A Random Walk through Mathematics and Computing Science
A series of public lectures organised by Computing Science and Mathematics, University of Stirling - (Spring 2017)
Thursday evenings at 7pm, for approximately an hour.
Venue: Lecture Theatre B4
Cottrell Building, University of Stirling
All welcome. No need to book.
The following lectures were given in 2017.
For our 2017 series of lectures, in celebration of the University's 50th anniversary, we are pleased to include a number of distinguished guest lecturers in our programme.
To infinity and beyond. Donald Smith
A second chance, for those who missed it, to hear a lecture first given in 2012. We all have some feeling for what 'infinity' means and it is a word that is used in everyday language, but can it be defined? Does it behave like a number? Can you get more than infinity? In this talk we shall explore some of the strange things that can happen with infinity and try to pin it down so that we can talk about it more precisely.
16th March --- Guest speaker
Maths is BEST. Emeritus Professor Adam McBride OBE, University of Strathclyde
During the last 40 years Mathematics has seen many spectacular developments. On the one hand, problems that have been around for many years (in some cases hundreds of years) have finally been solved. On the other hand, whole new areas have developed in response to the needs of Business, Engineering, Science (including medicine) and Technology. It can be said that Mathematics is the language of the modern world. However, there is another side to the subject wherein we meet things of great beauty, showing that Mathematics is an Art as well as a Science. We shall explore all these aspects as well as including audience participation and a bit of fun. (Don't be afraid! No specialist knowledge is required.)
Does Statistics deserve its bad press? Kate Howie
Why is statistics useful? Why would you choose to be a statistician? Statisticians are often in the news when their predictions go wrong - for example, in forecasting election results. This talk will discuss why predictions can be inaccurate and also give examples from real life where the study of statistics can and does help all of us.
13th April --- Guest speaker
Boolean algebra: a legacy for software and life. Professor Muffy Calder OBE, Vice-Principal, University of Glasgow
George Boole was born just over 200 years ago, in 1815. He tried to systematise human thought and invented the first practical system of logic in algebraic form. His legacy lives on in Computer Science where we study and improve ways in which human and physical processes are systematised and implemented through software systems. But do these systems behave as we expect? Do they behave as we want them to? Can Boolean algebra help us? This talk will explore how we use algebra and logic to reason about systems and some everyday uses - and misuses.
27th April --- Guest speaker
Can Mathematicians count? Emeritus Professor Peter Rowlinson, University of Stirling
We ask what can, and what cannot, be counted by means of a formula. For example, the number of strings of 0s and 1s of length n is 2n; but there are networks with n nodes for which we have no counting formula. We discuss links with tiling problems and colouring problems which arise in recreational mathematics. Expect to encounter some algebra!
Maths in Movies 2: The Inevitable Sequel! Dr Andy Hoyle
Following the success of Maths in Movies 1, we again take a light-hearted look at maths in movies and on TV. We explore everything from blockbusting movies to cult TV shows and look at how accurate the maths is and what it really means.
Kodz: a brief look at coding theory. Dr John Woodward
How can we transmit a signal from one point to another ensuring minimal error? What is more, if we detect an error, how can we potentially recover the original signal? In this talk, we will look at a branch of mathematics and computer science called coding theory. We will look at some of the basic concepts such as error checking and error correcting codes. These ideas will be illustrated with some examples from everyday situations.