Meet the mathematicians

03 Apr 2009 15:19:00.000

PA 96/09  

The brain, puzzles and roller coaster rides — these topics will all come under the spot light when hundreds of budding mathematicians gather at The University of Nottingham on Monday 6 April 2009 to rub shoulders with the mathematical experts.

Sixth form students from across the country will be taking a day out from their Easter break to meet inspiring mathematicians to hear about the geometry and pigmentation of seashells, find out what Hollywood, Sex and the WWW has to do with maths and how to design a roller coaster ride.

It is hoped the ‘meet the Mathematicians’ event will raise the profile of Mathematics and inspire more students to study for a Maths degree or even a PhD.

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One hundred and fifty 6th formers have already registered and more are welcome to attend the event which is being run as part of the British Applied Mathematics Colloquium — a conference which is being hosted this year by The University of Nottingham for academics and researchers interested in Applied Maths.


Among the speakers will be Dr Keith Hopcraft, from the School of Mathematical Sciences who works on the application of maths to physics, including making a sun on the earth and the strange materials that can make things vanish from sight — without the aid of mirrors or trapdoors. He said: “The purpose of this event is to illustrate the ways that a few simple ideas in maths can be brought together and put to work to reveal connections between the seemingly unconnected, and to predict how things behave. Maths provides a powerful language with which we can describe the workings of the world, from something as mundane a bouncing ball, through a roller coaster ride, to the incredibly complex connections of the WWW and the human brain.”


Stephen Coombes, is a Professor of Applied Mathematics in the Institute of Neuroscience. Part of his research includes trying to figure out how his own brain works. He said: “Mathematics is a powerful tool for understanding the dynamics of the human brain, ranging from the behaviour of a single neuron and the generation of action potentials, up to the level of the whole cortex and the mechanisms responsible for the generation of rhythms seen in brain imaging studies.”


The event takes place in the Mathematics and Physics Building on University Park. It starts at 11am and finishes at 5.30pm.

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Notes to editors

: The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 100 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher (THE) World University Rankings.


More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to RAE 2008, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranks the University 7th in the UK by research power. In 27 subject areas, the University features in the UK Top Ten, with 14 of those in the Top Five.


The University provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain's "only truly global university", it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen's Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation — School of Pharmacy), and was named ‘Entrepreneurial University of the Year’ at the Times Higher Education Awards 2008.


Nottingham was designated as a Science City in 2005 in recognition of its rich scientific heritage, industrial base and role as a leading research centre. Nottingham has since embarked on a wide range of business, property, knowledge transfer and educational initiatives ( in order to build on its growing reputation as an international centre of scientific excellence. The University of Nottingham is a partner in Nottingham: the Science City.

Story credits

More information is available from Dr Ria Symonds on +44 (0)115 8232052,

Lindsay Brooke

Lindsay Brooke - Media Relations Manager

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 951 5751 Location: University Park

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