*A round up of some of the highlights from the Naked Mathematician Tom Crawford from the month of October…*

October has been a busy month for the Naked Mathematician as he embarks on a new role as a tutor at the University of Oxford. Fortunately, he has still found the time to answer your maths questions with the latest instalments including: What is the Gamma Function? And how many ping pong balls would it take to raise the Titanic from the ocean floor?

The Gamma Function appears regularly in probability and statistics, but what actually is it? And what does its graph look like? Tom introduces the definition of the function in terms of a factorial and an integral, before revealing some of its most interesting properties…

*Click here to view the embedded video.*

Suppose the Titanic was still in one piece at the bottom of the ocean – how would you go about raising it from the depths? One theory put forward in the 1970’s was to use ping pong balls to act as a source of buoyancy, which when attached to the ship would lift it back up to the surface. This of course wouldn’t actually work as the ping pong balls would be crushed by the immense pressure deep underwater, but let’s imagine for a second it were possible… how many ping pong balls would we need?

*Click here to view the embedded video.*

The latest episode in the Equations Stripped series looks at the Wave Equation. We live in a world of waves: we have light waves allowing us to see, sound waves allowing us to hear, waves travelling through the Earth in the form of earthquakes and waves on the water for surfers to enjoy amongst many other examples. The Wave Equation models allows us to model all of these phenomena which means its a pretty big deal in the world of maths and physics…

*Click here to view the embedded video.*

You can find all of the material by the Naked Mathematician Tom Crawford on his website tomrocksmaths.com. You can also follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram @tomrocksmaths.

]]>We publish a call for contributions in the field of “Mathematics & Art” for Aplimat Conference, sent by two members of the Scientific Board of the conference.

It is now possible to send one or more contributions in the field of “Mathematics & Art” for Aplimat Conference*, which will be held in Bratislava from February 6th to February 8th 2018. The session Mathematics and Art is dedicated to the memory of its founder **Mauro Francaviglia**. In the spirit of Mauro’s intent, we look forward to fertile interactions, and intend “Art” visual or performing , in its broadest sense. We also especially welcome papers about applications in Cultural Heritage, a field today scattered among very different sources. Broader applications such as in Architecture and design, or Science and Art, are always welcome. Along the years we have had the pleasure to host some artists to share with us their use of mathematics or science as an inspiration or as a method. The proceedings of the Conference are indexed Scopus, published in electronic form and allow self-archiving. **

I hope you are interested in this cross-fertilization and that you will be able to plan participating. If so, please:

– register your name and abstract at the Conference page:

http://evlm.stuba.sk/APLIMAT/indexe.htm

-and, please also reply to this message as soon as possible indicating your interest to participate in the Conference and/or submit a paper.

Marcella Giulia Lorenzi, PhD

Università della Calabria

Campus di Arcavacata

87036 Rende (CS) – Italy

marcella.lorenzi@unical.it

Laura Tedeschini Lalli

Professor of mathematical physics

www.formulas.it

Università Roma Tre

Dipartimento di Architettura

via Madonna dei Monti 40

00184 Rome Italy

——————————————————————————————————–

* APLIMAT CONFERENCE

As usual the Conference is a fully self-supported one. This means that the Organizers do not provide any financial support for participants, including organizers and lecturers with an invited talk for the Session. (Bratislava is not expensive. There are cheap accommodations and meals are provided in the cafeteria of the Campus.). Please notice that there are deadlines for (pre)-registration (Dec. 20) and for submission of papers (Nov. 25) which are in any case very near. More info at: http://evlm.stuba.sk/APLIMAT/indexe.htm

**APLIMAT 2018**

**17 ^{th} Conference on Applied Mathematics**

Institute of Mathematics and Physics

Faculty of Mechanical Engineering,

Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava

Nám. slobody 17, 812 31 Bratislava, SLOVAKIA

—————————————–

** Papers submitted no later than December 5, 2017 will be reviewed and after successful review process and delivery of final versions not later than January 10, 2018, they will be included in the Aplimat 2018 Proceedings published in electronic form on CD media. Proceedings of Aplimat conference are registered in SCOPUS database. Proceedings request an even number of pages and contributions not exceeding 8 pages (including pictures).

In 2013, Mathematics of Planet Earth (MPE) together with UNESCO and IMAGINARY started an interactive mathematics exhibition, which was created by the community via an international competition. From 2016 to 2017, a second competition was staged.

