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Department of Mathematical Sciences



BP Achievement Awards 2014-15

Congratulations to the Maths undergraduates who have been awarded BP prizes by the Faculty of Science this year.

BP Stem Scholar: Natasha Roberts (1H, G103)

STEM+ Achievement Awards: Thomas Lamport and Amy Stevenson (2H, G103)

(18 Feb 2015)

Equality in Higher Education: Now? Sometime? Never?

A presentation by Kate Horner, as a follow-up of our well-received staff development session on Equality, Diversity and Unconscious Bias in Michalemas 2014.

Title: "Equality in Higher Education: Now? Sometime? Never?"

Abstract: Following on from the talk about equality on 26th November 2014, this talk will form a continuation of that discussion focussing in particular on equality within the science subjects. We will explore and discuss the latest research into equality, as well as ideas for promoting fairness for everyone throughout the department.

Location: CM101

Time: 1:00pm

(29 Jan 2015)

LMS Grace Chisholm Young Fellowship in Mathematics awarded to Emilie Dufresne

The Department is delighted to welcome Emilie Dufresne as LMS Grace Chisholm Young Fellow in Mathematics from 1st February 2015. Emilie is a young mathematician whose field of research is Invariant Theory, at the interface between commutative algebra and algebraic geometry. Her work also puts into play Combinatorics and Homological Algebra.

Grace Chisholm Young Fellowships are awarded by the London Mathematical Society and give an endorsement of the holder's status as a mathematician, so that a break in formal employment should not prevent them from resuming a career as a mathematician at a later stage.

Emilie has chosen to host her Fellowship in our Department. We congratulate her for this accolade and wish her a very successful year as Grace Chisholm Young Fellow.

(29 Jan 2015)

Forecaster's predictive analytics engine developed by David Wooff and his team

Professor David Wooff lead a team of PhD statisticians in developing the “forecaster’s predictive analytics engine”, which shows retailers where and how to spend online advertising budgets to deliver the greatest profit. Read more in the Retail Times.

(26 Jan 2015)

PhD student Thomai Tsiftsi wins SET for Britain competition

Thomai Tsiftsi, one of our fourth year PhD students in Statistics, has won the SET for Britain competition where researchers present their work to the British Parliament. It is a high profile competition that attracts many applications each year. Thomai is one of 30 chosen early career researchers across the country to present their work in the House of Commons on 9 March 2015. Congratulations to Thomai, who will be an excellent ambassador of our Department at the event!

(21 Jan 2015)

Jens Funke and the 150 years of the London Mathematical Society

Cambridge Journals have compiled a selection of popular articles featured in Compositio Mathematica, LMS Journal of Computation and Mathematics and Mathematika to celebrate 150 years of the London Mathematical Society. Congratulations to our colleague, the number theorist Jens Funke, whose article on Heegner Divisors and Nonholomorphic Modular Forms (Compositio Mathematica / Volume 133 / Issue 03 / September 2002, pp 289- 321) is one of fifteen articles selected for the occasion. Visit the LMS website for more detail on the 150 years planned events.

(15 Jan 2015)

Trevelyan teams up to offer Scholarship

The Department is delighted to report that a one-year scholarship will be offered to a deserving African student, in partnership with Trevelyan College and with the support of our Alumni Fund. The scholarship covers full international fees, accommodation in Trevelyan College and full board during term time. The selected student will study for an MSc in Mathematical Sciences or an MSc in Particles, Strings and Cosmology.

Further details here.

(8 Dec 2014)

Equality, Diversity & Unconscious Bias Session

Michelle Taylor, who is Durham University's Equality & Diversity Officer/Trainer delivered a one-hour session on the thought-provoking topic of unconscious bias within the broader framework of Equality and Diversity. This staff development session on Wednesday 26 November 2014 was well-received by the 52 participants, a mix of academic and administrative staff as well as postgraduate students from our department.

Presentation slides.

(26 Nov 2014)

HoD to join the LMS Women in Mathematics Committee

The LMS Council has recently approved the nomination of Anne Taormina as member of the LMS Women in Mathematics Committee. This is excellent news for the Department, as this will reinforce our links with the LMS and provide a new channel of communication between Durham and the UK Mathematics community that should facilitate the dissemination of good practice in the context of the Athena Swan programme.

(25 Nov 2014)

Maths BP summer intern creates the buzz at Durham Risk Day

Edward Williams, a 4th year MMath undergraduate, researched the implications of variable renewable energy on long-term energy security, during a summer internship that was funded by BP and the Durham Energy Institute. Edward is depicted here presenting the results of his research to a wide community of national and international researchers at the Durham Risk Day 2014. His work has been submitted to the 2015 IEEE Power & Energy Society General Meeting which will be held in Denver, USA, in the summer of 2015. A copy of the submitted article can be accessed here.

