CHALKDUST makes more Maths History!

CHALKDUST makes more Maths History!

Tuesday 15 March 2016

"Chalkdust" the exciting online maths magazine has hit the web with issue 03.  Edited by PhD students at UCL, it has surpassed the excellent standards it set last year with issues 01 & 02. 

Although not specifically focused on the history of mathematics, there is plenty of meat on the bone for those of us who like their maths spiced with history!  Here is a selection of articles that have caught my eye.

Emma Bell, a maths teacher at Franklin College, Grimsby, continues her history column "Roots" with "The Legacy of Fibonaci" a man born in twelfth century Pisa, but who is still discussed in BSHM circles to this day.

Bernd Ulmann, a professor for Business Informatics in Germany writes "Analogue computing: fun with differential equations" telling us how differential equations were solved using analoguge computers by William Thomson (Lord Kelvin) and brother James Thomson in the nineteenth century.  It was not until the mid-1980s that analogue computers were finally superseded by stored-program digital computers.

Oliver Child, a high school student in Brussels gives us: "Menace: the Machine Educable Noughts And Crosses Engine", telling us how he has reconstructed a machine designed and built in the early 1960s to play noughts and crosses.

James Cann, a PhD student at UCL gives us "You can count on Dirichlet", starting with a letter Dirichlet wrote to Kronecker in 1858.  This gave birth to Dirichlet’s divisor problem, and to this day leaves us with work still to do! 

In the Biographies section, Matthew Scroggs, another PhD student at UCL, gives us "The Mathematical Games of Martin Gardner". Starting in 1956, when an article about hexaflexagons was published in Scientific American, this column, Mathematical Games, was written by Gardner every month from January 1956 for 26 years until December 1981.   Throughout its run, the column introduced the world to a great number of mathematical ideas, including Penrose tiling, the Game of Life, public key encryption, the art of MC Escher, polyominoes and a matchbox machine learning robot called Menace. 

The last article selected for your attention, is an interview by Matthew Wright and Trupti Patel​, both PhD students at UCL, with BSHM member Professor Ian Stewart, a prolific populariser of mathematics.