Today’s a public holiday in England so there’s no in-depth Monday post from me. Instead here’s a picture of me with a two boxes of DVDs on teaching students to write mathematics.

## Jo Marchant: Decoding the Heavens video...

posted by Kevin Houston

Haven’t had much time to compose a blog entry as I’ve been trying to organize the final bits of advertising and uploading for the DVD. I’m hoping I will have a boxful of copies by the end of the week ready for the launch at the CETL-MSOR Conference at the start of September – I’m giving my talk on the 6th. Also, I’ve been trying to get some research done which at the moment involves finishing two papers and trying to understand a whole new area of mathematics (more on that some other time). Furthermore, I’ve got two PhD students who will be submitting their theses this coming year so I have to read some drafts to make sure they have results worthy of publication. Hence if you think academics are not busy during university holidays then think again. Anyhow, I seem to have written more than I expected. All I wanted to show you was a video: The Antikythera Mechanism is fascinating example of the sophistication of ancient Greek/Roman mathematics and engineering. A geared “clockwork” mechanism from around the first century BC is almost too impossible to believe. Here’s a video about it: Decoding the Heavens: Solving the Mystery of the World’s First Computer – Jo Marchant from Gresham College on...

## Parlez-vous francais?...

posted by Kevin Houston

My book is now published in French! You can buy it on Amazon.fr. I’m not sure how long it has been out, I only got a copy today. Here’s the...

## Are there any good students?...

posted by Kevin Houston

It is easy to criticize students and make unwarranted generalizations such as that they are all lazy or not as good as they were in the past. On my forthcoming DVD all three speakers, including myself, are guilty of this to some extent. We portray students rather negatively. This is perhaps not surprising, it’s just human nature to see the problems rather than the positive things that do actually work. Of course we all know that we are generalizing and all know that there are many great students. It’s just that we don’t say it enough. (Maybe we should have a Good Student Day!) Today I get a chance to celebrate one of our Leeds students. John Power who graduated in July has won a national essay competition, the MSOR 2011 Student Essay Competition. You can read his prize-winning entry at http://mathstore.ac.uk/headocs/Power.pdf. It should be required reading for new maths students. The bit about Pythagoras’ Theorem – that’s my module he’s talking about! Anyhow, he gave an excellent project presentation about the Banach-Tarski paradox. It’s a shame we can’t record the presentations and show them to people and say, see students are...

## Fermat's Last Google...

posted by Kevin Houston

Today Google are celebrating Pierre de Fermat‘s birthday, see www.google.co.uk/. If you are viewing this in the future, then look for it in the cache of Google...