Mathematics of Planet Earth, UNESCO, the International Mathematical Union (IMU), the International Commission on Mathematical Instruction (ICMI), and IMAGINARY are announcing the winners of the second international competition for exhibition modules for the Open Source Exhibition Mathematics of Planet Earth (MPE). This project aims to showcase ways in which the mathematical sciences are useful for understanding our planet and addressing the challenges of sustainable development and global changes.

An international jury evaluated the 28 submissions from 16 countries and will award a total of US-$ 8 000 of prize money to the three winners:

1. “Simulating the melting of ice caps”

Authors: Maëlle Nodet (University Grenoble 1), Jocelyne Erhel (Inria)

Country: France

Category: Software

2. “Powergrid Dynamics Simulation”

Authors: Frank Hellmann and Paul Schultz (Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research)

Country: Germany

Category: Software

3. “EUHFORIA: modeling the dangers of the sun”

Author: Christine Verbeke (KU Leuven)

Country: Belgium

Category: Film

There is no winner of the special prize for an African module yet. The jury decided that the competition remains open until August 31, 2018.

Additionally, some of the submitted modules were chosen by the jury for an honourable mention. They will be part of the official MPE exhibition as well. This special MPE award goes to:

Atractor for the module The mathematics of tides

Alessandro Cattaneo, Maria Cristina Cattoni, Filippo Francesco Favale and RiccardoMoschettifor the module Fly faster? Fly shorter!

CENTRE•SCIENCES for the module A new upgrade for the travelling hands’ on exhibition in 2017

Daniele Corallo, Johannes Ernesti, Kevin Ganster, Christian Rheinbay, and Christian Wieners for the module PyFWI – An interactive Software for the Simulation of Seismic Waves

José Daniel Galaz Mora for the module TsunamiLab

Louise Kerbiriou and Alison Allison for the module Dendritis

David Niyukuri for the module Origin of life and evolution: phylogenetic tree

Martin Treiber and Arne Kesting for the module Interactive Traffic Simulation

All submitted modules are part of the IMAGINARY platform and will be offered under the chosen license to be used in upcoming IMAGINARY exhibitions.

The competition is part of the international *Mathematics of Planet Earth* initiative (MPE), a project devised by an international community of mathematicians and scientists. The Open Source MPE Exhibition was originally initiated by the community through the first international competition in 2013 and has been constantly growing since. The exhibition consists of interactive and physical modules, films and images. The modules can be reproduced and adapted by science museums and schools around the world.

Read the press release: English Version / French Version

]]>*Plus http://plus.maths.org is a free online magazine about mathematics aimed at a general audience. It is part of the Millennium Mathematics Project, based at the University of Cambridge and our aim is to open a door onto the world of maths for everyone. We run articles, videos and podcasts on all aspect of mathematics, from pure maths and theoretical physics to mathematical aspects of art, medicine, cosmology, sport and more. Plus has a news section, covering news from the world of maths as well as the maths behind the mainstream news, reviews of books, plays and films, as well as puzzles for you to sharpen your wits.*

**When Black Holes meet**

1.3 billion years ago, in a galaxy far, far away, two black holes circled each other. Each black hole was around 30 times the mass of the Sun, but less than 300 kilometres wide. They spiralled around each other at about half the speed of light, until finally they merged in a collision that involved more power than 50 times the total power output of all the stars in the Universe. The catastrophic event caused gravitational waves – ripples in the fabric of spacetime – that rang out at the speed of light across the Universe.

50,000 years ago, when the Neanderthals were walking the Earth, these gravitational waves reached the edge of our galaxy. Two years ago, on 14 September 2015, they emerged at the two LIGO detectors in Louisiana and Washington, USA, and provided our first observation of gravitational waves, our first direct evidence for black holes, and the beginning of a whole new era of astronomy. And this month the detection earned Rainer Weiss, Barry C. Barish and Kip S. Thorne the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics.

A Nobel Prize in physics is always also a Nobel Prize for mathematics, at least in part, and this year’s prize is no exception. Mathematical considerations led Albert Einstein to predict, much to his horror, the existence of black holes, and also the existence of gravitational waves, both theoretical consequences of his general theory of relativity. This was over 100 years ago. Efforts to observe gravitational waves (which Einstein thought would be too weak to ever be seen by humans) began in 1985, under the direction of Thorne, Weiss, and Ron Drever. Detecting those faint signals from outer space not only required a major technological triumph, but also put Einstein’s equations to serious use in high-powered computer simulations which told physicists what they could expect to see. Once signals come in, sophisticated statistical analyses are essential in telling the real thing from all the noise.

