East Midlands Branch events 2014-15

East Midlands Branch events 2014-15


Tuesday 7 October 2014. Mass Customization or Mass Confusion? Giving the customer the car they want, a talk by: Bart MacCarthy (Nottingham University Business School) starting at 7.30pm. Room A17, Mathematical Sciences Building, University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham, NG7 2RD.

Abstract:  Mass Customization has been the ‘holy grail’ for automotive producers. Essentially it seeks to satisfy demand from individual customers for customized vehicles quickly whilst maintaining the advantages of mass production – high volumes, low costs and consistent quality. The advantages for the producer include increases in customer satisfaction. For the volume automotive producer the situation is further complicated by the very high number of potential vehicle configurations offered for any model. The talk will illustrate the modelling approaches we have used with Ford of Europe to understand the behaviour and performance of such systems in satisfying demand. Modelling approaches include simple simulations, large scale discrete event simulations that seek to mimic the real system, as well as analytical approaches using Markov models. The latter result in surprisingly simple formulae to predict approximate fulfilment performance.

Bart is Professor of Operations Management at Nottingham University Business School and a FIMA. His research spans the analysis, modelling and management of operational systems in a wide range of sectors. He has researched and consulted with companies in the automotive, aerospace, engineering, textiles and clothing, consumer products, food and logistics sectors. He has led major research projects on effective decision support in planning and scheduling, Mass Customization, supply chain management and order fulfilment and is currently researching models for resilience and robustness of international supply networks.

Thursday 23 October 2014. Linear and other patterns in Maths, Art and Architecture A talk by: Hugh Williams (formerly of Nottingham Trent University) starting at 7.30pm. CELS Building,  Lecture Theatre 015, Nottingham Trent University, Clifton Campus, Clifton Lane, Nottingham, NG11 8NS.

Abstract:  Humankind has been using linear patterns for decoration since before 20,000 BC but only in the 19th Century did mathematicians start classifying them. Examples of the seven types of linear patterns are given below and this talk will look at their classification and identification and related issues in other slightly more complex patterns. Their occurrence in various cultures, in art and architecture, will be illustrated from the lecturer’s photos. Having been out of fashion in the West they have suddenly come back into fashion on dresses and other garments. If you have a garment with these types of patterns on why not wear it or bring it along and we will classify them!

Tuesday 18 November 2014. Pythagoras? I’m sorry, but you have been lied to A talk given by: Piers Bursill-Hall (Univ of Cambridge) starting at 7.30pm. Lecture Theatre B13, Physics and Astronomy Building University of Nottingham University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD.

Abstract:  The modern story of early Greek mathematics simply does not include Pythagoras, or give much importance at all to the Pythagoreans. There is effectively no evidence for the existence of Pythagoras, he did not (could not have) proved the theorem, and the Pythagoreans (or any Greeks) did not discover irrational numbers, let alone the irrationality of the square root of 2. They did not, and could not, have made such a discovery. And the cult of Pythagoreans, such as they were there in the 5th century BC, were not engaged in interesting mathematics; they struggled late in the 5th century to get on the rationalist bandwagon. Sorry …

Piers Bursill-Hall was educated in France, America, Canada, and England and has spent most of his academic life in the Department of Pure Mathematics at Cambridge. He has taught courses in history of mathematics at Cambridge and elsewhere. His research and teaching has concentrated on history of Ancient, Renaissance, and Enlightenment science, mathematics and mathematical arts, the history of medicine, and more recently on early Islamic mathematics and science.

Wednesday 3 December 2014. The Mathematics of Shapes – how ideas change A talk by: Malcolm Sabin (Computing Laboratory, University of Cambridge) starting at 7:00pm. Lecture Theatre 2, Ken Edwards Building, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester, LE1 7RH.

Abstract:  In order to build anything big, people have always needed to communicate the shapes of the things they were building. Nowadays, with computer controlled manufacturing machinery (CNC and layer manufacture) and computer based analysis (CFD for fluid flow, FE for strength and stiffness, etc.) we also need to communicate with software in those computers. This has to be mathematics based, and the talk will cover some of the approaches which have been used. The amount of computing power available has been an important driver in the choice of mathematics used, and so there is a strong sense of progression from one method to another.

Wednesday 28 January 2015. The Aeroacoustics of the Owl A talk by Nigel Peake (DAMTP, University of Cambridge) starting at 7:30pm.  Lecture Theatre 1, Ken Edwards Building, University of Leicester.

Abstract:  Many species of owl can hunt in acoustic stealth. The question of precisely how the owl actually manages to fly so quietly has remained open, but it has long been appreciated that owls which need to hunt silently possess two unique features, which are not found on any other bird, and indeed are not even found on owls which do not need to hunt silently (e.g small owls which feed on insects, or Fish Owls). First, the microstructure of the feathers on the upper wing surface is exceedingly complex, with an array of hairs and barbs which form a thick canopy just above the nominal wing surface. Second, the wing trailing edge possesses a small flexible and porous fringe which does not seem to have an obvious aerodynamic function.
The research I am going to describe in this talk is part of an ongoing theoretical (at Cambridge, Lehigh University and Florida Atlantic University) and experimental (at Virginia Tech.) program, with the aims of first attempting to understand how the two unique owl features described above actually work to control the noise, and then second of designing an owl-inspired treatment which can be used to significantly reduce aerodynamic noise generation in an engineering context. The application we have in mind initially is to noise generation by onshore wind turbines, but there are many other contexts in which one wishes to reduce flow-structure noise where these ideas may be useful.

In this talk I will give a flavour of the mathematical analysis, the experiments and the engineering applications.

Wednesday 4 March 2015. The potential and challenges for mathematics teaching & learning in the digital age A talk by Professor Dame Celia Hoyles (University of London, IMA President) starting at 7:30pm.  Room LDS 0.17, Design School, Loughborough University.

Abstract:  There is widespread acceptance that mathematics is important, even vital, for an individual and for society. Those who disagree tend to argue
that the subject is boring and irrelevant. It is therefore crucial that mathematics teaching strives to engage all learners at all levels, but without sacrificing the rigour of the subject. In this talk, I will argue that one way to achieve both rigour and broader access to mathematics lies with using appropriately
designed digital technology. I will illustrate my argument with examples from research and practice. Finally I will point to ways the IMA might further contribute to this agenda.

Tuesday 24 March 2015. Symmetry in Mathematics and Art A talk by Sarah Hart (Birkbeck College, University of London) starting at 7:30pm.  Room A17, Mathematical Sciences Building, University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham, NG7 2RD.

Abstract:  In art, design and architecture, objects that we find beautiful are often highly symmetrical. In this talk we will look at how mathematicians study symmetry, and see examples of the resulting interplay between mathematics and art.

Wednesday 13 May 2015. Information Theory A talk by: Katie Steckles (Think Maths) starting at 7:30pm. Main Building, University of Derby, Kedleston Road, DE22 1GB.

Abstract:  In this modern age, everyone is surrounded by machines which transmit and process data at huge speeds. But did you know that much of the mathematical reasoning behind the way data is stored, compressed and communicated was worked out well before our modern age of computers? Claude Shannon’s 1948 paper laid the groundwork for much of modern technology and the way it processes data. We’ll look at Shannon’s discoveries as well as discovering ways in which data is handled on today’s computer systems.

Image credit: IMG_0732 by Graziela Vargas / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

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