Der Beitrag A truly special occasion erschien zuerst auf Heidelberg Laureate Forum.
]]>Imagine a taking a number and subtracting one from it. Then imagine starting with that same number, and finding its reciprocal (calculating the result of 1 divided by the number). Now imagine that if you do each of these things you get the same result. That would be quite a nice coincidence. In fact, there is a number that has this property, and it’s the Golden Ratio.The Golden ratio ϕ is an irrational number, as it contains √5. So it’s interesting that it’s called a ratio, since it’s… not an exact ratio of two things. But if you compare ϕ with 1, the ratio between the two numbers is what’s really Golden. Imagine you have a rectangle which has short side length 1 and long side length ϕ.
If you cut off a 1 by 1 square from this rectangle, the resulting rectangle will be (ϕ – 1) by 1, and given the fact above, this means the smaller rectangle is in the same ratio as the larger one – if you rotate it and scale it up in proportion, you’ll get back the original rectangle. There’s exactly one kind of rectangle for which this works – this one – and it’s called a Golden Rectangle.
Many people claim that this Golden Ratio is somehow a ‘perfect’ ratio – the ‘Divine Proportion’, symbolising perfect beauty and truth, or something. Claims are made about how art, nature and even the human body contain instances of this ratio. Unfortunately, some of these claims are mildly unfounded, and there’s no real evidence they are actually the Golden Ratio (and don’t get me started on Nautilus shells). It seems people just want to find it, and go looking for it in all kinds of places – and their enthusiasm carries them to draw Golden conclusions.
Artists, including Salvador Dali, have been known to employ the Golden Ratio in some famous works – but many others are also purported to have used it, when actually, there’s no evidence they did. If you draw a rectangle on the Mona Lisa enclosing only the subject’s face, you’ll get arrested and thrown out of the Louvre. Nobody seems able to produce proof that the Golden Rectangle is ‘the most visually appealing rectangle’, although it’s a claim that’s often made.
So, if this amazing sturdy fraction doesn’t crop up in nature and art as much as people say it does, why do mathematicians love it so much (and why did we have a celebration to mark ϕ years of marriage)? Read the following round-up of my top 5 places you’ll really actually find the Golden Ratio, and hopefully you’ll begin to understand.
This five-pointed star shape inscribed in a pentagon, sometimes also called a pentangle, has long-standing associations with religious imagery and symbolism across many cultures. But also maths! Pentagons – and by association, shapes made from pentagons, like the dodecahedron – are intricately linked to the Golden Ratio. The four distances marked in the diagram are in the Golden Ratio to each other – that is, a:b, b:c and c:d are all the Golden Ratio. If you knew this already, you win a gold star.
While it’s not hugely well-known, it’s described by Wikipedia as ‘the most common thirty-faced polyhedron’, so if you’re attacked by a 3D shape and it has 30 sides, this is likely the culprit. The rhombuses making up the faces of the shape are called Golden Rhombuses – the ratio of the width to the height of the rhombus is the Golden Ratio, and that’s what makes them exactly the right shape to fit together in this way. If you’d like to build your own, here’s a net.
Believe it or not, you’re almost certainly carrying a Golden Rectangle with you right now. Credit cards, and by extension most wallet-sized cards you might be carrying, are a pretty close Golden Rectangle. You can tell, by taking two cards from your wallet, and giving them to me… no, sorry, placing them on the table with one upright and one horizontal, with their edges touching. Another straight edge will allow you to verify that the line from the bottom left to the top right corner of the horizontal card will then run straight to the top right corner of the vertical card – showing that the small rectangle at the top is in the same ratio as the larger card. Even if you’re not rich enough for a Gold Card, it’s still Golden!
You might be familiar with the sequence of numbers starting with 1, 1 and then continuing to create each term by adding together the two numbers before it – so 1+1=2, then 1+2=3, then 2+3=5 and so on.