When the discovery came on 14 September 2015 it took everybody by surprise. The two LIGO sites at Washington and Louisiana were still preparing for their first search for gravitational waves with the new generation Advanced LIGO detectors, scheduled to begin just three days later. As the detectors were being tuned up, a gravitational wave signal hit, first at Louisiana and, seven milliseconds later, at Washington. The two waveforms exactly matched. The signal was so strong it could even be seen by eye.

“We were so surprised; we were not expecting it at all,” says Gabriela González, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Louisiana State University and former Spokesperson of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration. Although the theory predicted that pairs of black holes could produce strong gravitational waves in their collisions, it wasn’t known if such pairs really existed. And if they did exist, how many of them there were. So the LIGO detectors had intended to instead listen for collisions of neutron stars that produce weaker signals. “We were not expecting to see any signal, and just before we started taking data 24 hours a day this huge signal came to us — huge to us, of course it was tiny, but compared to our noise it was huge — and we just didn’t believe it. We thought it was a dream, we thought it was a test. It took us at least a day to be convinced!”

Since the award of the Nobel Prize this month, LIGO physicists have been blessed with another success. They have detected gravitational waves emitted by the collision of two neutron stars, which they had been very keen to observe. “A merger of neutron stars will also produce electromagnetic waves; X-rays and gamma rays that can be seen by telescopes” says Gonzales. “The different signals are produced by different features of the system: the gravitational waves by the motion of the masses, the electromagnetic waves by electrons. [By observing them both] you can tell what everything [about the neutron stars] is doing.”

Physicists have high hopes of what gravitational waves may tell us in the future. They should be able to confirm or refute mathematical conjectures about the nature of black holes, such as Stephen Hawking’s famous no hair theorem. They may even provide glimpses of the birth of the Universe and help us along with what’s perhaps the most mathematical goal of theoretical physics: to formulate the theory describing the fundamental forces of nature in a single mathematical framework.

But what would excite physicists most would be the discovery of something completely unexpected — whether it involves black holes, the Big Bang, or something entirely new. Thorne believes that gravitational waves will deliver. “At some point there will be some giant surprises,” he says. “But I can’t tell you when and I can’t tell you what.”

To find out more about gravitational waves and their detection, see our articles and videos based on a lecture by Kip Thorne and an interview with Gabriela González (here in the cover image).

*Click here to view the embedded video.*

**Ordering history in computer science**

Albert Einstein brings us to another topic we recently explored in Plus: how to order events in computer science.

I turn on my laptop. I open the file for this article. I start typing: the letters appearing with each keystroke, building to words, sentences and paragraphs. I save the file. I scroll back to reread. I move the cursor to edit the text: deleting some, moving some, typing more. I save the file, I scroll back to reread, I edit some more, until I feel this article is done.

That’s my view of the events taking place on my computer as I write this article. I’m aware that behind each of these events complex operations are occurring: in the text-editing software, the computer’s operating system, the machine code that translates between software and hardware. And underlying it all, this text ultimately exists as strings of 0s and 1s, manipulated and stored as strings of binary digits, physically encoded into the computer’s circuitry.

Computers are an interface between mathematical theory and physical reality; they operate both on a theoretical level of programming languages and data, and on the nuts-and-bolts level of the computer’s hardware. They are a pinnacle of discoveries in physics and engineering, but also in the mathematics and logic of computer science. Where does the realm of one end and the other begin?

“What distinguishes computer science from physics? It’s the notion of an event.” explains Leslie Lamport, principal researcher at Microsoft Research and winner of the 2013 Turing Award. My view of the events taking place on my computer is very different to how a computer scientist, an engineer or a physicist would view what is happening inside the box.

And this isn’t just a theoretical concern. Our digital lives rely on distributed computer systems, such as the internet, or the network of banks that allow us to deposit cash in one place and withdraw it in another. A distributed system is a bunch of distinct computer processes occurring in different places, that communicate with one another by exchanging messages. But the complication of a distributed system, made up of events happening in different processes, says Lamport, is that “it is sometimes impossible to say that one of two events occurred first. The relation ‘happened before’ is therefore only a partial ordering of the events in the system.”

This ambiguity of the history of the order of events inside a distributed system could have serious consequences. Imagine if the banking network couldn’t agree on the order of events occurring at different locations: for example your pay being deposited through an online transfer, and you wanting to withdraw money from an ATM at an overseas airport. No money in your account would be a catastrophe! And one that hinges on the definition of events in computer science, and how to order them.

Surprisingly, part of the Lamport’s answer to this problem stemmed from his visceral understanding of Einstein’s special theory of relativity, in which problems of ordering also occur. Lamport’s 1978 paper Time, clocks, and the ordering of events in a distributed system introduced a new rigorous way of approaching distributed computation and is one of the most cited papers in computer science. Although Lamport recalls two contrasting reactions to the paper when it was first published: “Some people thought that it was brilliant, and some people thought that it was trivial. I think they’re both right.”

