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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 Jon Chapman - Waves and resonance: from musical instruments to vacuum cleaners, via metamaterials and invisibility cloaks Via guitars, clarinets and a musical saw to the noise reduction in a vaccum cleaner, Jon Chapman explains the role of waves in the sounds we hear and don't hear. Jon Chapman 02 Dec 2019
2 Oxford Mathematics London Public Lecture: Timothy Gowers - Productive generalization: one reason we will never run out of interesting mathematical questions In our Oxford Mathematics London Public Lecture Tim Gowers uses the principle of generalization to show how mathematics progresses in its relentless pursuit of problems. Tim Gowers, Hannah Fry 27 Nov 2019
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 - Ian Stewart Puzzling things happen in human perception when ambiguous or incomplete information is presented to the eyes. Ian Stewart 05 Jan 2017
5 How can we understand our complex economy? - J. Doyne Farmer 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 - Roger Penrose 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. 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 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
34 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
35 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
36 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
37 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
38 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
39 Oxford Mathematics Newcastle Public Lecture: Vicky Neale - in Maths Mathematics has no place for emotion, its practitioners are positively unemotional. True? Well, no. In fact 10 out of 10 untrue. Mathematics and mathematicians are also on the emotional rollercoaster. Vicky Neale is one of them. Vicky Neale 27 Nov 2019
40 Oxford Mathematics 2nd Year Student Lecture - Quantum Theory Our latest student lecture is the first in the Quantum Theory course for second year students. Fernando Alday reflects on the breakdown of the deterministic world and describes some of the experiments that defined the new Quantum Reality. Fernando Alday 02 Dec 2019
41 Oxford Mathematics 2nd Year Student Lecture - Differential Equations 1 We continue with our series of Student Lectures with this first lecture in the 2nd year Course on Differential Equations. Philip Maini 04 Nov 2019
42 Oxford Mathematics 1st year Student Lecture - Introductory Calculus In our latest student lecture we would like to give you a taste of the Oxford Mathematics Student experience as it begins in its very first week. Dan Ciubotaru 04 Nov 2019
43 Oxford Mathematics Public Lectures: David Sumpter - Soccermatics: could a Premier League team one day be managed by a mathematician? What do you need to win the Premier League? Money? Sure. Good players? Yup. A great manager? It helps. Mathematics? Really? 100%. David Sumpter 04 Nov 2019
44 Oxford Mathematics Open Days Part 3. Applied Mathematics at Oxford Our Open Days are intended to give an insight in to Maths at Oxford, whether you are a potential applicant or are just curious. Dominic Vella 10 Jul 2019
45 Oxford Mathematics Open Days Part 2. Pure Mathematics at Oxford In this talk Vicky Neale gives a glimpse of the undergraduate Pure Maths courses through the lens of elliptic curves. Vicky Neale 10 Jul 2019
46 Oxford Mathematics Open Days Part 1. Introduction to Mathematics In this talk, Admissions Guru James Munro explains how we teach, how you can apply and what your Oxford mathematical life might be like. James Munro 10 Jul 2019
47 Oxford Mathematics Public Lectures: John Bush - Walking on water: from biolocomotion to quantum foundations In this Public Lecture, which contains more technical content than our norm, John Bush presents seemingly disparate topics which are in fact united by a common theme and underlaid by a common mathematical framework. John Bush 28 Jun 2019
48 Oxford Mathematics Public Lectures: Marcus du Sautoy - The Creativity Code: how AI is learning to write, paint and think In this fascinating and provocative lecture, Marcus du Sautoy both tests our ability to distinguish between human and machine creativity, and suggests that our creativity may even benefit from that of the machines. Marcus du Sautoy 03 Jun 2019
49 Oxford Mathematics Public Lectures: Graham Farmelo - The Universe Speaks in Numbers An old-fashioned tale of tale of romance and estrangement, of hope and despair. Graham Farmelo 21 May 2019
50 Oxford Mathematics 1st Year Student Lecture: Analysis III - Integration The third in our popular series of filmed student lectures takes us to Integration. This is the opening lecture in the 1st Year course. Ben Green 09 May 2019
51 Oxford Mathematics Public Lectures: Marc Lackenby - Knotty Problems Knots are a familiar part of everyday life, for example tying your tie or doing up your shoe laces. They play a role in numerous physical and biological phenomena, such as the untangling of DNA when it replicates. Marc Lackenby 20 Mar 2019
52 Oxford Mathematics First Year Student Tutorial on Dynamics The Oxford Mathematics educational experience is a journey, a journey like any other educational experience. Ian Hewitt, Kate Adams, Farid Manzoor 22 Feb 2019
53 Oxford Mathematics 1st Year Undergraduate Lecture James Sparks - Dynamics For the first time ever, Oxford Mathematics has live streamed a student lecture. It took 800 years but now you can see what it is really like. We hope you find it familiar and intriguing and challenging. James Sparks 15 Feb 2019
54 James Maynard - Prime Time: How simple questions about prime numbers affect us all Prime Numbers are fascinating, crucial and ubiquitous. The trouble is, we don't know that much about them. James Maynard, one of the leading researchers in the field explains all (at least as far as he can). James Maynard 15 Feb 2019
