Welcome to the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA) blog. The IMA is the UK's learned and professional society for mathematics and its applications. We promote mathematics research, education and careers, and the use of mathematics in business, industry and commerce. Among our activities we produce academic journals, organise conferences and engage with government.

In this blog we will publish mathematical articles and news to reflect the interests of our members who come from a multiplicity of different organisations including university academics, industrial mathematicians, financiers, school teachers, scientists, civil servants etc.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Peter McOwan's Maths & Computing Magic Show

Yesterday the East Midlands Branch of the IMA enjoyed The Maths and Computing Magic Show by Peter McOwan, Professor of Computer Science at Queen Mary, University of London. Peter showed various magic tricks which rely on principles of mathematics or computing - with no trickery or slight of hand - and invited the audience to explore some of the mathematical principles behind the tricks. Peter is an engaging performer and ensured the large audience were entertained, informed - and kept guessing!

To find out more about the maths and computing behind magic, check out The Manual of Mathematical Magic and Computer Science for Fun (cs4fn) websites. The Manual of Mathematical Magic is a book available to download from the website, and is
packed full of magical miracles to impress and entertain your friends. The secrets behind street magic, close-up and stage tricks are explained clearly with instructions and videos to help you perform them perfectly. Then you can learn about the maths behind the trick and discover how that same mathematics is used to power our modern world and numerous careers.
Computer Science for Fun is "a magazine where the digital world meets the real world" with a section on magic. Here is a video from the site of Peter "explaining how he got into the world of magic, and the ways that computing and magic are similar".

The other element of Peter's talk was the use of illusions and if you are interested to find out more about this aspect then check out Illusioneering. This provides videos and downloadable resources.
Hidden in each of our effects lurks fascinating science and engineering. Our magical marvels are powered by concealed chemistry, paradox producing physics, baffling biology, mysterious mathematics and enchanting engineering. Secret science and engineering has been behind every single magical and conjuring effect throughout history, and now is your opportunity to discover it to help you amaze and amuse, entertain and educate.
The meeting was preceded by the Branch AGM  at which Malcolm Savage stood down as Chair following two years of dedicated service. Peter Rowlett was elected Chair and Stephen Lee as Senior Vice Chair.

Future talks are listed on the IMA East Midlands Branch webpage.