“I realised that being able to totally order the events gave you the power to implement anything you wanted in a distributed system,” Lamport says. The impact of Lamport’s work was recognised in 2013 with the Turing Award, considered the Nobel Prize of Computer Science, and we all benefit from his work every day. “The Internet is based on distributed-systems technology, which is, in turn, based on a theoretical foundation invented by Leslie [Lamport],” says computer scientist Bob Taylor, one of the pioneers of the Internet. “So if you enjoy using the Internet, then you owe Leslie.”

You can read more in a series of articles, based on an interview with Leslie Lamport at the 2016 Heidelberg Laureate Forum.

]]>If you speak of models to a mathematician who is not keen on `Haute couture’, they will think either of their favorite equations if they work on the applied side of mathematics or of beautiful pieces of sculpture if they are more geometrically oriented. Regarding the latter kind of mathematical models, which in particular fascinated the artist Man Ray, several more or less famous collections can be seen in Europe. For instance there are some in Göttingen, Besançon or at the Institut Henri Poincaré (IHP) in Paris. The IHP has just launched a subscription to have 30 models of its collection renovated, and concomitantly publishes together with CNRS editions a magnificent book. Take a look!

]]>*Laure Saint-Raymond is a French mathematician working in partial differential equations, fluid mechanics, and statistical mechanics. She is a professor at École Normale Supérieure de Lyon. In 2008 she was awarded the EMS prize and in 2013, when she was 38 years old, she became the youngest member of the French Academy of Sciences. Roberto Natalini, Chair of the Raising Public Awareness Committee of the EMS, took an interview with her, which was first published on EMS Newsletter, No. 102, Septeber 2017, pp. 23-25. It is reprinted here with the permission of the journal. Here the original version.
*

*Roberto: Let me start with a very trivial question: when did you become interested in mathematics?*

Laure: Actually it was quite late. In high school I was a good student, but somehow I was more interested in music. But, being good in maths, as it was the habit in France, I entered in the so called “Classes préparatoires” (which prepare to the entrance selection for the “Grandes Écoles”), and then in the École Normale Supérieure (ENS) in Paris. Here I found very enthusiastic teachers and so my interest for mathematics started.

*R.: How were your parents involved in your interest in mathematics? Did you have an important teacher before the university?*

L.: I had a maths teacher during the “Classes préparatoires” with a strong passion in mathematics and in particular in logic. However, even though my father is a mathematician, I was not really pushed by my parents to go in this direction. I was quite free to make my choice.

In the ENS I found many inspirational professors, like the physicist Yves Pomeau, who used to introduce baby models to catch important physical phenomena such as the growth of trees. On the mathematical side, I should mention Yann Brenier, with his very original way to see all things, and Henry Berestycki. And finally it was with *François* Golse that I really discovered the connection between mathematics and physics, or I could better say, how to couple the rigor of maths with the inspiration arising from physics.

*R.: What are your main fields of interest in mathematics and how and why did you start to work on them?*

L.: I started my research in plasma theory, looking at the qualitative behaviour of beams of charged particles in strong magnetic fields. The approach was driven by kinetic theory methods, with a deep interplay of mathematics and physics. In collaboration with my PhD advisor *François* Golse, we solved one part of Hilbert’s sixth problem. This problem consists in developing mathematically “the limiting processes [merely indicated in Boltzmann’s work] which lead from the atomistic view to the laws of motion of continua”.

What we established is the rigorous transition from the Boltzmann kinetic description, where the gas is considered as a collection interacting particles described statistically, to a fluid description, given by the Navier-Stokes equations, where the flow is described only through macroscopic quantities such as the average speed or the pressure of the fluid.

*R.: What have been your main original ideas in proving the limit from Boltzmann to Navier-Stokes equations?*

L.: Actually, I have contributed both to collect and organize in an original way many existing techniques, and to develop some new mathematical tools, as the so called L^1 velocity averaging lemma related to dispersion and mixing. The Boltzmann equation describes the state of a gas using a distribution function that depends on space, velocity and time. It expresses a balance between two mechanisms, the transport and the collisions. This equation has no regularizing effect, and so, if we have a singularity in the solution, we keep it forever. And this is a problem when you study the fast relaxation limit (i.e. the asymptotic behaviour when the relaxation to local equilibrium due to collisions is much faster than the transport which correlates close positions) because you need some compactness.

