Annual Festival of Science,

Cardiff University, 7-11 September 1998

Mathematical Sciences sessions

Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | |

morning | Language and machines | Discovering mathematics by computer | Medical decision making | ||

afternoon | Numeracy and the mind | Mathematics applied to agriculture | The mathematics and physics of music |

Organizer: General and Mathematical Sciences sections

University of Sheffield:

Human-computer conversation is a technology where striking developments come from ignoring received wisdoms. Researchers aim for a practical implementation of a difficult task: in effect, they ignore any theory and just `have a go'. This strategy is condemned by theorists who argue that climbing a tree cannot get one to the moon, even if it feels like a step in the right direction. This talk assesses `theory-laden' and `theory-free' approaches, and the role of competitions for the most human-seeming program.

Cardiff University:

This talk discusses and demonstrates how a copmuter can be programmed to produce natural language, starting from the meanings to be expressed and finishing with the structures that express them.

University of Lancaster:

The British National Corpus---a 100-million word treasury of text-data---provides an example of how computers have brought a previously unimagined ability to study and process language in data-intensive ways. But have our minds kept up with technology?

University of Oxford:

Computer models in the form of artificial neural networks have been used to stimulate young children's language development. What do these models tell us about how the brain is wired-up for language and what can we learn from them about both normal and disordered language in children and adults?

Organizer: Psychology and Mathematical Sciences sections

University of North London:

This session will elaborate the Numeracy Centre concept of effective teaching of number. It will focus on what is involved in the `teaching' aspect of this model---the `on the rug' part of the title. It will describe effective strategies, particularly for dealing with the whole class or a large group and consider the classroom management issues raised.

University of London Institute of Education:

People identified as `calendrical calculators' answer date questions with extraordinary speed. Several have severe intellectual difficulties. Whether arithmetical ability explains their talent will be discussed in the light of recent studies.

University College London:

One part of our brain seems to specialised for handling numbers. Damage to it can lead to very specific deficits in calculation and in reading and writing numbers.

University of Oxford:

Research suggests that specific arithmetical weaknesses are quite common in children and adults and are often restricted to particular aspects of arithmetic, which can vary between individuals. Implications for a Numeracy Recovery Intervention Scheme are discussed.

University of Wales at Bangor:

Seventy-two wide-ranging mathematics items were given to 268 ten-year-old dyslexic children. They were compared both with normal achievers and with non-dyslexic underachievers. The results are discussed.

University of Exeter:

There is currently much enthusiasm for Family Numeracy, or involving parents in their children's mathematics learning. But do parents teach mathematics the same way that teachers do? And how far does this matter? This talk will provide some answers to these questions.

University of Oxford:

The lecture will describe some of the material in the Mathematics Masterclasses, which began in 1980 at the Royal Institution as enrichment material for gifted thirteen-year olds and which have now spread to over 35 centres in the United Kingdom.

Organizer: Mathematical Sciences, Agriculture and Forestry, and Biological Sciences sections

Wye College, University of London:

Cunning use of design and analysis methods in experiments and surveys can increase precision and decrease effort in research studies. Modern computer packages can extract the `story' from complex datasets.

Scottish Crop Research Institute, Dundee:

The soil microbial community is more diverse and fundamental to life on earth than a tropical forest ecosystem, yet it is little understood. Theoretcial studies of the soil environment shed a little light.

Rosemary Bailey,

Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London:

Conclusions from agricultural experiments may be invalid if neighbours are ignored: tall sunflowers shade short ones, or pests from an infested plot spread. Mathematics helps us to design such experiments.

Organizer: Mathematical Sciences section

Cardiff University:

Scientists rely heavily on computers and trust the answers they obtain. Simple examples are presented in which computers give wrong answers. These examples will be re-formulated to give correct answers.

Chichester Institute of Higher Education:

A modern microcomputer equipped with suitable software (so-called Dynamic Geometry Systems) is the geometric explorer's equivalent of the astronomer's Hubble telescope. You just need to turn your attention to a promising place to look in order to make discoveries. But then the fun starts---can you prove your results?!

Cardiff University:

Using sunspot data this session demonstrates the advances in data analysis and smooth non-linear modelling techniques which enable the construction of accurate short range predictions for high dimensional chaotic systems.

Organizer: Mathematical Sciences and Physics sections

Cardiff University:

The lecture explores many exciting aspects of sound, covering the whole range from infra-sound to ultra-sound. The physical properties of sound are highlighted and the amazing capabilities of the human ear are demonstrated---together with ways in which our ears may deceive us and `deafness' may be established.

University of Leeds:

In change-ringing of bells, science meets art to produce music. Underlying it all is interesting and useful mathematics. This will be described by the lecturer and demonstrated by the audience!

Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London:

How a geometer sees and hears music, or (depending on your point of view) how a composer uses geometry.

Cardiff University:

This lecture explores the physics of sound production on the violin and reviews some of the scientific work investigating the validity of myths and folklore associated with early Italian violins.

Organizer: Mathematical Sciences and Medical sections

St. Thomas' Hospital, London:

Diabetes is a common disease but its management is complex: however, decision support systems can assist non-specialists to manage diabetes more effectively.

University of Wales College of Medicine:

Cardiff University:

This talk will trace the path of your sample from the surgery to the pathology lab and back, highlighting the various stages in the analysis and what decisions are involved.

Page maintained by R. A. Bailey.