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Podcast Profile: The Secrets of Mathematics

podcast imageTwitter: @OxUniMaths
24 episodes
2014 to 2017
Average episode: 54 minutes
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Categories: Math • Talk/Seminar Series

Podcaster's summary: A series of talks and lectures from Oxford Mathematicians exploring the power and beauty of their subject. These talks would appeal to anyone interested in mathematics and its ever-growing range of applications from medicine to economics and beyond.

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List Updated: 2023-Dec-02 13:28 UTC. Episodes: 24. Feedback: @TrueSciPhi.

2017-Dec-13 • 48 minutes
Can Yule Solve My Problems? - Alex Bellos
In our Oxford Mathematics Christmas Lecture Alex Bellos challenges you with some festive brainteasers as he tells the story of mathematical puzzles from the middle ages to modern day. Alex is the Guardian’s puzzle blogger as well as the author of several works of popular maths, including Puzzle Ninja, Can You Solve My Problems? and Alex’s Adventures in Numberland.
2016-Oct-31 • 63 minutes
Autism and Minds Wired for Science
Simon Baron-Cohen, Professor of Developmental Psychopathology, Cambridge, and Director of the Autism Research Centre, gives the 2016 Charles Simonyi Lecture on new research into autism.
2016-Oct-19 • 67 minutes
As he retires from the the Savilian Chair of Geometry, Oxford Mathematician Nigel Hitchin reflects
From early mathematical inspiration at school in Duffield, Derbyshire, Nigel recalls his often unplanned progress via Jesus College, Oxford, Princeton, Cambridge and Warwick, before his final return to Oxford. Along the way such luminaries as Michael Atiyah and Simon Donaldson play their part as Nigel talks about time spent with physicists in Cambridge, the Eureka moments when the answers take shape, to his final reflections on a career where the name Hitchin is attached to so many of the tools of modern ge...
2016-Oct-19 • 61 minutes
Fashion, Faith, and Fantasy in the New Physics of the Universe - Roger Penrose
What can fashionable ideas, blind faith, or pure fantasy have to do with the scientific quest to understand the universe? Surely, scientists are immune to trends, dogmatic beliefs, or flights of fancy? In this lecture, based on his new book, Roger will argue that fashion, faith, and fantasy, while sometimes productive and even essential, may be leading today's researchers astray, most notably in three of science's most important areas - string theory, quantum mechanics, and cosmology. Yet Roger will also de...
2016-Sep-17 • 37 minutes
Roger Heath-Brown a Life in Mathematics
Roger Heath-Brown is one of Oxford's foremost mathematicians. In this interview with fellow Oxford Mathematician Ben Green, Roger reflects on his influences, his achievements and the pleasures that the subject of mathematics has given him. Roger Heath-Brown's work in analytic number theory has been critical to the advances in the subject over the past thirty years and garnered Roger many prizes. On the eve of his retirement Roger spoke to Ben Green, Waynflete Professor of Mathematics in Oxford and himself...
2016-Jul-06 • 54 minutes
Modelling genes: the backwards and forwards of mathematical population genetics - Alison Etheridge
In this lecture Professor Alison Etheridge explores some of the simple mathematical caricatures that underpin our understanding of modern genetic data. How can we explain the patterns of genetic variation in the world around us? The genetic composition of a population can be changed by natural selection, mutation, mating, and other genetic, ecological and evolutionary mechanisms. How do they interact with one another, and what was their relative importance in shaping the patterns we see today?
2016-Jun-15 • 38 minutes
The Prime Number Theorem
Oxford Students discuss the Prime Number Theorem. Prime numbers have fascinated mathematicians since there were mathematicians to be fascinated, and The Prime Number Theorem is one of the crowning achievements of 19th century mathematics. The theorem answers, in a precise form, a very basic and naive-sounding question: how many prime numbers are there? Proved in 1896, the theorem marked the culmination of a century of mathematical progress, and is also at the heart of one of the biggest unsolved problems in...
2016-May-16 • 56 minutes
What We Cannot Know - Marcus du Sautoy
Science is giving us unprecedented insight into the big questions that have challenged humanity. Where did we come from? What is the ultimate destiny of the universe? What are the building blocks of the physical world? What is consciousness? 'What We Cannot Know' asks us to rein in this unbridled enthusiasm for the power of science. Are there limits to what we can discover about our physical universe? Are some regions of the future beyond the predictive powers of science and mathematics? Are there ideas s...
2015-Dec-18 • 58 minutes
The Travelling Santa Problem and Other Seasonal Challenges - Marcus du Sautoy
The Oxford Mathematics Christmas Public Lecture 2015 examined an aspect of Christmas not often considered: the mathematics. Delivered by Marcus du Sautoy, Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science. The Oxford Mathematics Christmas Lecture is generously sponsored by G-Research - Researching investment ideas to predict financial markets. Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales;
2015-Dec-07 • 61 minutes
Symmetry, Spaces and Undecidability - Martin Bridson
The understanding of the possible geometries in dimension 3 is one of the triumphs of 20th century mathematics. In this talk Martin Bridson explains why such an understanding is impossible in higher dimensions. When one wants to describe the symmetries of any object or system, in mathematics or everyday life, the right language to use is group theory. How might one go about understanding the universe of all groups and what kinds of novel geometry might emerge as we explore this universe? Martin Bridson bec...
2015-Nov-16 • 51 minutes
Putting the Higgs Boson in its Place
Professor Melissa Franklin talks about her experiences working towards the discovery of the Higgs Boson and her work today at the Large Hadron Collider This entertaining lecture by experimental particle physicist, Professor Melissa Franklin (the first woman to achieve tenure in the Harvard Physics Department), is the latest in the Charles Simonyi annual lecture series. This series was set up in 1999 in order to promote the public understanding of Science