It was noticed by Golse, Lions, Perthame and Sentis, that observables, which are obtained by taking averages with respect to the velocity variable, are more regular than the solution itself. We were able to combine this result with hypoelliptic properties of the transport to prove that if you gain some nice behaviour in the velocity, then you can gain something also in the space variable. This was one of the main tools to prove our convergence result.

*R.: What about some other problems you have considered?*

L.: The other part of my work is concerned with large scale geophysical flows where the Coriolis force is dominant, taking into account the dominating influence of the earth rotation. Classical methods for linear singular perturbation problems fail when the oscillations cannot be described explicitly because one does not even know whether the waves will be captured or dispersed. For instance, close to the equator, the spatial variations of the Coriolis acceleration cannot be neglected. The spectral structure of the propagator is completely modified and one can prove that fast oscillations are trapped in a thin band of latitudes.

Another challenging problem is to understand the interaction with the boundaries, which is responsible for most energy exchanges (forcing and dissipation), even though it is concentrated on very thin layers close to the bottom and the surface.

Now I try to understand the propagation of internal and inertial waves in ocean, in regions with a variable topography. I collaborate with physicists to understand how to separate the different time and space scales, neglecting the very complex dynamics at small scales but keeping the qualitative behaviour of the solutions.

*R.: Are you still working on the Hilbert’s Sixth problem?*

L.: Yes, of course! More recently, mainly in collaboration with Isabelle Gallagher and Thierry Bodineau, I worked on the full problem, namely, to make a rigorous derivation of fluid models from particle models, which I think is a much more difficult problem. A very challenging question is to explain the appearance of irreversibility at the macroscopic level. At this stage there is no general theory, but some special results have been obtained. For instance, we were able, under some specific scaling assumptions, to obtain the Stokes equations directly as the limit of particle models. It is not the optimal result, but it is the first rigorous derivation of fluid equations from Newton’s mechanics. Our starting point is solely the deterministic collisions of hard spheres, coupled with a suitable entropy bound. However it is quite clear that we cannot hope to obtain the full result, to say the convergence to the Navies-Stokes equations, using the same ideas. So, we are looking around for some new ideas.

*R.: You have been awarded with many prizes. Which one is the most important for you?*

L.: First, I have to say that, when you receive a prize, then you receive a lot of them, which does not mean that you have more merit. Of course prizes come as some recognition from the mathematical community, and I am very proud of the EMS prize I received in 2008. But I think that prizes should be overall understood as an encouragement to go further and maybe to take more risks and more responsibilities.

*R.: Speaking of responsibility, I remember your intervention in 2015 about publications, during the event for the 25th anniversary of the EMS at the Institut Poincaré in Paris.*

L.: Yes, I am really concerned by this point. I believe that, as mathematical community, we publish really too much and that senior people with an accomplished career should be more careful and selective when submitting papers. Most of the time nobody reads these papers, and it is even difficult to find somebody to do a good peer review. On my own I adopted as a rule to refer each year at least twice the number of the papers I publish. It is crucial to properly review the papers, and also to read and discuss articles from other researchers. This is the only way to be a scientific community.

I believe that science is a common project, not an isolated enterprise. On the other side, unfortunately, we are faced to all these national and international rankings, which are very often quite meaningless and based on quantitative metrics. Nobody is interested in what people are really doing, and I think it is bad for mathematics.

*R.: How much in your work is intuition and how much it is just hard work?*

L.: The starting point of each of my papers is to try to bring a new light on a problem. Unfortunately, many of my papers are a mess of technical details, but still we try to explain one or two new ideas. In this sense my works are not only technical, but there is always some intuition to be made rigorous. You have an idea, then you try to work the details and you struggle with some problems. And to solve these problems, you have to understand something that you missed before. You don’t fully understand until you have a complete proof. This is, in my opinion, the essence of the mathematical work.

*R.: How do you organize your work? Do you follow a routine, or it varies a lot according to external conditions?*

L.: I work most of the time with the same collaborators, since it takes a lot of time to share the same language, the same feelings on the topics and so on. I’m not this kind of person who goes to a conference, meets some people and immediately starts a new collaboration.

Two years ago, I spent a sabbatical in the US, where I had a lot of time and no duties. It was really quite and I had a great time to work with no constraint, but somehow it was not long enough to develop new collaborations.

*R.: How has been important for you to be in Paris for many years?*

L.: For a very long time we didn’t leave Paris to stay close to our parents who helped a lot with the children, and I have to say that I didn’t quite realize the great opportunity I had. Actually, in Paris it is possible to discuss and collaborate with a lot of people with different backgrounds and ideas.