This sequence crops up in all kinds of interesting places – in rabbit population modelling, Sanskrit poetry, and in Pascal’s triangle. But if you take successive pairs of entries from this sequence and divide the larger by the smaller, the ratio will be somewhere between 1 and 2, and the further along the list you go, the closer and closer it gets to the Golden Ratio – that’s the limit of the ratios. Even as soon as 89/55, you already get three decimal places of accuracy.
It’s also, as a fun consequence, a handy way to convert between miles and kilometres – since the ratio between 1km and 1 mile is around ϕ, you can use the Fibonacci numbers as a rough conversion chart, by taking the distance in miles and going to the next Fibonacci number for the distance in km. So, 5 miles is around 8km, 13 miles is around 21km and so on.
I hope you’re enjoying this as much as I do.
Der Beitrag A truly special occasion erschien zuerst auf Heidelberg Laureate Forum.
]]>Der Beitrag Colouring in like a mathematician erschien zuerst auf Heidelberg Laureate Forum.
]]>One very famous result in the mathematics of colouring problems is the Four Colour Theorem. This states that for any diagram you can draw on a piece of paper, the maximum number of colours you’ll ever need to colour it in, so that any two regions which share an edge are different colours, is four. This means that on a flat surface like a piece of paper, it’s not possible to draw a diagram which needs more than four colours. Go on, try it now. You can’t do it.
This result was proved in the 1970s, and the mathematics underlying the proof is graph theory. Graphs are collections of points joined in a network, with lines between some (but not necessarily all) of the pairs of points, called nodes. In the case of a colouring problem, the shape and size of the regions you’re colouring is unimportant, and the only crucial fact is the way the pieces connect together – which is captured by the structure of the graph, if each node represents one region which needs colouring.
Colouring a graph is as simple as assigning a colour to each node, so that any pair of nodes which are connected use different colours. Colourability (or otherwise) of a graph is often a useful property of the graph to know, and it’s been well studied. If a graph can be coloured with three colours, it’s called three-colourable.
The mathematics that’s been of interest recently, however, doesn’t just involve colouring separate nodes in a network – but every single point of an infinite plane.
The Hadwiger-Nelson problem asks the following question: what’s the minimum number of colours required to colour every single point on the 2-dimensional plane, so that no two points that are exactly one unit of distance apart are the same colour? The answer to this question is called the chromatic number of the plane, and we, um, still don’t actually know exactly what it is.
We’ve known for a while that the maximum number of colours you might need to colour the plane in this way is 7, and we know this because of a proof attributed to American mathematician John Isbell. If you divide the whole plane up into tessellating hexagons, and colour them in using 7 different colours in the pattern shown in the diagram, this is a colouring of the plane which doesn’t have two points distance 1 apart that are the same colour (assuming the hexagons are slightly less than 1 unit across from point to point).
Since 1961, we’ve also known that the minimum this number can be is 4. This was proved using a construction called the Moser Spindle, discovered by mathematical siblings William and Leo Moser. The shape is shown in the diagrams below, and is made up of two pairs of equilateral triangles stuck back-to-back, with an extra line joining the bottom two points. The lengths of the lines in the figure are all 1 unit, which means in order to colour the plane you’d need to be able to colour all the points in this diagram – in particular, the two points at the end of each line need to be different colours. The claim that this can’t be done using three colours is argued as follows.
If the very top point in the diagram is coloured using colour A, then each of the two bottom corners of a triangle attached to it must be coloured B and C, in some combination. This means the very bottom point of that pair of triangles must be coloured A as well. But this argument follows equally for both of the triangle pairs in the diagram, and so both bottom points must be colour A – which is a problem, as they’re 1 unit apart, and therefore can’t be the same colour.
