The 2016 MATRIX Conference featured thirty short talks. The programme and full details of the presentations can be found here.

A selection of the thirty short talks are on YouTube. These are:

‘New developments at MoMath’

Welcome from Cindy Lawrence, The National Museum of Mathematics in New York.

Watch the presentation here.

‘Moving Maths’

Ben Sparks, SparksMaths

We can make mathematics communication even more effective by keeping it Moving. Exploiting animation and dynamic geometry, and raising awareness of the emotional aspect of mathematics are both extremely useful. We’ll explore the common emotional reactions to maths, and check out some moving demonstrations.

Watch the presentation here.

‘Technology and Creativity’

Philipp Legner

New technology has had a tremendous impact on education: in schools, at home, and even in museums. But there is so much more yet to come: How can we provide personalised content for every student? How can we let students explore and discover rather than just memorise algorithms? And how can we create more interactive and engaging and applicable content?

Watch the presentation here.

‘The Power of Mathematical Experiments’

Albrecht Beutelspacher, Mathematikum, Giessen

Mathematical experiments provide an ideal first step into mathematics: They start from real experience (“hands-on”), they stimulate thinking (“minds-on”), they are emotionally rewarding and strengthen the personality (“hearts-on”).

Watch the presentation here.

‘Creative and Playful Maths’

Chris Budd, University of Bath & the Royal Institution

Maths is the ultimately playful subject, with puzzles and games based on maths in great demand. However the creative and playful aspects of maths are not always present in the way that it is taught. In this presentation I will explore the creative side of maths, showing its links to art, sculpture, magic, film production, quilt making and origami. I will also demonstrate how this aspect of maths is perfect for showing off in hands- on exhibitions. As a finale I will demonstrate, with the aid of maths and radio, why many birds (in New Zealand) have names beginning with the letter K.

Watch the presentation here.

‘Royal Institution Masterclasses’’

Samantha Durbin, The Royal Institution, London

Royal Institution Mathematics Masterclasses are series of extra-curricular enrichment workshops designed to inspire and encourage students to think more deeply about the wonders and applications of mathematics. Students are selected by their teachers to attend an entire series of six sessions, allowing them to really explore a range of topics and inspiring them to continue their interest in this far-reaching subject. With over 140 Masterclass series across the country, we support local volunteers from industry, academia and teaching to develop and deliver their own Masterclasses. Come along to have a go at a Masterclass activity and find out more about how we work with mathematicians to help them turn their favourite topic into a 2.5 hour Masterclass.

Watch the presentation here.

‘Storytelling in mathematics – fo(u)r example(s)’

Vanessa Krummeck, Technische Universitat, Munich

This talk will give insights in projects where fairytales and detective stories enriched mathematical experience.

Watch the presentation here.

‘An Exhibition in a Suitcase’

Guido Ramellini et al, Museu de Matemàtiques de Catalunya, Barcelona MMACA Catalonia

What distinguishes materials and activities designed for an exhibition from those designed for a workshop or a classroom? How to connect the experience of a math exhibition to school routines and the established curriculum? We propose a set of fast-deploy activities that aim to bring the world of math exhibition and the world of school education closer.

The “Exhibition in a suitcase” project consists on a series of inexpensive, reproducible and portable materials that can be installed virtually anywhere to deploy a math exhibition that can bring a continuity between the exhibition experience and classroom practice.

The suitcases contain materials that can be used by school teachers to organize instant math exhibition for special events in their school or even daily class routines.

The project is born from collaboration between the MMACA, the math museum of Catalonia, devoted to enrich formal education in mathematics through meaningful hands-on experiences, and IMAGINARY, the world-leading travelling exhibition of modern mathematics.

In a special dedication, this project is also supported by the African Institute of Mathematics (AIMS) to bring instant math exhibitions to African schools and international education projects.

Watch the presentation here.

‘Mathematics and the public: Science Museum approaches to hands-on and history’

Toby Parkin, Lead Curator, Wonderlab: The Statoil Gallery
David Rooney, Lead Curator, Mathematics: The David and Claudia Harding Gallery, The Science Museum

By the end of 2016, the Science Museum, London, will have opened two major new permanent galleries presenting mathematical ideas and histories to a general public audience. One is a hands-on interactive and immersive gallery aimed at school groups and families, presenting scientific and mathematical concepts. The other is an object-based gallery showcasing the Museum’s historical collections, presenting histories of mathematical practice over the past 400 years. In this illustrated presentation, the lead curators of both gallery projects will outline the Museum’s strategy for engaging the public with mathematics and will consider what the Museum has learned from long-term and systematic audience research.

Watch the presentation here.

‘Building a MENACE machine’

Matthew Scroggs, University College London

In 1961, Donald Michie build MENACE (the Machine Educable Noughts And Crosses Engine), a machine built from matchboxes and beads that was able to learn how to play noughts and crosses. In this talk I will explain how it is possible to make matchboxes learn and I will show off the copy of Michie’s machine that I have built.

Watch the presentation here.

‘Adventures in Maths Public Engagement’

Katie Steckles, StandUpMaths

Dr Katie Steckles is a mathematician based in Manchester, who delivers talks and workshops on mathematical topics. She’s also been involved in various large-scale mass-participation public engagement projects with mathematics, and will be sharing the stories of how those projects came about, what happened and what her next adventure will be…

Watch the presentation here.

‘Viruses, origami, and computer models’

Hamish Todd, research student, University of Edinburgh

Of all living things, viruses are the most “mathematically perfect”, and are a major example of mathematics facilitating medical breakthroughs. Constructing viruses in origami is a natural way for laypersons to come to understand viruses – the analogy is so strong that dozens of origamists have “accidentally” come out with designs that mimic viruses. While creating origami to illustrate virus structure, we came upon the work of MIT’s computational origami group, and found that software of theirs could be adapted to study HIV. We will be showing several pieces of origami, and three programs that let users “play” with viruses.

Watch the presentation here.

‘University Mathematics Outreach programmes’

Joe Watkins, University of Kent, UK

Although there are many HE institutions with established STEM Outreach programmes, it is not yet understood how such work will influence HE recruitment or the uptake of STEM subjects at any level of education. Given the recent Government papers on this topic and with the TEF looming large, which stresses the theme of Widening Participation, these matters will soon be very important to HE institutions. In this session we will discuss preliminary findings based on the Maths Outreach programme at the University of Kent, giving an outline of what works and what doesn’t in terms of Outreach and HE recruitment

Watch the presentation here.