At the weekend I heard that Vladimir Zakalyukin had died suddenly in Moscow on 30 December. He was well-known amongst the Singularity Theory community and was a student of Arnold. An expert on symplectic geometry, he was one of the first, if not the first, to classify Lagrangian and Legendrian singularities in depth. He also published work in various areas such as motion planning and symmetry sets. He was research active to the end with a PhD student just finishing a few months ago and was to be an organizer for the Bill Bruce and Terry Wall conference in June. I first met him when he was visiting Warwick University in the early nineties just after the fall of communism. I think he was the first Russian I ever met. More recently I’d often see him as he had an unusual academic position in that he was able to spend spend six months of the year in Liverpool and six in Moscow. Aside from his mathematics I will remember him for his sense of humour (always difficult to communicate in a second language). At one conference dinner he related to us an hilarious story of how he went hunting and ended up being the hunted. He’ll be missed by many. [The above photo was taken by Vera Timofeeva. I attempted to contact her for permission to use it but was unable to find any contact details. If anyone knows them, can they let me know? Thanks. UPDATE: Thanks to Joel Haddley for giving me the details. FURTHER UPDATE: Vera has informed me that Ugo Boscain took the picture. My thanks to him for allowing me to use...

## Ian Porteous Obituary...

posted by Kevin Houston

An obituary for Ian Porteous has appeared in the Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/feb/17/ian-porteous-obituary

## Ian Porteous (1930-2011)...

posted by Kevin Houston

I learned last week that Ian Porteous of Liverpool University mathematics department had passed away. I first met Ian during a conference in Liverpool when I was a postgraduate student and got to know him better around the time he retired when I had a postdoctoral position there. As everyone who met him would probably say, he was a bit of a character and always had a story to tell. Retirement didn’t seem to slow him down. He was highly active in taking mathematics out to schools with his maths roadshow and was even involved in a Masterclass the day before he died. Sadly, I don’t have a picture of him to hand; a web search and look at his Wikipedia entry didn’t locate one either. If you have not already done so, then have a look at his book Geometric Differentiation. It’s a trove of interesting results about the geometry of curves and surfaces. His notation is non-standard but don’t let that put you off. Strangely enough, I had been telling my Group Theory tutorial group about him last Monday because I realized that the milk crate problem he used to carry with him on his roadshow would exemplify a point I wished to make. After the tutorial I returned to my office to find an email saying that he had died. His contribution to the world of mathematics, in particular his work as an ambassador for the subject in his school outreach work, will be missed by many. (The Milk crate problem: How can you arrange 6 milk bottles in a 3-by-3 milk crate so that each row contains two milk bottles and each column contains...

## Carnival of Mandelbrot...

posted by Kevin Houston

Benoît Mandelbrot 1924-2010 I don’t know when I first saw or heard of a fractal. Maybe it was in sixth form or as a first year undergraduate. But like so many others I was intrigued by them. The man who invented them has died aged 85. Here is my tribute to Benoît Mandelbrot. First here are some obituaries (I’ll update as more appear.) New York Times Telegraph Boston Globe Independent and Independent Opinion Leader Guardian If you don’t know what the fuss is all about, then watch this “fractal zoom” video. Don’t watch it for too long or else it will do strange things to your mind. Mandelbrot Fractal Set Trip To e214 HD from teamfresh on Vimeo. You can see Mandelbrot in action giving a talk about his work at TED. As an undergraduate I tried to read Mandelbrot’s book The Fractal Geometry of Nature. The book was quite a hard read at the time but I got the main points principally because the book was written to be read. In my second year I used my computer to draw a Mandelbrot set. I had learned how to make fractals from the excellent book Beauty of Fractals by Heinz-Otto Peitgen and Peter Richter. I wrote a program and set it running on my computer before going out for the night. The program was so slow that when I returned much later I had only half a Mandelbrot set. Even this was fantastic though. I had my very first fractal! The Mandelbrot set became an emblem at the end of the 80s and was reproduced all over the world, featured in pop videos and was generally ubiquitous. This made it very unpopular with many mathematicians. I can remember when I was a student at...