MATRIX Conference 2016

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MATRIX 2016 (Mathematics Awareness, Training, Resource, & Information Exchange) was a conference for professionals of math outreach held in Leeds (UK) on September 1-3, 2016. The conference was organized by MathsWorldUK, MoMath, and the School of Mathematics, University of Leeds.



New developments at MoMath - Cindy Lawrence

Lawrence presented brief account of the latest activities at MoMath, including Random Walk on Wall Street, Solstice Stars, dodecahedral cell sculptures, screenings of the film Navajo Math Circles, constructions of Leonardo Domes, the 120-faces dice, and others. A new forthcomming exhibit was announced, Twisted Thruway, consisting on a small scale car driving attached to a Möbius band sculpture with an on-board camera showing the driver's point of view.

Creative and Playful Maths - Chris Budd

Budd advocated for showing to the public that math is creative, demonstrating that it can be both fun and useful. He exposed how Math masterclasses are done at Royal Institution, with examples as the hexasticks (also known as 72 pencils), shapes, bubbles, geomerty, quilting show, art, and performed a couple of magic tricks.

Building a MENACE machine - Matthew Scroggs

MENACE (Machine Educable Noughts And Crosses Engine) is a machine learning demonstration to play Noughts and Crosses (aka TicTacToe) using matchboxes and colour beads. The talk also explored analogies with connect 4, chess and go, and explained the basics of Google's alpha go. Besides, the Chalkdust magazine was presented to the public.

The Use of GeoGebra to enhance hands-on exhibits - Michael Borcherds

Some GeoGebra applications were demonstrated, such as Geometric Mechanisms of Ellipse linkage (van Schooten), Morphing polyhedra, Girl in a mirror, Shapes of constant width, and 4DFrame. Slides and applets of the presentation are available.

Technology and Creativity - Philipp Legner

Discussion of ways to teach and learn Maths focused on problem solving and reasoning, adapting to the students interests. As a tool to help achieve this proposal, Legner developed Mathigon, a website for online learning topics on mathematics (arithmetic, algebra, graphs & networks...). Mathigon uses dynamic and interactive text, that requires the participation of the visitor to advance the lectures. Finally, a new project "PolyGOn" was announced, as a collaboration with MoMath.

An Exhibition in a Suitcase - Guido Ramellini et al

Project by MMACA for developing an inexpensive portable pop-up exhibition in mathematics that can be used in a triple way: as exhibition, in classroom and in a workshop. As an example, different ways to use the chinese Tangram were proposed, depending on the setup and context. Integration of physical and virtual simulations and feedbacks from classroom and exhibition were discussed. The on-going projects features already more than 40 exhibits in a portable suitcase.

The Further Mathematics Support Programme - Tom Button & Phil Chaffe

The FMSP is a UK program for enriching the math education. It supports schools and colleges, runs professional development for theachers, offers tutoring for students, and provides enrichment materials for the classroom.

Adventures in Maths Public Engagement - Katie Steckles

An account of some big events of massive participation, including the Domino Computer (2012), The MegaMenger (2014) and the ManchesterMegaPixel (2016). Also more events and information on The Aperiodical blog.

The Power of Mathematical Experiments - Albrecht Beutelspacher

Beutelspacher presented experiences at the Mathematikum, around the idea of mathematical experiment, if they are at all mathematics, or at all experiments.

University Mathematics Outreach programmes - Joe Watkins

Watkins has been involved in math outreach from the University. He discussed similarities and differences with math outreach from different sources and school levels. He presented how to tackle with some UK metrics used to measure performance, the Teaching Excellent Framework (TEF) and the Research Excellence Framework (REF).

Viruses, origami, and computer models - Hamish Todd

Viruses are biological structures that expose a number of polyhedral symmetries and mathematical properties that also appear in a completely unconnected field, origami. Todd presented some applets developed to show these connections.

Royal Institution Masterclasses - Samantha Durbin

The Royal Institution is a UK organization with the mission of "harness science for the maximum benefit of society". To promote scientific thinking amongst students, they organize the Ri Masterclasses, a series of lectures in mathematics, engineering, and Computer Sciences given by enthusiastic speakers, and reaching so far over 7000 students out of school time, with their participation nominated by their teachers. The Royal Institute also produces videos, such as The history of zero, presented at the end of the talk.