Out of Paris you are maybe not exposed to such a large mathematical community, but somehow it gives you more opportunities to meet people doing something really different and to go into new research directions. I have now moved to Lyon where I am very happy.

*R.: In France, women in mathematics are not so common, even if in recent years something changed. Could you explain the difficulties that sometimes women can experience in having a satisfactory career in mathematics?*

L.: Actually, I have to say that in my experience I didn’t feel any discrimination against women. My impression is that somehow the problem is more in our society. One reason why women are not following scientific careers is maybe the French system of education based on selection and competition, which can discourage women to follow this path.

Also there is the dominant model of family, where men are choosing their jobs and women are following their husbands. In the academic careers very often it is hard to stay together.

*R.: And how did you manage to face these problems? You have a large family, with six children. How is it possible to work so hard with a lot of children and commitments? *

L.: My husband is just great and makes everything at home (she smiles). Also, for many years our parents helped us taking care of the kids very often. Besides, the French school system (starting at the age of 3) is helpful in this regard.

But nevertheless, for a long time I needed to be at home at 5 pm almost every day…. and I wrote less papers than most of my colleagues!

*R.: What do you do outside math? Have you hobbies? What do like to do?*

L.: I do plenty of things, like hiking and skiing, and this is also one of the reasons why I like very much to be in Lyon. Also I enjoy music, playing the cello. Sometimes I even play chamber music with some colleagues.

*R.: A last question. What is your bedtime reading?*

L.: It is hard to say, sometimes I just sleep (laughing). But, for instance I like very much Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt, for his positive attitude about life. More generally, I look for books where I find a supplement of energy to live, something helping to find the positive sides in our life.

]]>

After successful conferences held in **Hungary (2007), Austria (2009), Czech Republic (2010), Serbia (2012), Germany (2014) and Romania (2016)** we are delighted to announce that the **CADGME** **conference **continues. The team from **Department of Mathematics and Center for Informatics and Systems of ****the University of Coimbra** has volunteered to host the conference in **2018** **in the beautiful city of Coimbra**.

As for the last **CADGME** conferences, we want to create a forum for all European colleagues, and for all interested academics from around the globe to exchange ideas and nurture collaboration. **We hope that you will join us in Coimbra on 26 – 29 June 2018.**

In Coimbra, we will have amazing keynote lectures, regular talks and posters, but additionally we will discover several new areas in the already proposed working groups:

**1) Assessment in CASDGS ****environments; 2) Evaluation of step-wise problem solving with TPS; 3) TAME – Technology, ****Arts and Mathematics Education.**

Beyond these topics we are still waiting for submissions for other working groups and workshops. Futhermore, the will be an opportunity to participate in an **Educational Research Design** **workshop** mainly catered for masters and PhD students, but colleagues interested in learning about educational research methodologies are welcome to attend.

More details of the programme are below…

**Jaime Carvalho e Silva (University of Coimbra, Portugal): The challenges schools face with the development of Computer Algebra**

**Kristóf Fenyvesi (University of Jyväskylä, Finland): STEAM-ing Up Learning with GeoGebra: from Explorations in Arts and Design to Robot-making Activities**

**Philippe R. Richard (University of Montréal, Canada): The Utility of the Automatic Reasoning Tools for Performing Mathematical Work**

**Ornella Robutti (University of Torino, Italy): Mathematics teachers working in collaboration with the use of technology**

**Katarzyna Winkowska-Nowak (SWPS University, Poland): GeoGebra role in building mental models and improving computational thinking skills**

The aim of the conference is to continue offering a forum for academics in Europe in closer connection with Western European colleagues to share their experiences and practices with technology-assisted mathematics teaching with colleagues from all around the world. Hence, we kindly invite colleagues – everyone from everywhere – to participate and contribute to the conference. The conference language is English.

**Contributed talks**

The talks will be given in parallel sessions; the length is 20 minutes plus 10 minutes for discussion.

**Posters**

Research results can be presented on posters. There will be time allocated to present and discuss posters.

**Working groups**

Talks will be organised around topics (proposed list is below). **We welcome proposals of working groups by 29 January, 2018** in which participants can contribute talks/papers. In working group sessions plenty of time will be allocated for in-depth discussion of talks/papers. Already accepted working groups:

**1) Assessment in CAS-DGS environments;**

** 2) Evaluation of step-wise problem solving with TPS;**

** 3) TAME – Technology, Arts and Mathematics Education**

**Workshops**

We encourage participants and software developers to organize workshops. **Proposals (max. 500 words) should be submitted by 29 January, 2018.** Please let us know about the technical facilities needed for the workshop. The time limit is 90 minutes per workshop.

