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WMI Lockdown Masterclasses on Mathematical Thinking--Past Events

Session Three: Harmony and Dissonance

Presentation Slides

Thursday, 18th June, 16:00- 17:30 BST

Led by: Minhyong Kim 

When certain musical notes are played together, they produce a pleasing sound and the phenomenon is called harmony. The mythical mathematician Pythagoras is reputed to have discovered a mathematical basis for this. They say he was so impressed by this discovery that he leapt to the conclusion that ‘All is Number!’ Somewhat surprisingly, scientists have elaborated on this philosophy substantially over the subsequent millennia, so that we are almost led to believe that Pythagoras was right. On the other hand, I’ve always felt a bit sorry for dissonance, that is, the so-called ‘unpleasant' combination of notes. I will explain in this talk what Pythagoras had in mind, and also make a sympathetic case for dissonance.

Target audience: First 30 minutes should be generally accessible. The next 30 minutes might be best for upper primary school and beyond. The last part will be best understood by year 9 students and beyond. Feel free to join and leave at any point.

Register online for this masterclass via the registration form on the right hand column of this page.

Registration closes at 10pm BST on Wednesday 17th June 2020 

circle

Circular Forms (1930) by Robert Delaunay

Session Two: Is Democracy Possible?

Presentation Slides

Thursday, 11th June, 16:00- 17:30 BST

Led by: Minhyong Kim 

Abstract: 'Could populism actually be good for democracy? ' Asks an article in the Guardian (11 October 2018). The author goes on to observe that 'Modern democracies all rest on a claim of popular sovereignty – the proposition that all legitimate governments grow out of the power of a people, and in some way are subject to its will. Yet when a large majority of a country’s people vehemently supports policies a critic finds abhorrent, many liberals, even avowed democrats, recoil in horror.’

In these complicated times, people of diverse political persuasions will blame democracy or the lack of it for the perceived ills of their own societies and of the international order. This class will investigate by way of a few examples the insights provided by mathematical thinking on the possibilities and limitations of democracy.

Target audience: Material most suitable for school years 5 to 13, although all are welcome

Register online for this masterclass via the registration form on the right hand column of this page.

Registration closes at 5pm BST on Wednesday 10th June 2020 

Tennis Court Oath

The Tennis Court Oath (1791), Jacques-Louis David

Session One: The Mathematical Matchmaker

Presentation Slides

Thursday, 4th June 2020, 16:00-17:30 BST  

Led by: Minhyong Kim

Abstract: What kind of skills does one need in order to be a successful matchmaker? Empathy, emotional intelligence, a wide network of friends, good communication skills, wisdom in general,… those all sound good: Where is Jane Austen when you need her? But how far can we get with purely mathematical thinking? Surely, mathematics has little to say about romance! Do come and find out.

Target audience: Material most suitable for school years 5 to 13, although all are welcome

Register online for this masterclass via the registration form on the right hand column of this page.

Registration closed for this session at 3.00 pm BST on Wednesday 3rd June 2020

raphael-galatea