December 2015: Norman Biggs – Strictly not dancing
With the season finale set to air just before Christmas, Norman Biggs, Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at LSE, has addressed some questions arising from the scoring system of the popular UK television programme Strictly Come Dancing. Taking the limited data the programme reveals, Norman shows that it is still possible to deduce public voting trends.
December 2015: PhD Christmas competition: best mathematics joke
For the last few years, the Department has run a (somewhat silly...) Christmas competition for our PhD students. For 2015, we asked them all to write some cracker jokes for our Christmas party - the only rule was they had to be maths related. Here were some of our top entries:
- Why does the Matrix Algebra teacher only lecture at home? ... Because he rarely commutes!
- Why was the Python bad at sums? ... Because he wasn't much of an Adder!
- Why did the topologist marry her husband? ... They simply connected.
And the winner was Matthew Jenssen:
- Why did the mathematician name his dog Cauchy? ... Because he left a residue at every pole!
Ho ho ho! Merry Christmas everyone!
December 2015: Danny Quah – The world’s tightest cluster of people
Danny Quah (Professor of Economics and International Development at LSE, Director of the Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre, at LSE’s Institute of Global Affairs, and a Senior Fellow at LSE IDEAS) considers large economic facts about the world that mathematics helps uncover. In his blog article "The world’s tightest cluster of people", Danny tries to locate the smallest area of our planet containing a majority of the world's population.
December 2015: Festive Bake-Off
Staff from the Department of Mathematics got their competitive Christmas bake on, cooking up a feast of sweet treats and offering them up to the gingham altar. It was a closely fought contest of gingerbread versus puff pastry, with the ultimate winnings being awarded jointly to a marvellous selection of Plätzchen and some fabulously fruity Festive Flapjacks. Best of all, our fun and frolics raised a great contribution to the Crisis at Christmas fund.
December 2015: Public Event: Using Mathematics: Making Big Economics Visible to the Human Eye
World-renowned Professor Danny Quah (Professor of Economics and International Development, LSE) discussed large economic facts about the world which mathematics helps to uncover. The event was hosted jointly by the LSESU Applicable Maths Society and the Department of Mathematics and was chaired by Professor Jan van den Heuvel (Mathematics, LSE).
The video of the lecture can be viewed here with accompanying slides available here.
December 2015: Departmental Christmas party
As we come to the end of Michaelmas Term 2015, all staff and PhD students joined together at our Christmas lunch to celebrate a busy and successful year. We've seen lots of exciting changes and welcomed a number of new members to the team so this was a perfect opportunity for everyone to catch up, relax and begin their countdown to Christmas and the New Year. Have a fantastic break, everyone!
December 2015: Haya Freedman Prize 2014/5
Congratulations to Alastair Maxwell and William C Palmer joint winners of the Haya Freedman Prize for "Best Dissertations" 2014/5 on the MSc Applicable Mathematics programme. To find out more about the Prize please click here.
November 2015: Giacomo Zambelli (LSE) awarded the 2015 Lanchester Prize by INFORMS
Giacomo Zambelli, Assistant Professor in LSE’s Mathematics Department (with co-authors Gerard Cornuejols (Tepper School of Business) and Michele Conforti (University of Padova)) has been awarded the prestigious Frederick W. Lanchester Prize for 2015 by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS), the largest professional body in the world in the field of operations research, management science, and analytics. The prize, which honours “the best contribution to operations research and the management sciences published in English in the past three years”, was awarded for their book “Integer Programming”, published by Springer in December 2014. It is of note that the prize, conferred since 1954, is so selective that it was not awarded four of the previous six
Martin Anthony, head of the Mathematics Department, said “I am delighted that Giacomo’s outstanding work in mathematical operations research and his ability to communicate it has been recognized by the award of this prestigious prize. The prize committee has noted that this major book ‘will serve the next generation of researchers to further advance the field in the years ahead’. We congratulate Giacomo on this achievement.”
October 2015: Tom Lidbetter (LSE) - Being Hunted
Viewers of Channel 4's intense reality television show Hunted might have been stunned by the degree to which our behaviour can be monitored and predicted by hidden surveillance systems and the state. Tom Lidbetter's blog article "Being “Hunted”: how randomness can help" looks at the best randomised strategies both for searching and hiding using game theory.
