mechanics Lab (IBMATL) with Antoine Jérusalem, and a fellow of St Catherine’s College

Alain's work ranges across many areas of applied mathematics including the mechanics of biological growth, the modelling of the brain, the theoretical foundations of mechanics, the dynamics of curves, knots, and rods, the modelling of cancer, the development of new photovoltaic devices, the modelling of lithium-ion batteries and, more generally the study and development of mathematical methods for applied sciences.

Alain has also given many public lectures on his work and mathematics more broadly and was formerly Director of External Relations for Oxford Mathematics in which role he instigated and developed the popular Oxford Mathematics Public Lecture series.

In his first series of lectures, Alain will explore how mathematics is being used to understand the brain.

Alain is the author of Morphoelasticity: The Mathematics and Mechanics of Biological Growth' and 'Applied Mathematics: A Very Short Introduction'.

Please contact us with feedback and comments about this page. Created on 10 Jun 2024 - 09:00.

Show Me the Maths

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'Show Me the Maths' gets down to the detail of the mathematics that takes place round here. These short, 90-second films, deliberately display the complexity of our subject. They span fundamental mathematics such as quasi-coherent sheaves and Dirichlet L-functions while also taking in our work in applied mathematics, such as the modelling of cancer treatment and efforts to make complex mathematics accessible to companies who need to use it in product development. And for good measure, we feature our research in to the history of mathematics, in this case the treatment of Jewish mathematicians in Soviet Russia.

You can access the full playlist here while below are two of films starring number theorist Lasse Grimmelt and mathematical historian Petra Stankovic.

Please contact us with feedback and comments about this page. Created on 09 Jun 2024 - 10:43.

The Potential for AI in Science and Mathematics - Terence Tao

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Oxford Mathematics London Public Lecture - The Potential for AI in Science and Mathematics - Terence Tao

Wednesday 17th July 2024, 6.15 - 7.30pm, Science Museum, London, SW7

Terry Tao is one of the world's leading mathematicians and winner of many awards including the Fields Medal. He is Professor of Mathematics at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Following his talk Terry will be in conversation with fellow mathematician Po-Shen Loh.

Please email @email to register to attend in person. Please note this lecture is in London.

This lecture has now sold out, but it will be broadcast on the Oxford Mathematics YouTube Channel on Wednesday 7th August at 5pm and any time after (no need to register for the online version). 

The Oxford Mathematics Public Lectures are generously supported by XTX Markets.

Please contact us with feedback and comments about this page. Created on 29 May 2024 - 11:42.

Emmanuel Breuillard elected Fellow of the Royal Society

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Oxford Mathematician Emmanuel Breuillard has been elected Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS), the UK’s national academy of sciences and the oldest science academy in continuous existence.

Emmanuel is Professor of Pure Mathematics in Oxford and a Fellow of Worcester College. He works at the interface between algebra and analysis. He has made contributions to the study of finite and infinite groups, using a wealth of methods from diverse areas of mathematics, including combinatorics, mathematical logic, probability theory, dynamics, or diophantine analysis. 

Among them feature his work on free subgroups of Lie groups, the development (with Ben Green and Terence Tao) of a structure theory for approximate groups, and his study (with Peter Varju) of mixing and equidistribution phenomena for random walks on groups with applications to self-similarity and random polynomials. He was a recipient of an EMS Prize in 2012, was an invited speaker at the ICM in 2014 and is a member of Academia Europaea since 2021. 

Oxford Mathematics now has 34 Fellows of the Royal Society among its current and retired members: Fernando Alday, John Ball, Bryan Birch, Martin Bridson, Philip Candelas, Marcus du Sautoy, Artur Ekert, Alison Etheridge, Alain Goriely, Ian Grant, Ben Green, Roger Heath-Brown, Nigel Hitchin, Ehud Hrushovski, Ioan James, Dominic Joyce, Jon Keating, Frances Kirwan, Terry Lyons, Philip Maini, Vladimir Markovic, James Maynard, Jim Murray, John Ockendon, Roger Penrose, Jonathan Pila, Graeme Segal, Endre Süli, Martin Taylor, Ulrike Tillmann, Nick Trefethen, Andrew Wiles, Alex Wilkie, and Emmanuel himself, of course.