It’s important to note we’re not just dealing with a normal graph here. The Moser Spindle as a graph can’t be three-coloured however you draw it, because of the way it’s connected up – but in this case it’s crucial that the arcs (lines) making up the graph have specific lengths: the Moser Spindle is a unit-distance graph, meaning all the lengths are 1. This fact makes the property of not being three-colourable extend from being true of the graph to being true of the plane as given in the Hadwiger-Nelson problem.
The nice thing about this problem is that it uses ideas from both graph theory and geometry – measuring distance is part of the problem, but graph theory lends its tools to prove things can’t be coloured in this way.
Although the Hadwiger-Nelson problem was first formulated in 1950, all we’ve really managed to prove is that the number is somewhere between 4 and 7. Until now! In the last month, biomedical scientist and, it turns out, mathematician, Aubrey de Grey has announced a new proof, in which he’s constructed a bigger more complex unit-distance graph, increasing the lower bound on this problem from 4 to 5.
The graph de Grey constructed in his paper, which was released on the online preprint server the ArXiV on 8th April 2018, is constructed from smaller, simpler graphs. In the same way that the Moser Spindle is made from two pairs of rigid equilateral triangles, angled so that the distance between their ends is also 1, de Grey’s graph is made up by layering multiple copies of triangulated hexagons. After several layers of repeats, the final graph has 1581 vertices, and provably can’t be four-coloured. So the minimum must be five.
De Grey’s paper also includes discussion of how computer programs can be used to assemble and verify the colourability of the hugely complex graph. Since the release of the paper, the mathematical community has been buzzing with excitement – and proof checking software known as an SAT solver has been used to check the proof.
The next stage is to see if it’s possible to reduce the size of this monstrous graph, to create a neater proof – I expect we won’t quite get to Moser Spindle levels of elegance, but it’s good to try. Several mathematicians, including de Grey himself, have proposed that a good way to do this might be through a Polymath project. Polymath is an online community of mathematicians, who can all collaborate and work on problems together that can easily be split into smaller tasks, and it’s previously been instrumental in this kind of proof optimisation.
The Polymath project on the Hadwiger-Nelson problem, called Polymath16, aims to find smaller non-four-colourable unit-distance graphs, and also to reduce the extent to which the proof depends on computer checking. It’s already discovered a smaller graph which has the same property, with 826 vertices, which can be seen (well, kind of) in the image below.
Work on this project continues, and anyone looking for a minimal way to colour in the plane now has a narrower target to aim at. The mathematics and computer code developed in order to solve this problem enriches the theory of graphs and feeds into other mathematics, but it also takes us a step closer to cracking this gorgeous puzzle.
Der Beitrag Colouring in like a mathematician erschien zuerst auf Heidelberg Laureate Forum.
]]>Der Beitrag Abel Prize 2018 awarded to Robert Langlands erschien zuerst auf Heidelberg Laureate Forum.
]]>Langlands was born in 1936 in New Westminster in Canada, and has had a long career in mathematics, working at US universities including Yale, Berkeley and Princeton, where he is now emeritus professor. His early mathematical work included studying automorphic forms – these can be thought of as a generalisation of the idea of a periodic function, one which repeats the same values (such as a sine curve). Langlands studied automorphic forms, and proved various results about them – including some on a particular class of automorphic forms called modular forms. These are a special case where the forms are defined on spaces of 2×2 matrices, and are interesting because while they’re defined and studied as part of the analysis of functions, they’re also connected with number theory.
Number theory is a branch of mathematics which deals with the whole numbers (integers). It includes investigating the properties of numbers, and particular types of numbers, such as prime numbers, or numbers that are made from integers, such as rational numbers (fractions). Number theory is quite often connected to the analysis of certain functions – a famous example is the Riemann Zeta function, which is defined on the complex plane but has deep connections with the distribution of prime numbers.
Langlands’ major contribution to mathematics was made in 1967, when he wrote a letter to French mathematician André Weil describing some of his recent insights on how to connect ideas in number theory to those in automorphic forms – called functoriality. While working at Princeton as an instructor, Langlands met Weil in a corridor on campus, and tried to explain his new ideas. Weil suggested that Langlands put some his thoughts down in writing. The letter was modest but thorough – Langlands expected Weil might readily just throw it in the bin – but it contained 17 pages of mathematical conjectures, generalisations and definitions.