October 2015: Boat Party
On Thursday 8th October, our MSc Applicable Mathematics, MSc Financial Mathematics, PhD students and staff got together for a boat party on the River Thames. Setting off from Westminster Pier and cruising down to Greenwich. Along the way they were able to enjoy some of London's many well-known landmarks such as the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye, Tower Bridge, Canary Wharf, Cutty Sark and the Old Royal Navel College. It was a great evening and an excellent start to the new term!
October 2015: Departmental Teaching Prize Winners – 2014-15
We are very happy to announce the winners of the Departmental Teaching Prizes for academic year 2014-15: Hao Hang, Matthew Jenssen, Amal Merhi & Barnaby Roberts. The photos show Jan van den Heuvel (Head of Department 2011-15) awarding them with certificates and prizes to thank them for the excellent teaching they delivered as Graduate Teaching Assistants.
October 2015: Maths at LSE Blog launch
The Department celebrated the launch of our blog (Maths at LSE) by joining together with Communications and Research colleagues across the School for an afternoon reception. We are very grateful to Adrian Thomas (Director of Communications), Chris Gilson (Managing Editor LSE USAPP blog) and Sierra Williams (Managing Editor LSE Impact blog) for presenting their experiences of academic blogging, social media and communications strategy. It was a very fun, informative event and really inspired us all to get blogging! Some great photos, captured by Dr Tugkan Batu, can be found here.
September 2015: Macmillan Coffee Morning
The Department took part in the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning to raise funds for Macmillan. Lots of staff got their bake on, with sweet treats including Black Forest gateaux, luschious lemon fairies and chocolate orange cupcakes, and savoury delights such as Spanish tortilla and feta parcels. It was a great opportunity to shares elevenses and raise money for a fantastic cause.
August 2015: Congratulations to Pucheng and Yavor!
Pucheng Shi and Yavor Stoev have been awarded their PhDs in Mathematics. For details of their thesis titles, supervisors, and the ever-growing list of PhD alumni of the department, please view our PhD "Roll of Honour". Congratulations Drs Shi and Stoev!
August 2015: Combinatorics Colloquia 2015 report published
The write up from our Combinatorics Colloquia 2015 is now available to read online - just follow this link. It provides a summary of all our speakers' presentations and some great photos which really capture the sense of the event. Join us next year for our 10 year anniversary!
August 2015: New seminar series within the department
We are very pleased to add the Seminar on Operations Research to our seminar series, as of Michaelmas Term 2015. The series will run on Wednesday afternoons, from 4pm - 5pm in OLD.1.26 (Old Building, LSE). The first seminar takes places on 2 September, when Zeev Nutov (The Open University of Israel) will speak on 'On LP-Relaxations for the Tree Augmentation Problem'.
July 2015: Changing of the guard
The end of the month bought a major change to the Department: the Head of Department role passed from Professor Jan van den Heuvel to Professor Martin Anthony. We named the day 'Jandependence Day', in Jan's honour, to thank him for the incredible work he has done for the team over the past four years - far too much to mention here. We also wanted to welcome Martin into his new, very important role and what better way to do that than to have a party! We were very happy to be joined by colleagues, both burrent and former, as well as our PhD students. There was specially-crafted maths bunting, balloons, beer from our favourite brewer (Dave Scott of Kew Brewery), an orb, a sceptre and even a delicious cake in the shape of a crown - every coronation needs one! We have now entered the era of 'Martination' and look forward to all that is to come!
July 2015: LSESU Student-Led Teaching awards 2015
This year, more than 20 of the teachers in the Department of Mathematics were nominated for a Student-Led Teaching Award. We congratulate all of these teachers on receiving their nominations and thank them for all their efforts to provide high quality teaching and feedback throughout the year. Read more about the nominations in the full article.
July 2015: Prizewinners aplenty!