(17 Nov 2014)

Maths Hub A-level Revision Session

We will be welcoming 176 sixth-form students from schools across the North East to an A'Level Revision session on the afternoon of Wednesday 3rd December.
It will be hosted by our 3rd Year undergraduate students who take the Maths Teaching module and will focus on the Core 1 and Core 3 examination papers. This is an excellent opportunity for our students to experience A'level teaching in context, and also a valuable experience for the school students to visit a University in working session.
The event is organised in collaboration with our local Maths Hub at Carmel College, Darlington.

(11 Nov 2014)

Only Connect: Durham Maths Graduate Captains Team in BBC2 Quiz

Only Connect

Joanna Murray, (MMath, graduated 2007), captained her team, “the Nordiphiles” in programme 8 of series 10 of the popular BBC2 Quiz “Only Connect” hosted by Victoria Coren Mitchell. After trailing “the Nightwatchmen” her team stormed to victory in the final, missing vowels, round, winning with 28 points to 26 which takes them through to the next stage. See BBC iplayer.

(20 Oct 2014)

The Institute of Physics highlights research done in our Department

The Institute of Physics (IOP) has published its latest booklet in a series that highlights advances and achievements in areas of UK physics research.
Mathematical physics: What is it and why do we need it?, presents six examples, which were put together with the guidance of members of the IOP’s Theoretical and Mathematical Physics Group, of recent successes in mathematical physics and their potential impacts, highlighting the UK’s role as a world leader in this research area. Of the six case study highlights in this booklet, two are based on research by people in the maths department:

From gravity to fluids and back, describes the work of Veronika Hubeny and Mukund Rangamani, while
Skyrmions, describes the work of Paul Sutcliffe.
A PDF of the booklet can be downloaded from the IOP’s website here. Hard copies are available on request.

(11 Oct 2014)

Collingwood Lecture 2013 a big hit

Peter Higgs

Professor Peter Higgs, Nobel Prize in Physics 2013, came to Durham University on Tuesday 5th November to deliver the Collingwood Lecture 2013, only weeks after the announcement of his Nobel Prize. This was THE event of the Michaelmas term and more than 500 people attended the event. The largest lecture theatre on the Science site was bursting at its seams, and the lecture was relayed using audio-visual equipment. In the days preceding the event, there was a tangible sense of excitement across the campus and the atmosphere at the lecture was electric.

The lecture, entitled `The electroweak symmetry breaking and the Higgs boson', was delivered in two parts. The first was an excellent introduction to the Higgs mechanism that gives mass to elementary particles given by Professor Steve Abel from Durham. It put in context Peter Higgs's own account of the chronology of scientific ideas in the early sixties that culminated in 1964 with publications by two Belgian physicists, Professors Robert Brout and Francois Englert, and Peter's own work, on the symmetry breaking mechanism and the prediction of a scalar particle, now known as the Higgs boson. The discovery at CERN in 2012 of a particle `consistent with the Higgs boson of the Standard Model' led to the Nobel Prize in Physics 2013 being shared between Francois Englert and Peter Higgs, Robert Brout having passed away in 2011.
Peter also reminded the audience of the important subsequent results obtained by Professor Tom Kibble of Imperial College London, and Professors Gerald Guralnik and Carl Hagen, which are highly relevant in the explanation of the origin of mass.

The audience, ranging from the Vice Chancellor to undergraduates to local sixth formers and members of the general public alike, was captivated by the talks, which offered a glimpse of the dynamics of theoretical physics research processes, and of the awesome experimental effort and ingenuity deployed to confirm theoretical predictions. The younger students in particular, mostly taking A-level Mathematics, Further Mathematics and/or Physics responded enthusiastically to the lectures and were inspired by the energy of the event and, of course, by meeting one of the more unlikely heroes of contemporary culture.

The Collingwood Lecture is an annual event organised by the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Durham. It is organised in memory of Sir Edward Collingwood F.R.S., a mathematician probably known best for his work on the theory of Cluster Sets. He was Chairman of the Council of Durham University from 1955 to his death in 1970. He was knighted in 1962, elected to the Royal Society in 1965 and became President of the London Mathematical Society in 1969. The lectures are given by mathematicians of international renown and are suitable for a general audience.

Some memorable moments of the day have been captured on camera, and we invite you to visit our photo gallery.

(18 Nov 2013)

Durham Maths and the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences

Professor Patrick Dorey is our principal link with the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS). He regularly travels to South Africa and Ghana to deliver basic short courses to enthusiastic and talented students. You can see him in action here, when he demonstrates solitons with the help of some students at Muizenberg, near Cape Town. The AIMS-Ghana Institute is located in the historically significant Central region of Ghana, specifically Biriwa, a small coastal town about 130 km west of Accra, the capital city of Ghana. This is an area of outstanding natural beauty, and AIMS-Ghana offers an intensive one-year taught Masters degree in Mathematical Sciences accredited by the Universities of Ghana and Cape Coast and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. There is always scope for a soccer match at the end of a study day.

(30 May 2013)