Termcard for Hilary Term 1998

Tuesday 1st Week
Dr Tony Gardiner (Birmingham)

“A Theory is born: from equations to group theory”

How does a mathematical theory evolve? Are there identifiable “turning
points” where a bunch of useful “tricks” is somehow turned into an
identifiable “theory”? The talk will look at some of the
stepping-stones that led, a century ago, to the emergence of group
theory as a prototype of modern mathematics.

Tuesday 2nd Week
Ice-Skating outing

Meet outside the Maths Institute at 8pm (or in Carfax at 8:15). There
will be a charge of about £5 at the rink.

Tuesday 3rd Week
Professor Nick Trefethen (OUCL)

“Computational Mathematics in the 21st Century – why algorithms
that take forever are faster than finite ones”

Professor Trefethen will give examples, sketch some history, and argue
that this recent trend in large-scale computation has implications for
the future of science, mathematics and computation.

Tuesday 4th Week
Dr Robin Wilson (Open University and Keble)

“The proof of the four-colour map problem”

The origins and proof of the map colouring problem: that the countries
of every map can be coloured with just four colours. First posed in
1852, it was not successfully solved until 1976, where a
computer-assisted proof requiring 1200 hours of computation finally
settled it.

Tuesday 5th Week
Members’ Papers Evening

Higman Room, Maths Institute, at 8:15pm
Nick Fortescue “A Mathematical Problem” after S. T. Coleridge
Tim Bagot “Mathematical Notation”
David Wallace “How to Pass Finals: Applications of Time Travel”
Tom Womack “Big Prime Numbers”
Owen Massey “Is O. J. Simpson A Murderer?”

Sunday 6th Week
Archimedeans’ Problems Drive

This annual event, hosted by our Cambridge counterparts, is always an
enjoyable occasion. If you are interested in coming, please contact the

Tuesday 6th Week
Prof. W. Norrie Everitt (Birmingham)

“Tell Us A Theorem”

Last given to the Invariants almost ten years ago, Professor Everitt’s talk will include some of our history, as well as the theorem in question. Followed by the Annual General Meeting.

Monday 7th week
The Annual Dinner

Our annual black-tie dinner, in Merton College at 8pm (meet in the
lodge at 7:45). Details and menu nearer the time.

Tuesday 7th week
Dr Hilary Priestley (St Anne’s)

Aristotle to Einstein – the non-variant Oxford curriculum

This talk will deal with the history of mathematics teaching in
Oxford, spanning seven centuries of undergraduate mathematics.

Tuesday 8th Week
Dr Keith Hannabuss (Balliol)

“What killed Schroedinger’s Cat?”

We end the term with a murder mystery … Schroedinger’s famous cat magnifies the strangeness of quantum theory up to the scale of everyday objects, with paradoxical results. This talk will describe the paradox, and discuss one of the suggested resolution


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