This mathematics formed the basis of what became known as the Langlands Program – a collection of far-reaching and influential mathematical conjectures, relating many areas of maths from number theory to geometry. They have since formed the basis of decades of work by other mathematicians – Fields medals were awarded in 2002 and 2010 for proofs based on Langlands’ conjectures. In fact, the well-known proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem by Andrew Wiles hinged on mathematics laid out in Langlands’ original 17 handwritten pages.
The Langlands program connects automorphic forms to the work of Galois. Évariste Galois (left) was a 19th-century French mathematician, who – in much the same way as Langlands – set down the basis for a whole area of mathematics, again in a single text, which in the case of Galois was written not long before he was killed in a duel. Galois’ work didn’t gain recognition until later, when others realised how much of a breakthrough it was.
Galois theory concerns the symmetry groups of polynomial equations. Given a polynomial – a sum of powers of a single variable, usually x – it’s sometimes possible to find solutions which you can substitute in for x and have the equation balance. Depending on how high the powers of x in the polynomial are, there might be different numbers of solutions possible. For example, a quadratic equation (one containing x²) might have two solutions, and a cubic equation (where the powers go up to x³) up to three solutions.
For quadratics, there’s a well-known formula which can be used to find the solutions – as every school student knows, the quadratic formula for a polynomial ax² + bx + c is given by:In the case of cubic equations, there exists a more complex but similar method to determine the roots. But for certain polynomials, it’s been proven that no such method exists – for example, it’s not possible to solve most quintics (polynomials containing powers up to x⁵) in this way.
For polynomials in general, Galois groups are concerned with the way the polynomial’s solutions are related to each other. For example, consider the following equation:
x² – 4x + 1 = 0
This equation has two solutions: A = 2 + √3, and B = 2 – √3; either of these, substituted in for x, will satisfy the equation. The Galois group of the polynomial describes how these solutions relate to each other, and the ways you can add them together in different combinations – for example, in this case, A + B = 4 and A × B = 1, and in each of these, A and B can be swapped and the equation still holds. This is because A and B are roots which have a kind of symmetry, and the Galois group describes all the symmetries between the solutions.
Galois determined that certain types of Galois groups are possessed by polynomials that can be solved using a formula, like the quadratic equation. Galois called these groups solvable, and Galois theory proves that for all polynomials of degree 4 or lower, the Galois group is always solvable – and hence the polynomial’s roots can be found. For degree 5, some can and some can’t – but those which can are precisely those whose Galois group is solvable. In this way, the group structures are tied to the numerical equations, and Galois theory forms a connection between group theory and number theory. In a similar way, the Langlands program connects the structures of Galois theory to automorphic forms.
Langlands’ work can be seen as a bridge between two seemingly unrelated areas of maths – and increasingly many mathematical discoveries are of this nature. The fact that this kind of work can be so impactful underlines the extent to which mathematics is actually an intricate web of structures and concepts, all of which connect to each other in unexpected ways, and Langlands was a pioneer of this kind of thinking. His work in the 1960s laid the foundation for an entire field of study, and he deserves this recognition for his incredible insights.
Der Beitrag Abel Prize 2018 awarded to Robert Langlands erschien zuerst auf Heidelberg Laureate Forum.
]]>Der Beitrag How the HLF helped to pave a path to CERN erschien zuerst auf Heidelberg Laureate Forum.
]]>Pivotal moments in life can be elusive, but when they occur, there is no denying that they will influence the future. They almost never occur in a vacuum, as most often they are links in a chain of events that precipitate them.