Submission of proposals for workshops/working groups and abstracts of contributed talks and posters will be made electronically through a dedicated **EasyChair Web page, announced later.**

**Abstracts**

The abstracts of contributed talks and posters will be available on the conference Web page. Authors should comply with Easy-Chair, “Instructions For Authors” regarding the style/template to use.

**Post Conference Publication**

We are in discussion with several journals that might publish a special issue with papers presented at CADGME-2018.

- Working group proposals 29 January 2018
- Workshop proposals 29 January 2018
- Acceptance notifications (WG/WS) 10 February 2018
- Abstract of contributed talks and posters 28 February 2018
- Acceptance notifications 31 March 2018
- Final Papers 30 September 2018

** Topics for contribution **

The conference will be arranged around four important themes — Teaching, Learning, Curriculum and Assessment — using any digital tools. In the past years, we paid particular attention to Computer Algebra Systems (CAS), Dynamic Geometry Software (DGS), Theorem Proving Systems (TPS) and combinations of these technologies, but we would like to open to new horizons in technology-related areas not only mathematics, but science, engineering, technology and arts education (so called STEAM disciplines). This includes, but is not restricted to, contributions to the following fields:

*Teaching*

The impact of technology uses on mathematics and STEAM teaching

The changing role of the teacher

Teacher learning

Distance learning and digital tools

Connections between arts, design and technology in mathematics education

*Learning*

The impact of digital tools on students’ learning

Students’ attitudes toward digital tools

Understanding and knowledge with respect to digital tools

Algebraic skills and digital tools

Instrumentation

Creativity and digital tools

*Curriculum*

Design of learning environments and curricula

Implementation of curricula and classroom practices

Innovative practices

Promises of digital tools for curriculum development and administration

*Assessment*

Assessment with digital tools

Web-based assessment systems

Problem solving and stepwise use of digital tools

Intelligent Assessment

**Registration and further information**

**Regular (early bird, before 1 May) 220.00 €**

** Regular (late) 280.00 €**

** Students (early bird) 120.00 €**

** Students (late) 160.00 €**

**Electronic Registration**

Electronic registration for the conference will be available on the conference Web page.

**Accommodation**

Information about hotels will be available on the conference Web page.

**Travel**

Directions and instructions will be found on the conference Web page.

]]>

The World Meeting for Women in Mathematics (WM^2) will take place on July 31st, 2018 in Rio

just before ICM18 :

https://www.worldwomeninmaths.org/

Those who wish to attend (WM)^2+ICM should look to the Open Arms program :

http://www.icm2018.org/portal/en/open-arms-grants

A round up of some of the best video content published by the Naked Mathematician Tom Crawford over the past few weeks…

Have you ever wondered where maths comes from? What are the instructions that govern how we manipulate numbers and equations? It all starts with a set of basic rules called axioms. In the video below, Tom introduces the ten most basic mathematical axioms in the field of Analysis. These rules refer to the real numbers and though they may seem simple, they form the foundations upon which the majority of today’s maths is built.

In the latest episode of the ‘Equations Stripped’ series, Tom strips back Maxwell’s equations of electromagnetism. These equations form the underlying theory of electromagnetic waves and provide a mathematical framework for the experimental results seen by Faraday and Maxwell in the 1800s. The equations are explained step-by-step, with a final calculation showing how both the electric and magnetic fields satisfy the wave equation, therefore demonstrating that light itself must be a wave.

Answering another question sent in by YOU, Tom explains how modular arithmetic works beginning with the familiar example of the 12-hour clock. He then moves onto negative numbers and provides some top tips on how to compute any arithmetic operation when working with modular numbers.

You can find all of the material by the Naked Mathematician Tom Crawford on his website tomrocksmaths.com. You can also follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram @tomrocksmaths.

]]>*A new contribution from the Italian journal XlaTangente. Initially thought as the Italian edition of the French magazine “Tangente. L’aventure mathématique“, i**n the last few years the paper edition evolved in a website, **www.xlatangente.it**, whose goal is to continue to offer “chewable mathematics”, thanks to the contributions of young mathematicians, increasingly aware of the need to maintain a dialogue with society. The website is addressed specifically to students of secondary schools and their teachers.
*

The ancient Romans: a pragmatic lineage of bellicose peasants? Is there a truth beyond this stereotype? In this article and in the next ones, you may discover some aspects of ancient Roman civilization that you would have never expected!

