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28th October 2016, 9:20am
Honouring the legacy of Lincolnshire’s mathematics marvels
George Boole A trio of Lincolnshire’s most influential mathematicians and physicists will be honoured in a series of free public lectures exploring the power of science, past and present.

The forefather of the digital age, George Boole, the acclaimed scholar and philosopher, Edward Delaval, and the mathematics pioneer, Charlotte Scott, will each be honoured in the names of three public events at the University of Lincoln, UK.

Each of these Lincolnshire luminaries made an immense contribution to their individual fields – furthering scientific knowledge around the world and paving the way for innovations in technology, education and natural philosophy.

Hosted by the University’s School of Mathematics & Physics, the three free-to-attend public talks will be delivered by leading international scholars, each offering fascinating insights into mathematics and the sciences.

The Annual Boole Lecture in Mathematics will pay homage to the 19th century mathematician who laid the foundations of the digital age. George Boole, who was born in Lincoln the son of a cobbler and was largely self-taught, created a new form of algebra which was later used to develop the first computer circuits in the early 20th century, and is now a fundamental aspect of modern mathematics and computer science. Boole’s legacy surrounds us – all modern digital devices, whether a mobile phone, sat nav, tablet computer or mainframe work station, still rely on the language he invented, now known as Boolean Algebra.

Dr Peter M Neumann OBE will deliver the Annual Boole Lecture, asking his audience Did Galois deserve to be shot? Dr Neumann is a renowned British mathematician whose work in the field of group theory has seen him awarded numerous accolades.

Taking place on Monday 7th November at 6pm, the talk will explore the short and turbulent life of Évariste Galois – a legendary mathematician who died aged 20 in 1832. Dr Neumann’s talk will explain Galois’ mathematical insights to a public audience, examine why he invented ‘groups’, and detail what we now call Galois Theory.

The 2016 Edward Delaval Lecture in Physics is named in honour of the scholar and natural philosopher who was world-renowned for his research into metals, glass and electricity. He was famous for the use of glass in music and it is thought that Delaval’s performances may have inspired Benjamin Franklin's glass harmonica. He once owned Lincolnshire’s Doddington Hall estate.

This year, Professor Tom McLeish, a Fellow of the Royal Society and Professor at Durham University, will deliver the Edward Delaval Lecture on Wednesday 16th November at 6pm. The talk is entitled Medieval Science and the Ordered Universe Project and will introduce Robert Grosseteste - the 13th century thinker, teacher, theologian and Bishop of Lincoln. It will explain how a study of his extraordinary medieval science has thrown fresh light on the history of scientific thought.

The first Annual Charlotte Scott Lecture in Mathematics will conclude the series, taking place on Monday 30th January 2017 at 6pm. Charlotte Scott was born in Lincoln in 1858 and became the first British woman to obtain a doctorate in mathematics. She was influential in the development of mathematics teaching and research in the USA and a powerful advocate for women’s education and equality.

The Annual Charlotte Scott Lecture in Mathematics will each year be delivered by a leading international female mathematician. The inaugural talk will be led by Professor Natasha Maurits from the University Medical Center Groningen in the Netherlands, who is renowned for her work in clinical neuro-engineering.

Her talk, Patients in Numbers, will explain why it is common for doctors to consider their patients in numbers and why this practice can be useful. Using examples of her own pioneering research in neurology, Professor Maurits will show how this method can be supported and further improved with the help of mathematics.

Professor Andrei Zvelindovsky, Head of the University of Lincoln’s School of Mathematics & Physics, said: “Lincolnshire has a rich heritage in mathematics and the sciences having produced influential thinkers down the centuries. By creating new teaching and research opportunities at the University of Lincoln, we aspire to establish new stars to follow in these famous footsteps. We are delighted to be hosting these three lectures which offer our staff, students and public visitors a wonderful opportunity to celebrate our county’s proud history and learn new insights into the world-changing impact of mathematics and physics down the ages.”

All of the public talks take place in the Stephen Langton Building on the University of Lincoln’s Brayford Pool Campus. They are free to attend but places are limited and should be booked in advance online.

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