Summer Term is a time for celebration and we're very pleased to announce the following winners in 2015:
LSE Teaching Promotion Awards: Dr Amol Sasane was promoted to Professor in recognition of his exemplary contributions to courses that are compulsory, challenging and highly technical, including effective student feedback and the design of original resources that have been inherited and highly valued by junior faculty in the department, as well as for services to theUndergraduate Studies Sub-Committee and the departmental teaching committee.
LSE Class Teacher Awards: Elisabeth Grieger, Matthew Jenssen, Philip Johnson, Tony Whelan and Georgios Zouros were nominated by our department in recognition of the special contribution made to teaching.
Mathematics Student Prizewinners 2015
Cyril Offord Prize 2015 - this prize for outstanding performance in Mathematics was awarded to Jeremy Macrae, BSc Mathematics and Economics. Jeremy said “I have spent an amazing three years at the LSE in large part thanks to the Mathematics Department.” Read more...
Institute of Mathematics and its Applications Prize - Shyamal Patel, BSc Mathematics and Economics, is this year’s Joint Winner of the IMA Prize for Outstanding Performance in the Final Year of an Institute of Mathematics and its Applications approved course.
July 2015: Public lecture: A Beautiful Question: finding nature's deep design
World-class physicist and Nobel laureate Professor Frank Wilczek (MIT) discussed his new book, "A Beautiful Question", which argues that beauty is at the heart of the logic of the universe, a principle that had guided his pioneering work in quantum physics. A Beautiful Question is the culmination of Wilczek's life work, a work that looks to combine the age-old quest for beauty with the age-old quest for truth.The press release can be read here.
The event was chaired by Professor Bernhard von Stengel. The podcast of the lecture can be viewed here, the video of the lecture can be viewed here and photographs taken by Dr Tugkan Batu can be seen here.
July 2015: It All Adds Up: Celebrating 150 Years of Women Across the Mathematical Sciences
The department sponsored, Judy Wang, MSc Applicable Mathematics 2014/15 student to attend the following conference at Oxford University in April 2015: "It All Adds Up: Celebrating 150 Years of Women Across the Mathematical Sciences". An article written by Judy about her experience at the Conference can be found here.
June 2015: Maths at LSE blog launches!
We're very excited to announce the launch of our research blog, 'Maths at LSE'! The core mission of this blog is to increase public awareness and understanding of the research we undertake within our Department. Blog entries will highlight news and views on the work of our academic colleagues, both those based here in the Department and our esteemed guests. Take a look here.
Current entries come from Andre Nies (University of Auckland), Yannai A. Gonczarowski (Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Microsoft Research), Bernhard von Stengel (LSE) and Andy Lewis-Pye (LSE)
Workshop on Search Games and Rendezvous
The Shard, Warwick Business School London Campus: July 6 and 7, 2015
Confirmed Speakers: Shmuel Gal (Haifa, Israel) Robbert Fokkink (TU Delft, Netherlands) Thomas Lidbetter (LSE, UK) Noemi Zoroa (Murcia, Spain)
Organisers: Steve Alpern, ORMS Group, Warwick Business School, University of Warwick: firstname.lastname@example.org Thomas Lidbetter, LSE: email@example.com
Talks on all topics related to search and patrolling, including predator-prey games, are welcome. Rendezvous problems will also be covered. This is an ‘informal’ workshop with no fees, but prior registration through the organisers is required. More information can be found here.
May 2015: LSE Green Impact: Gold Project Award received
The Department was very excited to be presented with a Gold Project Award at this year's Green Impact Awards. The Award reflects the high level of involvement and green saving we have demonstrated within the department. This photograph of our award features some of the wonderful new plants we have recently cultivated.
May 2015: Prof. von Stengel interviewed on BBC World News
Prof. Bernhard von Stengel appeared on BBC World news on Monday 25 May, following the sad news of John Nash's tragic death. Prof. ven Stengel was interviewed by the anchor, discussing Nash's work in game theory and how this relates to the Greek financial crisis, particularly with reference to negotiating with creditors.
April 2015: SSLC Annual Lunch
As a small token of our thanks for all their hard work this year, we took our undergraduate and masters student representatives from the departmental Staff-Student Liaison Committees (SSLCs) out to lunch at The Old Bank of England. Good food and good company was an excellent way to spend a lunchtime.