Moving Maths - Ben Sparks

An exposure of emotions in front of maths. Sparks showed a GeoGebra applet to discover and be surprised by the Julia and Mandelbrot sets. The talk finished with Golden ratio spirals, sunflowers, and a song performed live accompanied with guitar.

Hilbert, an open source framework for interactive exhibits in maths museums - Andreas Matt

Matt presented the latest project of IMAGINARY for math museums. Hilbert is a framework composed of operating system and network infrastructure to manage large installations of numerous computer stations of virtual exhibits in a museum environment. With Hilbert it is possible to switch on/off, monitor, repair/reboot, or update exhibits in a centralized way, allowing installations of dozens or hundreds of computers in a museum. This system has been tested in Mathematikon shopping center (Heidelberg) and in the forthcomming ESO-Supernova Museum (Munich).

The Maths of Outreach - Rebecca Cotton-Barratt & Marelli Grady

Assessment and evaluation of outreach activities in terms of impact and success on the students. The talk discussed the UK specific metrics to evaluate performance of students in GCSE (16) and A-level (18) exams, gender equality and population distribution across different university studies.

The Global Math Project: Uplifting mathematics for all - James Tanton

The Global Math Project aims to engage students and teachers around the world in thinking and talking about the same appealing piece of mathematics during a series of annual Global Math Weeks. Inspired by the work of, which makes coding accessible for millions of students across the globe, we seek to share the inherent joy, wonder, relevance, and meaning of mathematics with students everywhere and create a forum for the global celebration of creative mathematical thinking.

During the first Global Math Week, beginning 10.10.2017, one million students will experience Exploding Dots, a refreshing and powerful mathematical approach to arithmetic and algebra regularly described by students and teachers alike as “mind blowing.” Developed by founding team member James Tanton, Exploding Dots appeals to math teachers around the world because it transcends language and the details of any particular curriculum, while at the same time fostering an appreciation of fundamental math concepts. Designed for students ages 10 and up who have a working knowledge of standard arithmetic algorithms, Exploding Dots is an invitation to embark on a delightful, accessible journey through middle- and high-school mathematics—and beyond.

Domineering: a game of no chance - John Dore

Dore presented some recreational math games: The domineering (two-player game consisting on placing dominoes on a board), Kites (a jigsaw with only two quadrilateral shapes in three colours), and Infernal triangles (24 triangular pieces, coloured with four-colours patters, invented by Percy A. MacMahon).

Mathematics Year 2020? - John Bibby

Bibby advocated to create a Mathematics Year in 2020 impulsed by the math outreach community, possibly as legacy of the MATRIX 2106 conference, and invited all the participants to engage in the project and share ideas.

Slides and text of the talk (pdf).

The Arizona Mathematics Road Show: A Mobile Outreach Program - Bruce Bayly

The Arizona Mathematics Road Show brings math activities to the Arizona territory using an iconic American school bus refurbished for the purpose. The show has also travelled abroad, going to Beijing (China, 2014), and Gdansk (Poland, 2014). In 2016 participated in the Navajo Nation Math Festival (Tsaille, Arizona, USA).

NRICH and Wild maths programs - Ems Lord & Charlie Gilderdale

NRICH is a resource website that collects problems and puzzles in mathematics, organized by subject, curriculum, etc.

Wild maths are off-the-classroom materials, with a focus on creativity.

Sequence Algebra in Calculus and Combinatorics, its Haskell implementation, and as a Mathematical play thing - Kieran Clenaghan

The talk gave some examples of the Haskell language used to explore some algebraic expressions connecting some combinatorial number sequences and certain Taylor series. This was proposed as an example to engage students in programming and in mathematics.