2015-Oct-28 • 72 minutes
M. C. Escher - Artist, Mathematician, Man
M.C. Escher is known as the mathematician's (and hippie's) favourite artist. But why? And was Escher, a man who claimed he knew no mathematics, really a mathematical genius? In this lecture Roger Penrose and Jon Chapman not only show why Escher has won the artistic and mathematical hearts of mathematicians, but also why his art is inspiring both artists and mathematicians today, as captured in Jon's brilliant updating of Escher's 'Picture Gallery' to the new mathematics building in Oxford. Please note the ...
2015-Jul-01 • 51 minutes
The Gomboc, the Turtle and the Evolution of Shape - Gabor Domokos
Gabor Domokos gives a talk on his mathematical journey that led to the creation of the Gomboc, the shape which has just one stable and one unstable point of equilibrium. In 1995, Russian mathematician V.I. Arnold conjectured that convex, homogeneous solids with just two static balance points (weebles without a bottom weight) may exist. Ten years later the first Gomboc was built. Gabor Domokos, will describe his own part in the journey of discovery, the mathematics behind that journey and the curious relatio...
2015-Mar-12 • 57 minutes
Birth of an Idea: A Mathematical Adventure - Cedric Villani
What goes on inside the mind of a mathematician? Where does inspiration come from? Cedric Villani, winner of the most prestigious prize in mathematics, the Fields Medal, explains the process. Inaugural Titchmarsh Lecture 2015. Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales;
2014-Dec-04 • 55 minutes
Forbidden Crystal Symmetry: Mathematics and architecture - Roger Penrose
World-renowned mathematician Sir Roger Penrose, Oxford University, describes how crystalline symmetries are necessarily 2-fold, 3-fold, 4-fold, or 6-fold.
2014-Dec-04 • 59 minutes
What Maths Really Does: From modelling the brain to modelling the climate - Alain Goriely
How has mathematics emerged over recent decades as the engine behind 21st century science? Alain Goriely looks at this question and more.
2014-Dec-03 • 57 minutes
The History of Mathematics in 300 Stamps - Robin Wilson
The entire history of mathematics in one hour, as illustrated by around 300 postage stamps featuring mathematics and mathematicians from across the world. From Euclid to Euler, from Pythagoras to Poincare, and from Fibonacci to the Fields Medals, all are featured in attractive, charming and sometimes bizarre stamps. No knowledge of mathematics or philately required.
2014-Nov-20 • 44 minutes
Big Data's Big Deal - Viktor Mayer-Schonberger
Big Data promises to change all sectors of our economy, and deeply affect our society. But beyond the current hype, what are Big Data's salient qualities, and do they warrant the high hopes? These are some of the questions that this talk addresses. Speaker: Viktor Mayer-Schönberger Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales;
2014-Jun-18 • 42 minutes
Extra Time: Professor Sir Roger Penrose in conversation with Andrew Hodges - part two
These two video sessions explore the development of Sir Roger Penrose’s thought over more than 60 years, ending with his most recent theories and predictions. In the second session, the emphasis shifts to the recent developments in Roger Penrose's thought. He gives a very clear outline of his argument for Conformal Cyclic Cosmology as the correct description of the Big Bang. However, the conversation turns once again to the precursors of these ideas in the 1950s, with new anecdotes about Dirac and the orig...
2014-Jun-18 • 51 minutes
Extra Time: Professor Sir Roger Penrose in conversation with Andrew Hodges - part one
These two video sessions explore the development of Sir Roger Penrose's thought over more than 60 years, ending with his most recent theories and predictions. In the first session, Roger Penrose explains the impact of his time at Cambridge in the 1950s. The interview brings out his highly unconventional choice of subjects for deep study, which completely ignored the boundary between 'pure' and 'applied' mathematics. Those familiar with his world-leading development of relativity theory in the 1960s may be s...
2014-May-12 • 32 minutes
Sir Michael Atiyah, a Life in Mathematics
In conversation with Paul Tod on the occasion of Sir Michael's 85th birthday conference. A portrait of the contribution that Sir Michael Atiyah has made to mathematics over his career together with his recollections of formative people and events. Interview by Professor Paul Tod.
2014-Mar-21 • 79 minutes
Why there are no three-headed monsters, resolving some problems with brain tumours, divorce prediction and how to save marriages - James D Murray
Professor James D Murray, Professor Emeritus of Mathematical Biology, University of Oxford and Senior Scholar, Applied and Computational Mathematics, Princeton University, gives the annual Hooke Lecture. Understanding the generation and control of pattern and form is still a challenging and major problem in the biomedical sciences. I shall describe three very different problems. First I shall briefly describe the development and application of the mechanical theory of morphogenesis and the discovery of mor...
2014-Mar-11 • 60 minutes
Bryce McLeod, a Life in Mathematics In conversation with John Ball
A portrait of the contribution that Bryce McLeod has made to mathematics over his career together with his recollections of formative people and events. Interview by Professor Sir John Ball FRS, FRSE , Sedleian Professor of Natural Philosophy.
2014-Jan-14 • 52 minutes
Maths in Music: The Secret Mathematicians - Marcus du Sautoy
Professor Marcus du Sautoy (New College), Charles Simonyi Chair in the Public Understanding of Science, author and broadcaster gives a talk for the 2013 Oxford Alumni Weekend. From composers to painters, writers to choreographers, the mathematician's palette of shapes, patterns and numbers has proved a powerful inspiration. Often subconsciously artists are drawn to the same structures that fascinate mathematicians, as they constantly hunt for interesting new structures to frame their creative process. Throu...