Kamil Krynicki, a researcher in evolutionary algorithms, shared some insights about how his experience at the 4th Heidelberg Laureate Forum (HLF) opened doors for him at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or perhaps more recognizable by its acronym, CERN. As in most cases, the steps toward any destination can be convoluted and seemingly unrelated until the point of arrival.
Kamil dreamt of working at CERN since he was 12, when the Large Hadron Collider was first taking shape. Self-admittedly, he realizes that is an odd moonshot for a 12-year-old to strive for, regardless he knew he wanted to be a physicist at CERN. Though both his life and research went in different directions, the vision experienced a rebirth.
“Then it came back, in a very weird way. I can still do it, just not as a physicist. Sort of renaissance of this dream of mine in recent years,” reflected Kamil.
Part of that journey began during an Erasmus year that took him to Valencia in 2008, and Spain carved a special place in his future, largely in part to one particular influence. In that year abroad, Kamil met Professor Javier Jaén Martínez, who would have an immediate and lasting impression on his life’s trajectory. “He laid the foundation of everything I am right now,” said Kamil. “Without him there would be no HLF nor CERN, nothing.”
He returned to Poland to finish his master’s and during a brief stint working in the industry, it became painfully clear to him that this was not the direction he wanted his life to go.
“You’re in this environment during your master’s in which you solve tough, tough questions, the most elaborate algorithms and it’s very stimulating,” said Kamil, “Then you start working in industry and it really isn’t.”
“I just wanted to do something exciting, any algorithmic problem of high difficulty.”
At the time, evolutionary algorithms were experiencing a surge in popularity and a PhD position was available under none other than Professor Martínez. Kamil sprang at the chance not only to return to academia, but to Valencia as well. Towards the end of his PhD, he applied for a position at CERN, but received minimal feedback and decided it might not be where he was supposed to be after all. Then, before finishing his PhD in 2016, he read about the HLF in a newsletter from the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and immediately thought, “Wow! That is something that I should do.”
His expectations of what the HLF would be were not met, but surpassed. “Honestly, I was expecting to see a conference of some kind with the important people simply appearing, giving a talk and disappearing, and that would have been fine,” said Kamil, “But it was just absolutely brilliant.”
He advised future participants to be “very aware of what sort of event it is. You’re going to be interacting a lot with people you usually only read about. So be prepared in a way to have a meaningful conversation with anyone you admire.”
The HLF broke down the invisible barriers that separate the laureates from the rest of the scientific community. In Kamil’s words, “There’s this magic world between those guys and us, and all of a sudden, it’s not there anymore.” Perhaps more important to his personal development, the experience at the Forum also motivated him to try his chances again at CERN.
For his application this time around, Kamil enlisted the help of an HLF laureate, Chief Internet Evangelist at Google and AMC A.M. Turing Award recipient, Vinton Cerf. “This sort of person shouldn’t even answer an email to just a guy. Not only did he, he also wrote a recommendation letter. He’s just an outstanding human being. And all of a sudden the phone started ringing.”
After several months, the tides changed and the interview process began. This April, Kamil will become a research fellow at CERN.
His gratitude to Vint Cerf has not extinguished and as a childhood dream comes to fruition, Kamil is confident and eager to showcase his skillset. “I’m not there by accident, I feel like I’m going to do ok.”
Der Beitrag How the HLF helped to pave a path to CERN erschien zuerst auf Heidelberg Laureate Forum.
]]>Der Beitrag PI DAY 2018: Think You Know Everything About Pi? Think Again … erschien zuerst auf Heidelberg Laureate Forum.
]]>And if they get good at that, they up the ante by entering day-long Pi recitation competitions. I can’t think of a better way to spend 10 hours, can you?
As insanely fun as that must be, I use the occasion every year to share obscure Pi trivia and Pi history facts with Pi lovers everywhere. This year, I’m also out to clear up the huge amounts of disinformation around that infinite number you get when you calculate the ration between any circle’s circumference and its diameter.
