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Monthly Round-up February

February has been a busy month. Wrote lots of articles:

Cred: National University of Singapore

Cred: National University of Singapore

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Monthly Round-up January

Image credit: Me.

Image credit: Me.

It’s a new year, with some new articles…

I also spent a week in Finland (not working). It was awesome. Spent a lot of time trying to take pictures of the stars but an annoying light kept getting in the way.

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A few Man Vs Maths book reviews

A few lovely people have written reviews about my book and seem to have enjoyed it. It feels like a long time ago that I was madly writing in Glasgow to meet the publisher’s deadline, but I’m so pleased that it’s doing OK. On her blog Becky Douglas wrote:

“I found it hard to believe that a book about mathematics could be this entertaining. I was proven wrong. It made me laugh and it showed me new ways of thinking about mathematics I was already familiar with, as well as introducing a few totally new concepts.”

You can read her full review here. Another review came courteous of George Clark who wrote:

Rest assured, this is a book for the masses, there will be something for everyone

You can read his full review here. And finally the folks at Chalk Dust Magazine wrote:

Overall, the book is written in an engaging way and is ideal reading for anyone with an interest in maths, or indeed the world! […] Having discovered the book by accident and being drawn in by its design, I am delighted that I found and read it, and commend it to you.

And their full review is here. I hope that everyone who has read Man Vs Maths has enjoyed it, certainly the Amazon reviews are looking kind. If you have let me know what you think, I’d love to hear from you.

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Monthly Round-up December

Here are the things I’ve written in December…

A bit of a quite month on the publishing front, but not on the writing front. Lots to be released in 2017!

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Monthly Round-up November

Here are the things I’ve written in November…

Lógó íslenskra Pírata

Lógó íslenskra Pírata

And I also scripted/produced/presented a radio piece for the Naked Scientists on the BBC.

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Monthly Round-up October

Image Credit: Asgardia

Image Credit: Asgardia

This month was my first full month at New Scientist. In case you missed my articles, I wrote about…

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Physics Nobel Prize Goes to Pastries

The 2016 Nobel Prize in physics has been awarded to David Thouless from the University of Washington, Duncan Haldane from Princeton University, and to Michael Kosterlitz from Brown University for “opening the door on an unknown world where matter can assume strange states”.

Image Credit: JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty

Image Credit: JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty

Their work involved using the mathematical field of topology to look at unusual states of matter, such as superconductors and superfluids.

In topology, the goal is to describe shapes and structures by some fundamental characteristics, like the number of holes. So topologically speaking, a mug is the same as a bagel, as they both have one hole, but a pretzel is different because it has two.

For the full article, read here.

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OUT NOW Awesome Maths Book to Blow Your Mind!

Image Credit: Joe Lyward

Image Credit: Joe Lyward

Love reading? Hate reading? You’ll love this. From a 19th century ship filled with gold to Pixar movies, to sports, to the universe’s favourite number, this must-buy book has everything.

Just read the reviews:

“… a book so clever that your head will likely explode.” — Aaron on Facebook.

“Rest assured, this is a book for the masses, there will be something for everyone.” —  George Clark on his blog. 

“You must buy this book.” — Timothy Revell

If you buy one thing this year, make it Man vs Maths. I can’t praise it enough and I wrote it.

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New Scientist – Gaia discovers 400 million stars

Welcome to the age of mass-produced star-gazing. Over 400 million stars have been discovered as part of a project to create the most accurate star map ever.

Image Credit: ESA.

Image Credit: ESA.

The European Space Agency (ESA) satellite, Gaia, has just released its catalogue of over 1 billion stars in the Milky Way, launching a new era of astronomy.

“In the future we will realise that this was a big day for our understanding of the universe,” says Paolo Tanga from the Côte d’Azur Observatory. “When people will talk about the formation of our solar system, its environment and the nearby stars, our understanding will come thanks to Gaia.”

The huge number of stars that Gaia has made visible to astronomers can hardly be overstated. Of the 1.1 billion stars in the Gaia map, it’s estimated that nearly half are new discoveries. “It’s a 1000 times expansion of what we can see today in the stars” says Tanga. “It’s a completely different sky.”

Read the full article here.

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New Scientist – Emotional Algorithms

Image Credit: Pat Pilon

Image Credit: Pat Pilon

Some humans just know when and how to offer a word of emotional support. Now computers are learning too, with the creation of a new algorithm that aims to deliver the right words at the right time.

“There’s a lot of need for emotional support at the moment,” says Judith Masthoff at the University of Aberdeen, UK, who is designing the system. “We have increased rates of mental health issues, and this has led to increased rates of informal care.” Trained professionals are only available for the most extreme cases, so Masthoff suggests that people could get instant support from apps instead.

The task for Masthoff and her colleagues has been to turn a person’s ability to offer a few words of support into a logical set of instructions – an algorithm, that could be put into practice by a computer…..

Read the full article here.

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