Project Details


Mathematics is receiving an ever increasing public profile. From academics' lectures and school masterclasses to mathematical features in newspapers and television documentaries, popular books - even mathematicians modelling designer clothes in men's magazines - there has never been more mathematics on display. Mathematics holds an intrinsic fascination for many people, whether they feel they can understand it or whether they feel they are left baffled. However, mathematics is a subject which underpins most of what we take for granted in modern society. This ubiquity, when taken with the way that mathematics naturally becomes incorporated into the disciplines that it informs, means that the fundamental role of mathematics is still under-appreciated. As a consequence, mathematics lacks political punch, is under-funded and generally undervalued by society. The need for professional engagement between mathematicians and the public is therefore crucially important. Despite this, however, the community as a whole has been rather poor at this task, leaving this essential role to just a few skilled individuals. We must tackle this problem in order to help attract future mathematicians to meet the growing demands of industry, commerce and the public sector, and especially to fill the massive shortfall of those going on to teach in schools and FE colleges. Funding is requested for a two-day conference, which aims to bring together mathematicians already active in public engagement (in academe; math promoters; teachers; individuals working in radio, television, newspapers and magazines; and other media) with next generation mathematicians who want to be empowered to be the ambassadors for change. Leading mathematics communicators will speak and then offer interactive workshops for delegates. Topics will include: - Can a respectable professional mathematician engage with the public? - Working with the press and media - Writing a popular maths book - How much maths is too much? - Routes to funding for public engagement - A talent show: 'e to the x factor'.The City of Manchester will provide a perfect venue for a number of street maths events which will be set up in a range of locations around the town. These will link to the conference, helping both to publicise it and also to give additional hands-on examples of maths communication to the participants. The 'Maths in the Street' events will be coordinated by members of the highly experienced organising committee, including Steve Humble, aka Dr Maths of the Northern Echo and Chris Budd who have run many such events around the world, and they will be staffed by local volunteers, delegates and/or students. It is anticipated that this element will encourage BBC Manchester to cover the two-day event, to interview a number of the contributors, and perhaps even to join the panel discussion.
Effective start/end date1/03/1031/10/10

Collaborative partners


  • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council


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