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The Secrets of Mathematics

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.

# Episode Title Description People Date
1 The Sound of Symmetry Symmetry has played a role both for composers and in the creation of musical instruments. Marcus shows how composers have used this symmetry and demonstrates how Ernst Chladni revealed extraordinary symmetrical shapes in the vibrations of a metal Plate. Marcus du Sautoy 24 May 2017
2 The Butterfly Effect - What Does it Really Signify? Tim Palmer discusses Ed Lorenz the man and his work, and compares and contrasts the meaning of the “Butterfly Effect" as most people understand it today, and as Lorenz himself intended it to mean. Tim Palmer 18 May 2017
3 Statistics: Why the Truth Matters Tim Harford Tim Harford, Financial Times columnist and presenter of Radio 4's "More or Less", argues that politicians, businesses and even charities have been poisoning the value of statistics and data. Tim Harford 14 Feb 2017
4 Creative Commons The Mathematics of Visual Illusions Puzzling things happen in human perception when ambiguous or incomplete information is presented to the eyes. In this lecture Ian Stewart demonstrates how these phenomena provide clues about the workings of the visual system. Ian Stewart 05 Jan 2017
5 How can we understand our complex economy? We are getting better at predicting things about our environment - the impact of climate change for example. But what about predicting our collective effect on ourselves? J Doyne Farmer 10 Nov 2016
6 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. Simon Baron-Cohen, Marcus du Sautoy 31 Oct 2016
7 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. Nigel Hitching, Martin Bridson 19 Oct 2016
8 Fashion, Faith, and Fantasy in the New Physics of the Universe 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? Roger Penrose 19 Oct 2016
9 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, Ben Green 17 Sep 2016
10 Modelling genes: the backwards and forwards of mathematical population genetics In this lecture Professor Alison Etheridge explores some of the simple mathematical caricatures that underpin our understanding of modern genetic data. Alison Etheridge 06 Jul 2016
11 The Prime Number Theorem Oxford Students discuss the Prime Number Theorem. Aled Walker, Simon Myerson, Sofia Lindqvist, Jamie Beacom 15 Jun 2016
12 What We Cannot Know 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? Marcus du Sautoy 16 May 2016
13 Creative Commons The Travelling Santa Problem and Other Seasonal Challenges 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. Marcus du Sautoy 18 Dec 2015
14 Creative Commons Symmetry, Spaces and Undecidability 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. Martin Bridson 07 Dec 2015
15 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 Melissa Franklin, Marcus du Sautoy 16 Nov 2015
16 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? Roger Penrose, Jon Chapman, Alain Goriely, Clem Hitchcock 28 Oct 2015
17 The Gömböc, the Turtle and the Evolution of Shape Gábor 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. Gábor Domokos 01 Jul 2015
18 Creative Commons Birth of an Idea: A Mathematical Adventure What goes on inside the mind of a mathematician? Where does inspiration come from? Cédric Villani, winner of the most prestigious prize in mathematics, the Fields Medal, explains the process. Inaugural Titchmarsh Lecture 2015. Cedric Villani 12 Mar 2015
19 Why climate change action is difficult and how we can make a difference 2014 Charles Simonyi Lecture with David MacKay. David discusses how the laws of physics constrain our energy options, and describes what happened when his reflections on energy arithmetic propelled him into a senior civil service role. David MacKay 04 Dec 2014
20 Forbidden Crystal Symmetry: Mathematics and architecture World-renowned mathematician Sir Roger Penrose, Oxford University, describes how crystalline symmetries are necessarily 2-fold, 3-fold, 4-fold, or 6-fold. Roger Penrose 04 Dec 2014
21 What Maths Really Does: From modelling the brain to modelling the climate How has mathematics emerged over recent decades as the engine behind 21st century science? Alain Goriely looks at this question and more. Alain Goriely 04 Dec 2014
22 The History of Mathematics in 300 Stamps The entire history of mathematics in one hour, as illustrated by around 300 postage stamps featuring mathematics and mathematicians from across the world. Robin Wilson 03 Dec 2014
23 Creative Commons Big Data's Big Deal 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. Viktor Mayer-Schonberger 20 Nov 2014
24 Love and Math A public lecture given by Edward Frenkel, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley, talking around his best-selling book "Love and Math" followed by a conversation with Marcus du Sautoy and Q&A." Edward Frenkel, Marcus du Sautoy 12 Jul 2014
25 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. Roger Penrose, Andrew Hodges 18 Jun 2014
26 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. Roger Penrose, Andrew Hodges 18 Jun 2014
27 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. Paul, Tod, Michael Atiyah 12 May 2014
28 Creative Commons James D Murray, Reflections of a life in Academia, in conversation with Phillip Maini Jim Murray is one of the leading mathematical biologists of our times. In this wide-ranging interview Jim talks about his career, the range of his work, his successes and failures and his hopes and expectations for the future of mathematical biology. James D Murray, Phillip Maini 02 Apr 2014
29 Why there are no three-headed monsters, resolving some problems with brain tumours, divorce prediction and how to save marriages Professor James D Murray, Professor Emeritus of Mathematical Biology, University of Oxford & Senior Scholar, Applied and Computational Mathematics, Princeton University, gives the annual Hooke Lecture. James D Murray 21 Mar 2014
30 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. Bryce McLeod, John Ball 11 Mar 2014
31 Partial Differential Equations: Origins, Developments and Roles in the Changing World Professor Gui-Qiang G. Chen presents in his inaugural lecture several examples to illustrate the origins, developments, and roles of partial differential equations in our changing world. Gui-Qiang George Chen 15 Jan 2014
32 Prime Numbers Dr Richard Earl of the Mathematical Institute, Oxford presents a talk about prime numbers. What they are and their role in internet security. Richard Earl 15 Jan 2014
33 Can robots be made creative enough to invent their own language? Luc Steels delivers the 2012 Simonyi lecture and asks can machines be creative enough to invent their own language? Luc Steels, Marcus du Sautoy 15 Jan 2014
34 Computation and the Future of Mathematics Stephen Wolfram, creator of Mathematica and Wolfram Alpha, gives a talk about the future of mathematics and computation. Stephen Wolfram 15 Jan 2014
35 The Irrational, the chaotic and incomplete: the mathematical limits of knowledge Professor Marcus du Sautoy (New College), Charles Simonyi Chair in the Public Understanding of Science, author and broadcaster gives a talk about how much we can understand of the world through maths Marcus du Sautoy 15 Jan 2014
36 The Secret Mathematicians: the connections between maths and the arts Professor Marcus du Sautoy (New College), Charles Simonyi Chair in the Public Understanding of Science, author and broadcaster gives a talk about the connections beween art and mathematics Marcus du Sautoy 15 Jan 2014
37 Symmetry: a talk based on his second book, 'Finding Moonshine' Professor Marcus du Sautoy (New College), Charles Simonyi Chair in the Public Understanding of Science, author and broadcaster gives a talk about symmetry and how the rules of symmetry influences our lives and the choices we make. Marcus du Sautoy 14 Jan 2014
38 The Music of the Primes: a talk about the Riemann Hypothesis and primes Professor Marcus du Sautoy (New College), Charles Simonyi Chair in the Public Understanding of Science, author and broadcaster gives a talk on 5th September 2013. Marcus du Sautoy 14 Jan 2014
39 Maths in Music: The Secret Mathematicians 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. Marcus du Sautoy 14 Jan 2014