Mathematics and the public: Science Museum approaches to hands-on and history - David Rooney & Toby Parkin

This was a two-fold talk about the Science Museum of London. First part of the talk presented the Wonderlab, a space with over 50 hand-on and sensory experiences. This section is divided into seven spaces, devoted to Light, Matter, Sound, Maths, Electricity, Forces and a central area devoted to Space. Additionally, a Showspace or small auditorium serves to talks and expositions. The exhibits are chosen to give a balance between "closed" and "open", "passive" and "active" experiences. Second part of the talk presented the new gallery Mathematics: The Winton Galery, opening December 8, 2016, a 900 m^2 gallery designed by Zaha Hadid Architects. The exhibition tries to escape from the traditional division in areas of mathematics (geometry, arithmetic, calculus...) and instead it focuses on human stories where mathematics has played a significant role. The gallery is divided into six areas: War and peace, Trade and ravel, Form and beauty, Maps and models, Life and death, and Money. Each area tells a story around an iconic historical artifact.

Storytelling in mathematics, fo(u)r example(s) - Vanessa Krummeck

Krummeck told the story of The little Math-Angel named OHO. This is part of a book by Krummeck and illustrated by Svetlana Loutsa, of children stories containing mathematical ideas. These books use personification of mathmatical objects, and the techniques of Georgi Lozanov (suggestopedia) for learning languages applied to introduce young children to mathemtics.

Reaching Uninspired Teenagers - Rob Eastaway

A presentation of Maths Inspiration, a project to inspire teenagers with interactive maths shows.

Geometric cognitive metaphors: the coexistence of mathematics, philosophy and art - Jakub Jernajczyk

Presentation of artistic visualization of metaphors of knowledge and information as geometric objects, inspired by ancient philosophy of Plato or Nicolas of Cusa. Notably polygons, squares and pixels as human knowledge used to approach a circle, representing perfect truth.

minimath: Early Mathematics Education in Austria since 1998 - Emil Simeonov

Minimath is an initiative to bring early maths initiation to children between 4 and 6. Minimath is based in Vienna and spreading to the German-speaking world.

The Samaritani Formula - Adam Atkinson

The Samaritani Formula is a fallacious system to win the "Lotto" lottery, popular in Italy. Atkinson presented this and other stories of anumerism or missuse of mathematics.

The Unexpected Mathematics in Juggling - Colin Wright

When one thinks of mathematics in juggling one immediately thinks of ballistics, forces, trajectories, angles, and so on. In this after-dinner presentation we see that there is an entirely different world of mathematics to be explored. The presentation finishes with the audience inventing a juggling trick for the presenter to attempt.

Showcasing Statistics - Simon White & Laura Bonnett

A presentation from the Education Committee of the Royal Statistical Society, about the role of statistics in understanding and decision-making in the world.

Big Data Discussion - Chris Budd

Esposition about what is big data and where it is relevant. The public was asked to throw ideas about who are the users of big data, which are the mathematics involved, and pros and cons of the advent of big data collection and treatment.

What the heck was the point? - Simon Singh

Singh revised some of his books and works on math popularization (The Simpsons, Big Bang, Fermat's last theorem, Katie Melua song...). Afterwards, he presented the "Top- top set project", a school program aimed to stimulate students with high capabilities. The program starts in fall 2016 in four UK schools, starting to students at Year 7 (aged 12). Top-top set is typically top 7% of students. The project involves a new curriculum, greater depth, more ambition through to age 18. It aims to be cost effective and scalable. More news of this project at @SLSingh and at the Good Thinking Society.

Hands-on, Minds-on, Hearts-on Maths - Noel Jackson

Jackson presented some of the experiences at the Centre for Life, especially the so called "Rich tasks", where mathematics plays a role on understanding a subject of another domain. Examples of these rich tasks are the estimation of the length of an Apathosaurus from its fossil footprints, the astronaut training program, the mathematics of mummification in ancient Egypt, or the prey-predator ecology models.

Towards creating an Exploratorium: the vision of MATHS WORLD UK - Margaret Brown & Geoff Wain

The hosts of the conference presented their vision and project of MathsWorldUK.

Public talks

  • A World from a Sheet of Paper - Tadashi Tokieda.
  • The Mathematics of Love - Hannah Fry.

All the lectures were introduced by Matt Parker in the role of chairman.