Timetable and Main Talks


Main Talks

Matt Parker: Hidden Maths in Technology

There are numbers all around us that make our modern lives possible. From rescuing your lost words in text messages, to taking selfies. We will discuss barcodes and check digits, error correction, binary numbers & ASCII, and digital images. This session will show students the mathematics behind modern technology and emphasise the importance of learning maths for future tech careers.

Possibly the only person to hold the prestigious title of London Mathematical Society Popular Lecturer while simultaneously having a sold-out comedy show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Matt is always keen to mix his two passions of mathematics and stand-up. Originally a maths teacher from Australia, Matt now lives in the UK and works both as a stand-up comedian and a maths communicator.

Professor Jens Bolte: Mathematics at University

Are you interested in studying Mathematics at University? This session will deal with the types of course available and the qualifications required, the ways in which university mathematics is different from or similar to mathematics at A-level, and the careers available.

Professor Jens Bolte has been at the Department of Mathematics at Royal Holloway for more than 10 years.  His research area is Mathematical Physics and he is particularly interested in the quantum mechanics of particles moving on networks.He has previously worked on the quantum description of chaotic dynamics and approximations of quantum dynamics in terms of classical dynamics.



Professor Rüdiger Schack: The Music in a 2000 year old proof

Are all quantities in mathematics ratios of integers, such as 5/7? The ancient Pythagoreans thought so. For them, mathematics, cosmology, and music were firmly based on the integers. The Pythagorean world view was thrown into crisis in the 5th century BC when it was discovered that some distances, and by implication some musical intervals, cannot be expressed as ratios of integers, that is, they are “irrational”. It took more than 2000 years for mathematicians and musicians to fully come to terms with the discovery of irrational numbers. This talk will present a simple and beautiful proof that the square root of 2 is irrational, and through it explore connections between music and mathematics.

Professor Rüdiger Schack has been teaching at Royal Holloway’s Mathematics Department for more than 20 years, including 5 years as Head of Department. He has made numerous research contributions in the field of quantum theory ranging from foundations to optics and cryptography. Recently he was a panelist at the World Science Festival in New York. His musical interests include singing in a choir and playing piano and harpsichord.