Florence Nightingale Day
Professor June Barrow-Green, Open University
"A Woman can win the victory, though she may not wear the wreath": women and mathematics in late 19th century Cambridge.
In 1880 Charlotte Scott caused a sensation by being the first woman to gain success in the Cambridge Mathematical Tripos, being ranked equal to eighth wrangler (i.e. having marks equivalent to those of the male student who had come eighth in the order of merit). Ten years later Philippa Fawcett caused an even greater sensation by being ranked above the senior wrangler. Their remarkable results, which were widely published in the local and national press, added fuel to contemporary debates on the emancipation of women. Nevertheless, despite their success and the success of others who followed them, it was not until 1948 that women could be awarded degrees at Cambridge. In my talk I shall discuss the achievements of women who studied mathematics in late 19th century Cambridge, putting them into the broader context of the Cambridge mathematical culture of the period.
Professor Reidun Twarock, University of York
Viruses under the Mathematical Microscope
Each of us has had experiences with viruses, for example in the form of the common cold. In this talk I will show how mathematics can help to better understand the structures of viruses and contribute to the unravelling of the mechanisms by which viruses form and infect their hosts.
Professor Dona Strauss, University of Leeds
Infinite numbers were developed in the nineteenth century, to measure the size of infinite sets. They have some surprising properties. For example, a proper subset of a set can have the same size as the set itself. The set of whole numbers has the same size as the set of rational numbers. But it is far from being the case that all infinite sets have the same size - there are an infinite number of different infinite numbers. Handling infinite sets gave rise to some of the paradoxes which challenged mathematicians a century ago; and some statements about infinite numbers are undecideable - they cannot be proved or disproved. A statement which is easy to formulate, but which is undecideable, is that any infinite set of real numbers has the same size as the set of real numbers or the same size as the set of whole numbers.
Dr Marianne Freiberger, Plus Magazine
From primes to penguins: some careers with maths
Problem solving, logical thinking, creative thinking - few skills are as transferable as mathematical ones. That's why a maths-related degree can open doors to a variety of careers, from journalism to design. We have a look at some examples from the Plus Magazine careers library.