Please contact us with feedback and comments about this page. Created on 16 May 2024 - 00:08.

Alison Etheridge to become First President of the Academy for the Mathematical Sciences

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The newly-created Academy for the Mathematical Sciences today announced that Oxford Mathematician Alison Etheridge OBE FRS will be its first President. She will take up the role from 17 June 2024.

The UK-wide Academy will focus on mathematical sciences wherever they happen. This includes teaching and education, academic research pushing the frontiers of what is known, and mathematical sciences in business and in government. It recognises that many crucial policy areas affecting mathematical sciences are devolved. It will also have a wide and inclusive definition of mathematical sciences - and is committed to improving opportunities for previously underrepresented groups of people.

Alison is Professor of Probability in Oxford, having worked at the Universities of Cambridge, Berkeley, Edinburgh and Queen Mary University London before returning to Oxford. Her interests have ranged from abstract mathematical problems to concrete applications with her recent work focused on mathematical modelling of population genetics. She was Head of the Department of Statistics in Oxford until August 2022.

Alison herself says: " by bringing together the whole mathematical sciences community, the Academy will have an authoritative and persuasive voice and so achieve its ambition of enabling the mathematical sciences to deliver on its full potential.”

Read more

Please contact us with feedback and comments about this page. Created on 10 May 2024 - 10:00.

100 lectures in 1 minute

Image of lecturer (Melanie Rupflin) at the whiteboard

We have just put our 100th student lecture on YouTube. But you can watch them all in one minute below.

Or, alternatively, in about 80 hours via our Student Lectures playlist.

The lectures cover all four years of our undergraduate courses, from the initial 'Introduction to Mathematics' to the advanced lectures of the later years on such topics as Networks and Analytic Number Theory. There are several 'whole' courses together with self-contained samples from other courses.

 

 

 

Please contact us with feedback and comments about this page. Created on 09 May 2024 - 15:22.

Show Me the Maths - Arkady

Still from the lecture with Arkady

In recent decades much research has moved from corporates to academia, including to mathematicians. But mathematicians produce models with complex equations. How do they make them comprehensible to the people developing the product? 

In the video below Arkady Wey explains. Episode 5 of 'Show Me the Maths', our series that gets down to the maths itself. You can watch all the films in the series, with more to follow, via our YouTube Channel.

 
 
Please contact us with feedback and comments about this page. Created on 17 Apr 2024 - 21:37.

The Ubiquity of Braids - Tara Brendle

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What do maypole dancing, grocery delivery, and the quadratic formula all have in common? The answer is: braids! In this Oxford Mathematics Public Lecture, Tara will explore how the ancient art of weaving strands together manifests itself in a variety of modern settings, both within mathematics and in our wider culture.    

Tara Brendle is a Professor of Mathematics in the School of Mathematics & Statistics at the University of Glasgow. Her research lies in the area of geometric group theory, at the interface between algebra and topology. She is co-author of 'Braids: A Survey', appearing in 'The Handbook of Knot Theory'.

Please email @email to register to attend in person.

The lecture will be broadcast on the Oxford Mathematics YouTube Channel on Thursday 16 May at 5-6pm and any time after (no need to register for the online version).

The Oxford Mathematics Public Lectures are generously supported by XTX Markets.

Please contact us with feedback and comments about this page. Created on 10 Apr 2024 - 15:47.

How do you like your boards?

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How do you like your boards? Black with chalk or white with pen?

We took a Swiftie boardwalk round Oxford Mathematics.

38 seconds of chalk and marker pen - and a few mathematicians - in the video below.

There are plenty more clips of mathematical life on our YouTube Channel including tips from Philip Maini on clever laziness, Roger Penrose's Impossible Triangle and some pasta probability puzzles.

Please contact us with feedback and comments about this page. Created on 28 Mar 2024 - 16:40.