View the latest news from departments within the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Medicine below.
The Department of Computer Science and the Mathematics Institute jointly hosted, last Saturday 7th December, the Christmas Meeting for 2019 of the British Society for the History of Mathematics.
Our Departments have a long and strong association with the BSHM which has an established tradition of having its Christmas meeting in the Midlands. With about 50 participants, including some staff and students from both our Departments, there were 8 talks in the day ranging from figurate numbers in the 9th century, Islamic use of sexagesimal calculation for π and sine values in the 15th century, to fascinating details of Victorian data processing and the mathematical semantics of programming languages in more recent times.
There were plenty of interesting questions arising and lively discussions in the refreshment intervals. There was also a presentation of the BSHM Neumann Prize and the Society's AGM.
The day was widely acclaimed as enjoyable and successful. Our thanks are due to both Departments for their sponsorship, to the admin and technical support in Computer Science, and to the local organising work of Steve Russ and Adam Jones. Further information about the BSHM is at https://www.bshm.ac.uk/.
Full list of speakers:
- Helen Ross - Dicuil and triangular numbers
- Steve Russ - Visions in the night: Bolzano's anticipations of continuity
- Jane Wess - From Newton to Newcomen: mathematics and technology 1687-1800
- Troy Astarte - On the difficulty of describing difficult things
- Catalin Iorga - Known and unknown in Al-Kashi's mathematics
- Robin Wilson - Hunting and counting trees: the world of Cayley and Sylvester
- Chris Pritchard - From collecting coins to searching the archives: personal reflections on becoming a historian of mathematics
- Martin Campbell-Kelly - Victorian data processing
Another election, another exit poll!
At the UK general election on 12 December the exit poll, which is commissioned jointly by broadcasters BBC, ITV and Sky, will again use the methods that were introduced in 2001 by Professor David Firth (in joint work with Professor John Curtice of the University of Strathclyde).
The new methods have led to renewed trust in exit polls, which since 2001 have been remarkably accurate in predicting House of Commons seat totals — a prediction made at 10pm on election day, immediately after polling stations close their doors.
David Firth says:
It's great to see the approach that I suggested and developed in 2001–2005 being used still in 2019. Its success is due mainly to purposeful statistical thinking in both the design and the analysis of the exit poll; and partly of course also to luck! But it could not succeed without, in addition, the work of a brilliant team of academics on the election day itself.
The election-day team analysing the 2019 exit poll will again be led by Sir John Curtice. The team's statistical expert has since 2010 been Professor Jouni Kuha (LSE) — a good friend of David Firth's since the 1990s. David says of this: "Perhaps the most remarkable thing, for me personally, is that Jouni can still manage to run the same R code that I threw together in haste before the 2005 election!"
For more information on the exit-poll method and its track record, see the Exit Poll Explainer page at warwick.ac.uk/exitpolling.
On 10 December the European Research Council (ERC) announced the recipients of its latest Consolidator Grant competition: 301 top scientists and scholars across Europe. Funding for these researchers, part of the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, is worth in total €600 million. With this support, the new grantees will have a chance to build up their teams and have far-reaching impact.
Dr Mika Vesterinen from the Elementary Particle Physics group has been awarded over €1.8 million for a project to advance our knowledge of the fundamental physical forces of nature, using one of the particle detectors at the CERN facility. He said: “The Standard Model makes several precise predictions that are yet to be matched by experimental measurements of the same precision. The ERC funding allows me to build a team of experts that will confront this problem with innovative high-precision analyses of data from the LHCb experiment at CERN.
“A significant disagreement between our measurements and the predictions would indicate new physics beyond the Standard Model, which is the holy grail of particle physics.”
How sand fly mating habits are helping tackle tropical disease in £2.5M project
The tropical disease Leishmaniasis is being tackled by catching female sand flies who carry the parasite that causes the disease. Scientists led by Dr Orin Courtenay of Warwick University and Professor Gordon Hamilton of Lancaster University, developed the concept as part of a £2.5M project funded by The Wellcome Trust and published in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases.
Royal Academy of Engineering Fellowship awarded to Dr Wei He.
Professor Kerry Kirwan has been appointed as the new Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor (Research) for Knowledge Exchange and Partnerships, for the University of Warwick.
Knowledge exchange, industry partnerships and innovation are key components of much of the University’s research, with Professor Kirwan appointed to support this growing area.
Kerry, a Professor at WMG is also a Director of the £11m EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Sustainable Materials and Manufacturing (EngD), Strategic Director of the £10m Industrial Doctorate Centre and Head of WMG’s Sustainable Materials and Manufacturing Research Group. He also sits on the University’s Research Executive Group.
Professor Kirwan is actively involved in the newly emerging Knowledge Exchange Framework programme, Monash-Warwick Alliance, Warwick in Europe, the Global Challenges Research Fund, Midlands Innovation, Energy Research Accelerator (ERA) and the Innovative Manufacturing and Future Materials GRP.
Speaking about his new appointment, Professor Kirwan said: “I am delighted to take up this position and very much look forward to continuing to work with the Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research to ensure we continue to grow our knowledge exchange, innovation and business and industry partnerships, and ultimately advance the outstanding research achievements of the University.”
Professor Pam Thomas, Pro-Vice Chancellor (Research), commented: “Professor Kirwan will play a critical role and his skills and experience will be instrumental in furthering the development of Warwick as a leading research-intensive University with strong industry partnerships – locally, nationally and globally.”
We are sorry to report that Professor Elmer Rees, from the first cohort of PhD students in Warwick, died on 4th October 2019.
The Division of Biomedical Sciences are now signatories to @DORAssessment - we are working to develop and promote best practice in the assessment of scholarly research.
Congratulations to Professor Dieter Wolke@PretermWarwick who is in the 0.1% of most highly cited scientists in the world by @webofscience
Each year, the Web of Science Group identifies the world’s most influential researchers. The select few who have been most frequently cited by their peers over the last decade. In 2019, fewer than 6,300, or 0.1%, of the world’s researchers, across 21 research fields, have earned this exclusive distinction.
Professor Dieter Wolke is among this elite group recognized for his exceptional research influence, demonstrated by the production of multiple highly-cited papers that rank in the top 1% by citations for field and year (Cross-Field) in Web of Science.