Hey, one can only take so much fake news …
But you already know everything about Pi, you say? Okay. Maybe you among the few folks around who know that the irrational number once called Archimedes’ number wasn’t invented by Archimedes at all. Archimedes merely named the number after himself and popularized it. The Babylonians, the Egyptians and even the Bible mention 3.14159.. centuries before that ancient Greek was even born sometime around 280 BC.
And perhaps you’re one of the few people around who know that it was William Jones of Wales (no known relation to Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales) was the one to give Pi its name back in 1706. And you might also know that March 14 is both Pi Day and Albert Einstein’s birthday. Sadly, it is also now the day that Stephen Hawking passed away.
Read an in-depth history of Pi here.
Haven’t stumped you yet? Well, read on. Following is some of my favorite obscure Pi triviata and factoids. Enjoy.
And happy Pi Day 2018 from all of us here at the Heidelberg Laureate forum. Enjoy!
Can you honestly say you knew all the Pi trivia and strange facts above? If so, we salute you.
Either way, have a terrific Pi Day 2018. Don’t party too hard. It’s a week night! And please, have some Pi for me …
Reporting from Hong Kong for HLF, I’m Gina Smith.
Infographic: San Francisco Exploratorium
https://www.exploratorium.edu/pi/pi-day-history
Cover art: Timothy Edward Downs for aNewDomain
Der Beitrag PI DAY 2018: Think You Know Everything About Pi? Think Again … erschien zuerst auf Heidelberg Laureate Forum.
]]>Der Beitrag Inspired by Star Wars, BYU’s Futuristic 3D Display Tech Works Like This … erschien zuerst auf Heidelberg Laureate Forum.
]]>But it was Iron Man hero Tony Stark who sealed the deal.
And, as deals go, this one’s huge. In a paper published in Nature recently, Smalley’s team announced it had achieved a world first: It had built a true, 3D volumetric display that, like Princess Leia’s hologram message to Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars (1977), could project free-floating, 3D moving image in the middle of thin air.
Our group has a mission to take the 3D displays of science fiction and make them real,” Smalley said. “And we’ve done that.”
Smalley’s team wasn’t the first to try to replicate the Leia projection. Over the years, several research groups around the world have tried, but failed, to duplicate the holographic feat.
The problem was that everyone has been trying to use holography to mimic that holographic projection in the movie.
But one day, while watching a scene from Iron Man, Smalley noticed that holography could never be used to create the VR suit in that film.
“It was an epiphanic experience,” he said. “When Stark sticks his hand in over the lit-up table, he’s blocking the light.”
You know, until that moment, “Until that point, you know, I’d honestly thought holography could do anything.” But afterward, he knew one thing it couldn’t do. “There’s no way you can use holography to create those images,” Smalley says.
“You can’t block the light in a hologram.”
“And it suddenly occurred to me that you’d have to build this, not with one light source, but with a bunch of flying, floating nanobots, and all of them shooting lasers!”
Laser-firing nanobots? What?
Don’t laugh. The so-called optical trap display (OTD), also known as a phophoretic display, isn’t so much different from floating, laser-firing nanobots. Not in principle, anyway.
The display works by focusing an array of tiny, near-invisible lasers at a single particle — moving it rapidly through the air to create a rapid-fire illusion of an image.
Think of it as a kind of twist on an Etch-a-Sketch toy. The lasers rapidly move that light-catching particle in the desired 3D shape — and it happens so fast, the human eye takes it in like a whole image.
The result is full-color, aerial volumetric images with 10-micron image points, which appear as persistent images to anyone looking at it.
Smalley’s team’s so-called optical trap display (OTD), also known as a phophoretic display, draws images in the air in much the same way that an Etch-a-Sketch toy does, he added.
It utilizes an array of near-invisible lasers to manipulate a single tiny particle in place.
Essentially, the display is utilizing a laser beam to trap a particle. Once trapped, the laser beam moves the particle about in the air, which creates an image sort of like the one you see when kids draw shapes in the air with sparklers.