55 Oxford Mathematics Public Lectures: Hooke Lecture - Michael Berry - Chasing the dragon: tidal bores in the UK and elsewhere In some of the world’s rivers, an incoming high tide can arrive as a smooth jump decorated by undulations, or as a breaking wave. The river reverses direction and flows upstream. Michael Berry 28 Jan 2019
56 Oxford Mathematics Student Lectures: An Introduction to Complex Numbers - Vicky Neale Much is written about life as an undergraduate at Oxford but what is it really like? Vicky Neale 22 Jan 2019
57 Oxford Mathematics Public Lectures: Marcus du Sautoy - The Num8er My5teries With topics ranging from prime numbers to the lottery, from lemmings to bending balls like Beckham, Professor Marcus du Sautoy provides an entertaining and, perhaps, unexpected approach to explain how mathematics can be used to predict the future. Marcus du Sautoy 14 Jan 2019
58 Can we build AI with Emotional Intelligence? The 2018 Annual Charles Simonyi Lecture Marcus du Sautoy and Professor Rosalind Picard for 2018's annual Simonyi Lecture: Can we build AI with Emotional Intelligence? Marcus du Sautoy, Rosalind Picard 09 Nov 2018
59 Roger Penrose in conversation with Hannah Fry - Oxford Mathematics Public Lectures In our Oxford Mathematics London Public Lecture Roger Penrose in conversation with Hannah Fry reveals his latest research, a veritable chain reaction of universes, which he says has been backed by evidence of events that took place before the Big Bang. Roger Penrose, Hannah Fry 06 Nov 2018
60 Oxford Mathematics and the Clay Mathematics Institute Public Lectures: Roger Penrose - Eschermatics In this lecture Roger Penrose uses M.C Escher's work to illustrate and explain important mathematical ideas and their connections to the visual arts. Roger Penrose 01 Oct 2018
61 John Ball in conversation with Alain Goriely John Ball is retiring as Sedleian Professor of Natural Philosophy, Oxford oldest Scientific Chair. In this interview he charts the journey of the Applied Mathematician.as the subject has developed over the last 50 years. John Ball, Alain Goriely 27 Jul 2018
62 Oxford Mathematics Public Lectures - Richard James - Atomistically inspired origami The World population is growing at about 80 million per year. As time goes by, there is necessarily less space per person. Perhaps this is why the scientific community seems to be obsessed with folding things. Richard James 06 Jul 2018
63 Oxford Mathematics Public Lectures - Numbers are Serious but they are also Fun - Michael Atiyah Archimedes, who famously jumped out of his bath shouting "Eureka", also 'invented' the number pi. Euler invented e and had fun with his formula e^(2 pi i) = 1. The world is full of important numbers waiting to be invented. Why not have a go? Michael Atiyah 23 May 2018
64 Oxford Mathematics Public Lectures - Can Mathematics Understand the Brain?' - Alain Goriely The human brain is the object of the ultimate intellectual egocentrism. It is also a source of endless scientific problems and an organ of such complexity that it is not clear that a mathematical approach is even possible, despite many attempts. Alain Goriely 16 Mar 2018
65 Oxford Mathematics Public Lectures - Euler’s pioneering equation: "the most beautiful theorem in mathematics" - Robin Wilson Euler’s equation, the ‘most beautiful equation in mathematics’, startlingly connects the five most important constants in the subject: 1, 0, π, e and i. Central to both mathematics and physics. So what is this equation – and why is it pioneering? Robin Wilson 07 Mar 2018
66 Oxford Mathematics Public Lectures - Scaling the Maths of Life - Michael Bonsall Michael Bonsall explores how we can use mathematics to link between scales of organisation in biology, delving in to developmental biology, ecology and neurosciences. Michael Bonsall 12 Feb 2018
67 Can Yule Solve My Problems? - Alex Bellos In our Oxford Mathematics Christmas Lecture Alex Bellos challenges you with some festive brainteasers as he tells the story of mathematical puzzles from the middle ages to modern day. Alex Bellos 13 Dec 2017
68 Oxford Mathematics London Public Lecture - Andrew Wiles In the first Oxford Mathematics London Public Lecture, in partnership with the Science Museum, world-renowned mathematician Andrew Wiles lectured on his current work around Elliptic Curves followed by conversation with Hannah Fry. Andrew Wiles, Martin Bridson, Mary Archer, Hannah Fry 06 Dec 2017
69 The Seduction of Curves: The Lines of Beauty That Connect Mathematics, Art and The Nude - Allan McRobie Allan McRobie explains how the key to understanding the language of curves is Rene Thom’s Catastrophe Theory, and how remarkably the best place to learn that language is perhaps in the life drawing class. Allan McRobie 16 Nov 2017
70 Maths v Disease - Julia Gog Can mathematics really help us in our fight against infectious disease? Join Julia Gog as we explore exciting current research areas where mathematics is being used to study pandemics, viruses and everything in between. Julia Gog 13 Nov 2017
71 Closing the Gap: the quest to understand prime numbers - Vicky Neale Prime numbers have intrigued, inspired and infuriated mathematicians for millennia and yet mathematicians' difficulty with answering simple questions about them reveals their depth and subtlety. Vicky Neale 24 Oct 2017
72 The Law of the Few - Sanjeev Goyal The study of networks offers a fruitful approach to understanding human behaviour. Sanjeev Goyal is one of its pioneers. In this lecture Sanjeev presents a puzzle: Sanjeev Goyal 04 Jul 2017
73 The Sound of Symmetry - Marcus du Sautoy Symmetry has played a role both for composers and in the creation of musical instruments. Marcus du Sautoy 24 May 2017
74 The Butterfly Effect - What Does it Really Signify? - Tim Palmer 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