: Mathematics and Knots
Symbolic Sculpture and Mathematics.
Here is a page of links to wider maths resources.
Our aim is to present Mathematics to as wide as possible an audience, and to give an impression for mathematics of
In this way we hope to allow the public and government to obtain a more accurate view of the place of mathematics in our understanding of the world, and our ability to work and live within it.
Unfortunately, our subject is often presented to school children, to students and to the general public as dull, or outlandish and impractical, or very useful but hard, to be practised only by a few, akin to the eccentric geniuses of fiction. Even professional mathematicians are known to present the value of mathematics as concerned with utility, or achievement. These values are necessary for many purposes, and should be presented, but are not sufficient.
An international conference organised by ICMI (The International Commision on Mathematical Instruction) was held in Leeds in 1989 to bring together people from around the world to compare experiences and plans for "The Popularisation of Mathematics". We presented to the Pop Maths Roadshow an exhibition, `Mathematics and Knots', and also an exhibition of thirteen of John Robinson's sculptures.
In all this, our aim was to show mathematics as a study of form, pattern, and structure; that it deals with problems of representation, deduction, and computation with form, pattern, and structure; and that it is for this reason that mathematics is a basis and necessity for a wide range of studies and activities.
But we also seek to involve members of the general public in "doing" some mathematics. We hope to bring certain areas of mathematical thought to the attention of anyone who enjoys thinking and puzzling over patterns and structures and also to introduce many people to the idea that mathematics is something which they can do. We seek to popularise mathematics with our own undergraduate students and with school children.
The Centre was formed in 1989, as a stimulus and focus to a range of activities.
: Mathematics and Knots
This is the WWW version of the travelling exhibition. The aim of the exhibition is to use the theme of knots to show some of the basic methods of mathematics. The philosophy behind the design of the exhibition is given in the article
The travelling exhibition consists of 16 light weight A2 boards which is stored in a case for ease of transportation. It is available for loan on payment of travel and insurance costs.
It has toured the UK with the Pop Maths Roadshow in 1989-90 and has since been shown at the Royal Institution, Edinburgh Science Fair, British Association for the Advancement of Science, Coventry Teachers Centre. Copies at A3 and A4 size, in English or Welsh, are available.
``Carpentry: a fable'', by R. Brown, Mathematical Intelligencer, 11, no.4 (1989) 37.
``Making a mathematical exhibition'' by R. Brown and T. Porter, in The popularization of mathematics, edited A.G.Howson and J.-P. Kahane, ICMI Study Series, Cambridge University Press, (1990) 51-64.
``The methodology of mathematics'', by R. Brown and T.Porter. This is a version of the article in Math. Gazette, 79 No 485 July, 1995, 321-324.
"Why study mathematics", by R. Brown and T.Porter, Mathematics for the future, IMA/Hobsons 1995.
Click here for Symbolic
Sculptures and Mathematics, presented by Edition Limitee and the Centre
for the Popularisation of Mathematics.
Royal Institution Mathematics Masterclasses for Young People in Gwynedd have
been run since 1984. The Organising Committeee is currently chaired by Professor
R. Brown, and includes representation from the School of Mathematics, the
LEA, and Anglesey Aluminium. We give five sessions fortnightly, January to
March, 10:30 to 15:00. All the Masterclasses have been well supported by
Anglesey Aluminium plc.
Royal Institution Mathematics Classes
Knots exhibition and books.
Sculptures of John Robinson at Bangor.
School of Mathematics Homepage
Last modified 29 November, 1997.