The SSLCs for each programme meet regularly to discuss matters of common interest. The committees are central to effective quality assurance of courses and programmes and provide a key forum for student engagement. We really do appreciate the work our representatives: thank you, everyone!
April 2015: LSE Undergraduate Offer Holders' Visit Day
The department was delighted to meet incoming students at LSE Offer Holders’ Day. Martin Anthony talked them through the degree programmes and gave a mini-lecture on the mathematics behind the Gale-Shapley algorithm for producing stable matchings, something with important economic and other applications (and work for which Gale and Shapley were awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics). Offer holders, staff and current students then had lunch together, with plenty of time for discussion and questions. We look forward to welcoming the participants to the department in September!
April 2015: Postgraduate Combinatorial Conference 2015
The LSE Department of Mathematics had a good showing at the recent 2015 Postgraduate Combinatorial Conference held at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), with five of our combinatorics PhD students (Ewan, Matthew, Daniel, Barnaby and Ahmad, who wrote this brief report) giving a talk on recent progress on their respective research problems.
The students also had a chance to network and discuss research problems with fellow research students from the wider combinatorics community from around the UK.
The LSE wish to thank the event organisers (Katie Clinch and Trevor Pinto, QMUL) for hosting the event and we look forward for the 2016 edition.
For more information on our PhD students’ research interests, please click here.
March 2015: PhD Alumna wins Mastermind 2015
Hearty congratulations are extended to Dr Marianne Fairthorne, following her spectacular, close-fought win on BBC's Mastermind 2015. She saw off five other finalists by scoring 25 points and, crucially, no passes. Her specialist subject was the life of the 15th century Italian noblewoman Caterina Sforza and she showed excellent prowess in the general knowledge round, too. In previous rounds, Marianne specialised in such topics as the Roman Empress Livia (the villainess in I Claudius) and Çatalhöyük – a fantastic large Neolithic and Chalcolithic site now in Turkey.
Marianne is one of our PhD alumni who was awarded her doctorship in June 2011. Marianne now works as a quantitative analyst in London and is a regular quizzer. Of particular note, she reached the quarter finals of University Challenge in 2008/9 as part of the LSE team – they lost to the eventual winners that year. Also, in 2013, she led the Festival Fans team to the semi-finals in Only Connect.
March 2015: MSc Students' Bletchley Park visit
On Saturday 7 March, a group of our Applicable Mathematics Masters students visited Bletchley Park, the iconic heritage site of World War 2 codebreaking. The most famous of the cipher systems to be broken at Bletchley Park was the Enigma, subject of the 2014 award-winning film, "The Imitation Game".
March 2015: Dr Paul Dütting presents “Spectrum Auction” poster in Parliament
Paul Dütting, an LSE Fellow in the Department of Mathematics, presented his poster “Spectrum auctions: Greed is good,… if you do it well!” at SET for Britain 2015 on 9 March at Westminster. The poster addressed the issue of how mathematics can help organise the optimum sale of spectrum rights. Based on Dr Dütting’s article, “The Performance of Deferred-Acceptance Auctions”, the poster was well-received and prompted a number of questions from the audience of MPs, scientists, engineers and fellow mathematicians. For more information about the event, please click here.
February 2015: The Department of Mathematics joins Twitter
We're very excited to have launched our Twitter account. Come and follow us: @LSEMaths. There'll be more social media developments coming in the next few weeks so please keep checking back.
January 2015: Dr Dütting's poster to be displayed at SET for BRITAIN 2015
We are very pleased and proud to announce that Dr Paul Dütting's poster, entitled "Spectrum Auctions: Greed is Good,… If You Do It Well!", has been selected to appear at the final of the SET for BRITAIN 2015 Mathematical Sciences Session on 9 March. The session runs from 18:15–21:00 in the Attlee Suite, Portcullis House.
The overall aim of SET for BRITAIN is to encourage, support and promote Britain's early-stage and early-career research scientists, engineers, technologists and mathematicians who are an essential part of continuing progress in and development of UK research and R&D through a series of posters and exhibitions.
Congratulations, Paul—we look forward to seeing your poster soon!