Monday, 17 January 2011

IBM Prize for Mathematics

This evening it was my privilege to present the inaugural IBM Prize for Mathematics at Oxford University which is awarded for the top performance in the Honour Moderations exams at the end of 1st year.

The evening started with a talk on the mathematics of bell ringing (think church rather than door or hand) from the retired head of mathematics at GCHQ.   I followed this with a short overview of IBM and why we are interested in mathematics graduates before presenting the winners with their certificates.

Sitting in the lecture room was an interesting reminder of attending lectures over 20 years ago when I was doing my own degree.  The room was much the same but I did notice the seats had been reupholstered and the blackboards have been replaced by whiteboards.

After the talks the other speaker and I were taken to Christ Church College for dinner which was very good.  Hall is impressive even without the floating candles I was sure it had when I saw it a film a while back....

Over coffee after dinner the conversation ranged over sculpture, ancient Greek manuscripts (Epic and poetry), Greek mathematicians, trisecting angles, Euclid, von Neuman, and all points in between :-)

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