You can view the recordings of our past Maths Cafe Talks by following the links below – enjoy 🙂

All videos can be viewed on our YouTube channel – Watch them all here!

Algebra from a Geometer’s Perspective: 18/11/2020

Dr Alexandre Martin (HWU) tells us about the bridges between algebra and geometry.

Squirrels in a nutshell: 20/01/2021

Prof Andy White (HWU) talks about red squirrel conservation and population modelling using mathematics.

Illustrating Algebra: Symbols, Words and Pictures. 03/02/2021

Prof Nick Gilbert (HWU) uses pictures and symbols to demonstrate the fun of Algebra and explain some unexpected outcomes.

Optimal transport, INDYREF2 and the steel industry: 17/02/2021

Dr David Bourne introduces the hot topic of optimal transport theory, the mathematical fields in which it is found and applications to real world problems.

Algebra and Geometry meet Computer Science: 24/03/2021

Dr Laura Ciobanu talks about the meeting of group theory, combinatorics and computer science which inspires her research.

What can I do with Maths? From Neuroscience to Wind Energy: 06/10/2021

Dr Emma Coutts talks about using her ‘mathematical tool kit’ to tackle problems in neuroscience such as how do neurons process signals? And how maths is used in the development of wind farms from site assessment to optimisation of wind farm operation.

What is a Teaching Specialist?: 03/11/2021

Dr Tom Wong talks describes the role of a teaching specialist and why having teaching specialists is so important. Find out how someone ‘levels-up’ their teaching game with hints and tips from his own teaching experience.

Mathematical Models for Climate Change – Tipping Points in Desert Ecosystems: 17/11/2021

Prof Jonathan Sherratt explains: The natural world abounds with spatial patterns, and the very largest of these occur when an entire ecosystem is patterned. Examples include banded vegetation in sub-Saharan Africa, striped mussel beds in the Wadden Sea, ribbon forests in North American this talk I will review some of these patterns and discuss the way in which mathematical models are being used to understand the underlying mechanisms and to assess their vulnerability to climate change. 

From Interpolation to Machine Learning for UQ and Volcanic Eruptions: 26/01/2022

Prof Gabriel Lord from Radboud University explains how numerical techniques can help in uncertainty quantification and how they can speed up computations in the prediction of smoke plume trajectories from volcanic eruptions; timely predications are important for air traffic control. This is work is in collaboration with some of the British Geological Survey Team based at Heriot Watt.

Spectral Networks and Quantum Field Theory: 16/02/2022

Dr Lotte Hollands – This talk will feature a mix of geometry, topology and physics. I will start with introducing the concept of a spectral network. Aside from lots of cool pictures/videos, I will explain why these networks are relevant in mathematics, and how they encode particles in a four-dimensional quantum field theory!

Wealth Condensation and Corruption: 16/03/2022

Prof Des Johnston – The rich really are different……Empirical observations suggest that extremes of wealth follow a power law distribution, while the rest of us are stuck on a log-normal distribution.
We discuss a simple model of an economy composed solely of zillionaires with a power law distribution of individual wealth combined with a constraint on the total amount of money. As the density of wealth increases in such a model one person can end up with an extensive fraction of the total.

Energy Levels of Quantum systems: 30/03/2022

Dr Anatoly Konechny – Quantum physics has many applications in electronics. One important characteristic of such systems is the structure of their energy levels. A typical feature of quantum systems is that their energy cannot take arbitrary values but only a discrete set of (quantised) values.
Mathematical models of quantum systems can rarely be solved exactly to find the precise values of the energy levels and in practice one resorts to numerical calculations. I will show some computer generated plots of how energy levels of some simple many body systems (like a chain of atoms interacting with their nearest neighbours) look like and how they behave when one changes parameters (like temperature or magnetic field). I will discuss some challenges and open mathematical problems in this field.