The easiest way to understand the innovation is to think of it as a 3D printer of light.
It’s not such a stretch. “You’re actually printing an object in space with these little particles,” he said. “You might think of it as a 3D printer — of light.”
“The images are rudimentary, as you can see from the videos and images in this article. But they’re likely to get a whole lot bigger and more detailed, Smalley said, pointing out that just using multiple cellulose particles (instead of one) to “draw the light” make all the difference. That parallelism in particles, he added, likely will require all sorts of light modulation and other optical tech, he says, but eventually running multiple particles in parallel should allow these displays to project larger and larger images.”
And once we get to 100 times or 1000 times what we’ve got now, I think the sky is the limit for applications.”
Smalley’s BYU-based electro-holography research group isn’t just developing various methods and techniques for creating the first ever low cost ‘holographic display,’ using the term loosely.
The team also is researching other uses for photophoretic traps like the Smalley’s OCD.
One potential use for the tech, Smalley suggests, is satellite tracking. “Human operators on Earth have to track satellites that are traveling thousands of miles per hour and along non-linear paths. They have to keep them from colliding, basically, which is stressful,” Smalley continued. “And they have to abstract all that from a regular, 2D display.
But if we could create a volumetric display with a trapped particle (matched) to each tracked object, then the satellite tracker could see — intuitively and viscerally — if two satellites are going to crash,” he added. “That would reduce collisions — as well as the cognitive load on the trackers,” he said.
Another intriguing use for the volumetric display, he added, is to build ultra large displays as projected from small devices.
“Think about mobile phone size and portability, too,” he added. “There’s always a push/pull effect for size and portability. But what if you could decouple the size of your screen with the size of your phone?” Smalley said.
“Once you decouple them, you could, say, start using your smartwatch as a peripheral to your smartphone. If you could get it the (volumetric display) to project out a sufficient large image you even could replace your phone with that watch. I’m not claiming we’ll be able to miniaturize our (OTD) design to this degree, of course. But technologies like this one, which can theoretically be used to project images far, far larger than the projecting device itself, have great promise, he said.
These are just a few examples of the sorts of pragmatic solutions that are possible with this innovation, he said. “But it isn’t quite as fun,” he admits, as chasing future tech as imagined by sci-fi.
“My quest has always been to create the Princess Leia projector .. and also I’ve long wanted to build something like the Holodeck from Star Trek, he adds. “There is great value in work that captures the imagination. Think,” he said, “about Elon Musk’s Falcon Heavy launch.”
Launching Musk’s roadster just seemed whimsical, to say the least. But when the camera started streaming the song, Starman, I found it just totally awe-inspiring.
“I suspect that single moment did more to encourage my kids to become engineers than anything I, as an encouraging parent, had managed up to that point.”
It probably goes without saying, though, that no one had to lure Smalley into the field.
“Put it this way,” he said. “I was a speaker during my high school graduation. And halfway through the talk, I ripped off my cap and gown to reveal a homemade Star Trek uniform underneath.”
“I then went on to explain that, actually, I was a Starfleet historian who’d been slung back to that moment in time, to witness that graduation,” he said.
Der Beitrag Inspired by Star Wars, BYU’s Futuristic 3D Display Tech Works Like This … erschien zuerst auf Heidelberg Laureate Forum.
]]>Der Beitrag What’s in a scientist’s mind? the HLF Questionnaire – Part 3 erschien zuerst auf Heidelberg Laureate Forum.
]]>Martin was awarded the Fields Medal in 2014, one of the biggest achievements in mathematics, for his groundbreaking work on stochastic partial differential equations. As a laureate, he tries to participate regularly in the HLF, whenever his tight schedule allows. Between chats with enthusiastic young researchers, discussions with other laureates and press conferences, he took the time to sit and talk about the big questions in life (i.e. our questionnaire), and to give his opinion on the most pressing matters for young people.
