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.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Lewis Carroll in Numberland

"We called him Tortoise because he taught us."

Students - please don't follow this example and call your teacher/lecturer a Tortoise - you wouldn't have gotten away with it in the 1860s and 150 years later you still won't!

However, this was but one of the lovely quotes given by Emeritus Professor Robin Wilson in his talk - "Lewis Carroll in Numberland" - to a large gathering of interested students, teachers, lectures, people from industry and many others at the University of Derby, in this, the latest event organised by the East Midlands Branch of the IMA. This particular event was also co-organised with the British Society for the History of Mathematics; Robin is currently President of the BSHM.

Robin, who has written a book of the same name, gave tremendous insight into the life and times of Charles Dodgson (who wrote under the pen-name Lewis Carroll). References that someone who has read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland may have missed were brought to light, such as who the bat referred to in the saying by The Hatter - "Twinkle, twinkle, little bat! How I wonder what you're at.".

Similarly, other works by Charles were brought to life, such as the book The Dynamics of a Particle, or as it should be interpreted "The Dynamics of a Parti-cle", with significance to the 'Parti'.

Robin concluded with detail of Charles' interest in logic in his later years, with examples of extremely complex problems having been found after his death in 1898.

I'm sure Robin will be giving this talk at other events, and if possible, I suggest you make the time to get along to it.

Further talks are already scheduled for December and January, with details on the IMA East Midlands Branch events page.