“MAMMA LI ROMANI!”[i]

One of the most widely read books on the history of mathematics is Morris Kline’s *Mathematical Thought From Ancient to Modern Times* (1972), a rather detailed study that devotes the first two hundred pages to mathematics in the ancient world. Kline writes: “The Romans were practical people and they boasted of their practicality. They undertook and completed vast engineering projects […] but refused to consider any ideas beyond the particular concrete applications they were making at the moment. ” This is a rather extreme judgment for a detailed work such as that of Kline, which continues to say that their inability [of the Romans] to make progress in mathematics strikes because they ruled a worldwide empire. But this observation is not developed and drowns in the sea of contumelies that the American mathematician writes about Rome.

As an example of the brutality of the Romans, Kline cites the destruction of the Alexandria Library by Caesar’s troops (“Two and a half centuries of book-collecting and half a million manuscripts, which represented the flower of ancient culture, were wiped out.”), which actually did not take place until the end of the third century AD and definitively in the 7th century AD, and recalls their expansionist policy in these terms, worthy of a nineteenth subsidiary: “The subjugated areas became colonies, from which a great wealth was extracted by expropriation and taxation. Since most of the Roman emperors were self-seekers, they ruined every country they controlled. When uprisings occurred, as they did, for example, in Alexandria, the Romans did not hesitate to starve and, when finally victorious, to kill off thousands of inhabitants. “

It is a surprise that a historian would consider these crimes as hateful only referring to a single people, when these were common practices in antiquity. For example, in 335 BC Alexander the Great rushed to the ground Thebes exterminating the population and deporting the survivors, and it is difficult to find ancient peoples and nations, starting with the Greeks, who did not use these methods to expand their territorial and commercial horizons (and if you think about it, they were used until very recent times). Kline’s essay is written with scrupulousness, unlike the fascinating but imaginative E.T. Bell’s book, *Men of Mathematic*s (1937), still on the ridge of the wave, in which the author gives ample venture to his poetic itching, plowing in the alley of many commonplaces. Here is an example: “In the death of Archimedes we shall see the first impact of a crassly practical civilization upon the greater thing which it destroyed – Rome having half demolished Carthage, swollen with victory and imperially purple with valour, falling upon Greece to shatter its fine fragility.”!

One can ask where this unanimous chorus of cutting remarks against the “brutal” Romans destroying the “sophisticated” Greeks comes from (although in fact, all these authors are talking about Grecism meaning Hellenism). The sources are the great treatises of nineteenth-century scholars, infatuated with Hellenistic thought, who saw in other ancient civilizations – especially in the Romans and the Parthians, who had the “wrong” to conquer and annex the Hellenistic realms – all the evil that they avoided to attribute to the Hellenistic world. In fact, besides the Romans – the bellicose peasants – we find the Persians, considered slave, theocratic and corrupt people, according to a stereotype also in popular culture, as shown by the picturesque description Frank Miller provides in the comics *300*.

Indeed, if the eighteenth century was the century of the admirers of Latin culture (just think of the consideration shown by Illuminists for Cicero and Seneca), the nineteenth century was that of Romanticism, which regarded ancient Greece as the golden age of Art and Thought. Great philologists studied, translated and edited critical editions of Hellenistic and Greek mathematics, for example, we owe to the Danish scholar Johan Ludvig Heiberg the monumental editions of Euclid and Ptolemy, and the discovery of Archimedes’ famous *Palimpsests* in 1906, which deserves a story by itself. The quote that follows, perhaps the remote mother of the precedents, is excerpted from *Mathematics and physical science in classical antiquity* (1922, original edition 1920)[ii]: “The Romans, with their narrow and rustic perspective, their practical sobriety and short-sightedness, had always, in the depths of their hearts, a mixture of suspicion and contempt for pure science that is still the sign of the semi-educated, which sometimes boast about it. ” The source is a Cicero motto that we will reveal in due course.

But the long wave of this disdainful deception to an entire people lasts until today: a remarkable example is the famous and well-known book by Lucio Russo, The Forgotten Revolution (original edition 1997), which contains a lot of first-hand detailed information on Hellenistic mathematics (which makes it a unique and irreplaceable work), collected however to serve the hypothesis that science, as it is conceived today, is a Hellenistic invention and not a seventeenth-century invention. In the glorification of the Hellenistic culture and science, there is no shortage of criticism of the Roman conquerors, with the same arguments that we find in earlier authors, and a few more, economically based.

*[ To be continued…]*

[i] A colourful vernacular expression that could be translated with “Oh gosh, the Romans are coming!”

[ii] We propose here a translation from the Italian edition by Guido Castelnuovo (1927) as we were not able to consult an English edition.

**Paolo Caressa**,

translated by **Daniela Della Volpe**