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, 25 April 2013

IMA Branch Event - Derby

At the latest IMA East Midlands Branch Talk, given by Noel-Ann Bradshaw from the University of Greenwich, there was an interesting mix of people in the audience, including mathematicians and nurses. From this you might be able to work out that Noel-Ann was speaking about Florence Nightingale, with the topic being: 'using graphical statistical analysis to combat the spread of disease'.

Noel-Ann, a Council Member of the IMA, and a Council Member of the British Society for the History of Mathematics (BSHM), gave insight into the early life of Florence, looking at 'Who was she?', her home life, her character and also her education. All facts having been unearthed through doing some research. Noel-Ann cited several sources, including Mark Bostridge's biography of Florence and the BSHM article on Florence by M Eileen Magnello.

Noel-Ann went on to speak of many aspects of Florence's work and achievements. One that stuck in mind was the report to the Commission, which looked more like a novel, than a report! Intertwined with this was the discussion of Florence's famous statistics, including 'polar area diagrams'. Upon conclusion of the talk the audience asked several diverse questions, covering both mathematics and nursing!

Noel-Ann had travelled far to give this talk and I'm sure if you're interested in hearing about Florence you might be able to see the presentation elsewhere, perhaps at another IMA Branch event (like via the West Midlands Branch on 12th November!).    

Further talks are already scheduled this term in the IMA East Mildands Branch, with the next talk being: 'Some interesting observations on the early history of differential equations' by Tony Croft (Loughborough University) on 23rd May.