The Universal Machine: the musical

In New Diorama Theatre:

The New Diorama Theatre


Art and the Mobius strip: a mostly hands-on experience

An LKL Maths-Art workshop
by Simon Morgan and John Sharp
Thursday 11th April 2013, 6.00 – 7.30pm

The Möbius strip is a well known mathematical object in topology. Among artists, its curious properties have been often explored, with Max Bill and M. C. Escher among the most famous exponents. After a brief survey of this art and a basic mathematical overview, we will explore new aspects of this fascinating object as a starting point for potential new art. The session will be mainly practical because the properties of the
Möbius strip can only be explored through hands-on experience. Please bring scissors, tape, and large paper sheets (e.g. old newspapers)!

SIMON MORGAN is a mathematician with a career-long interest in the connections between mathematics, art and education. He has taught and researched mathematics in the UK and the USA, including at the University of Minnesota and Los Alamos National Laboratory.

JOHN SHARP is a researcher, writer and teacher on mathematics and art, and is well
known for the sculptural forms known as Sliceforms and Dforms, and for his work on anamorphosis. He is co-organiser of the LKL Maths-Art seminars.

TIME: 6.00 to 7.30pm
PLACE: London Knowledge Lab, 23-29 Emerald St, London, WC1N 3QS
[Travel information & maps at:]

Alan Turing’s Universal Machine is the winner!

I think LMS members and all readers of this blog will be happy and surprised that thousands of people voted Alan Turing’s Universal Machine, described in his 1936 mathematical logic paper, the most important innovation of the last 100 years:

Of course, many of them will have voted 🙂

Btw, don’t you think it’s amazing (and says something about the way basic research impacts on the world) that a 1930s mathematical logic paper in the “Proceedings of the London Mathematical Society” eventually wins a popular vote for “the most important innovation of the last 100 years” some 76 years later?

Investigation of international mathematical cultures

Do you have experience of the education system in another country as a member of staff? If so, I need your help.

I am carrying out a project funded by the Higher Education Academy to investigate the different international cultures surrounding mathematics education. The purpose of the project is to identify the key differences and then to produce a guide, in the form of a short booklet and a supporting web-site, that will provide a summary of the mathematical cultures of a range of the main international supplies (of staff and of students) to mathematics in UK HE.

If you have experience of mathematics education in other countries then you have valuable information to contribute to this project. I would be grateful if you would complete the online questionnaire. This questionnaire contains 10 substantive questions and should take no more than 10-15 minutes to complete. All the information that you provide will be treated in confidence. If you would like further information about the study, please contact Dr Aiping Xu (telephone 024 7688 7590 or email aiping.xu>>at<<

Alan Turing’s Universal Machine

If you’d like to do something to raise the profile of mathematics, logic and computer science in the UK, please visit the “Top British Innovations” webpage:

and vote accordingly. The vote has just one day to run, with result announced on the 25th March. It is supported by the Royal Society, Science Museum, Royal Academy of Engineering, amongst others.

Many thanks for your help, and apologies for disturbing your Saturday morning!

Developing a Healthy Scepticism About Technology in Mathematics Teaching

Developing a Healthy Scepticism About Technology in Mathematics Teaching,  a paper by Peter Rowlett (Nottingham Trent University).

Abstract:  A reflective account is presented of experiences which took place alongside a research project and caused a change in approach to be more sceptical about implementation of learning technology. A critical evaluation is given of a previous e-assessment research project, undertaken from a position of naive enthusiasm for learning technology. Experiences of teaching classes and designing assessment tasks lead to doubts regarding the extent to which the previous project encouraged deep learning and contributed to graduate skills development. Investigations of the benefits of another technology—in-class response systems—lead to revelations about learning technology: its enthusiastic introduction in isolation cannot be expected to produce educational benefit; instead it must address some pedagogic need and should be evaluated against this. Overall, these experiences contribute to a shift away from a naive enthusiasm to an approach based on careful consideration of educational need before technology implementation.