Wednesday 8 March 2017

"Chalkdust" the exciting twice-yearly online maths magazine has just published Issue 05.  Edited by PhD students at UCL, but with many non-UCL contributions. (Hardcopy & pdf download of the hardcopy edition also available).

There is plenty for those BSHM members who like maths served with some slices of history (as well as the slices of pizza served at last night’s launch party in UCL’s Print Room Café!)

Emma Bell: “Roots  - Mary Somerville” Emma has chosen as her subject for Issue 5 the 19th Century polymath who was a contemporary of Ada Lovelace, and who gave her name to one of the first women’s colleges at Oxford – “Somerville College”.  Her image will soon grace Royal Bank of Scotland’s new £10 note.  Emma has certainly hit the spot once again for BSHM members, with this choice for her latest article!

Tom Rivlin : “My least favorite number” also hits the spot for the many erudite BSHM members who are adamant that the golden ratio phi = 1.618… has been completely overhyped in the popular press as having all sorts of magical properties.  Quite the contrary argues Tom, “It’s just half of one plus root five” Read on Macduff!!!   (Page 8 of the pdf download)

Robert J Low and Thierry Platini: “Variations on Fermat: an agony in four fits”   have chosen another topic “not uninteresting” for those whose adrenaline levels start to rise at the mere mention of “Fermat”. A “fight or flight” response inevitably kicks in when the words “Last Theorem” appear!

Bernd Ulmann: “Slide Rules: the early calculators”  gives a nice warm comfort blanket to those of us who grew up in the BC era (Before Calculators – and certainly Before Computers were anything less than half an acre of large cabinets in a huge building). They were affectionately known as “guessing sticks” to those of us who carried them round from one lesson to another.  We all know that when the pre-emptive strike from a real-life Bond villain knocks out all electronic equipment on Planet Earth, those of us who still keep their slide rule close to hand will have a fighting chance of survival in the next world order!  Make sure you are ready for this eventuality by reading this article! 

Also, pay special attention to “How to make a slide rule”

Pietro Servini : “Florence Nightingale, statistician”.   It won’t come as a surprise to many BSHM members that Florence Nightingale was really a statistician, rather than a member of the nursing profession!   “..despite this public perception of Florence, she did very little actual nursing while in the Crimea and, indeed, throughout her whole life.”

Lulu Beatson: “Origami tesseracts”  A-level student Lulu gives us some nice recreational activity to help us calm down from the previous overdose of excitement.

“I didn’t have the time to rip a hole into another dimension. Nevertheless, the model is a simple way in which to begin to understand the shape as a continuation of the dimensions we already experience”.

Many other non-historical articles are also on offer.  Enjoy!