LMS Education Day

This Tuesday I attended the LMS Education Day, a yearly event focussing on how we teach mathematics to our undergraduates. The topic this year was curriculum development: are our curricula ready for the 21st century?

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Science as Sport

What is science as sport? In sports we measure achievement by winning and so for science it means measuring success in research using metrics that measure esteem: How many citations do I have? What is my H-index? How prestigious are the journals in which I publish? How many grants have I obtained? How soon have I been promoted?

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Christmas Lecture

For the Christmas lecture of my multivariable calculus module I tried find something entertaining to present. This turned out to be quite difficult, but in the process I across this multivariable calculus themed comic.
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Writing a Bachelor Thesis

One of my duties as lecturer is supervising final year projects. Seeing students engage with a piece of mathematics on their own is an interesting and rewarding experience. As part of the process of guiding and advising, of observing students and with the benefit of hindsight one distills little nuggets of advice. Advice that, one hopes, might help students engage deeper with the mathematics and benefit more from the process.
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What is Mathematics?

A couple of weeks ago I was asked to help out with the upcoming induction week for our mathematics undergraduate students. I am given one hour to give 70 students some idea of what they have come to study. After thinking about the question, “What is mathematics?”, I have found the following four-fold answer.

Mathematics helps us to…

  • … find precise answers to precise questions.
  • … find approximate answers to vague questions.
  • … interpret answers that seem precise but are not.
  • … figure out the right questions to ask.

Below I have tried to develop these points and to supplement them with examples. The text below is addressed at first year students of mathematics at Brunel University.

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Quo Vadis?

This post is not aimed at justifying this blog’s existence to the reader. In this day and age uninterested readers will simply stop reading and wander off to other blogs. Instead, this post is aimed at reminding my future self why I started to write this blog in the first place.

The world is becoming more and more mathematical. Behind expressions like big data, machine learning, artificial intelligence, deep learning and data science lurks mathematics. The big five companies—Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook and Microsoft—rely on advanced algorithms in their day-to-day operations and so do countless others. Every day our lives are shaped by mathematics, often operating behind the scenes.

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