In his opinion, to do good research one should keep an open mind and not focus on solely one area. Even if learning about other subjects doesn’t lead to writing an article, one should avoid the trap of only reading a paper that is immediately useful to one’s current project. But in order to have the peace of mind to do this, one needs funding, and Martin is aware of how the current funding system doesn’t help. In his opinion, nowadays you either get a lot or you get nothing, and that’s a problem: a “rich gets richer scheme”, opposite to a “small funding scheme”, where many more could benefit from it. For Martin, it’s not completely clear how to change this, considering that the people who decide how to distribute money need to justify their budgets in front of governments, and the easiest thing is to go for big shiny projects instead of small funding scheme. The scientific community is listening to Martin Hairer, perhaps it’s time we asked the policy makers to pay attention too.
Der Beitrag What’s in a scientist’s mind? the HLF Questionnaire – Part 3 erschien zuerst auf Heidelberg Laureate Forum.
]]>Der Beitrag Experience, Learn and Share at the Heidelberg Laureate Forum erschien zuerst auf Heidelberg Laureate Forum.
]]>Everything starts with an inspiration and a dream. Sometimes things keep popping up in your mind even when you close your eyes; when you go to bed or when you have a moment of peace with yourself. It just keeps smiling at you and reminding you every moment. You find yourself becoming so attached to it and this is where it switches from a dream to an exciting target. Somehow you know that the target will be difficult to achieve but you also know that you are eager to go for it and to do your best to excel.
My name is Zaineb Chelly Dagdia and I am a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellow at Aberystwyth University, Wales, UK. My research career and my journey began with an inspiration; I am inspired by the laureates of all fields, winners of the Abel-Prize, Fields-Medal, ACM-Turing award, Nevanlinna Prize and ACM Prize in Computing. I am amazed by the achievements of the recipients, this inspiration is what gives me the desire and the strength to work hard, to give my best and to excel in all I do. As a computer scientist, my goal is to make a considerable contribution to my research field; Artificial Immune Systems and Machine Learning. I worked hard to complete my Bachelor degree with honorable distinction at the “Faculté des Sciences Économiques et de Gestion de Nabeul” (FSEG-Nabeul), Tunisia. I then worked on my Master’s degree at one of the top-ranked universities in Tunisia; “Institut Supérieur de Gestion de Tunis” (ISG-Tunis). There, I completed both my MSc and PhD degrees in Computer Science, also with honorable distinction. My work, publishing my research in good and reputable journals, writing book chapters and presenting at leading international conferences has challenged me. This work was recognized and I was awarded the IEEE EHB Young Researcher First Prize, the ACM-Woman Award and the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual European Fellowship. Additionally, I am a Marie Skłodowska-Curie ambassador. Through all this, that dream, my target, that inspiration, was hand in hand with me; always pushing me to do my best.
Through that journey, opportunities come in to play. I, by chance, met Christine Zarges, a leading researcher in theory of randomized search heuristics, at several conferences and with a lot of hard work together we succeeded in obtaining the prestigious Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship for me, which made my position as a research fellow at Aberystwyth University possible. It was Christine who suggested and encouraged me to apply for the Heidelberg Laureate Forum (HLF), as she previously took part in the 1st HLF. Since then I have been very enthusiastic about taking part in it myself. But hold on a minute!
It is the Heidelberg Laureate Forum!
At this event, the winners of the most prestigious awards in Mathematics and Computer Science, the Abel Prize, the Fields Medal (including the Nevanlinna Prize for contributions in “Mathematical Aspects of Information Science”), the ACM A.M. Turing Award and the ACM Prize in Computing are invited to participate. Oh! That is definitely a great opportunity! I felt like my dream popped up and smiled at me again! Then, I got confused and started wondering “Will I be able to meet the laureates? They are the source of my inspiration… The dream that lived with me and nourished me all the time to go ahead in my career…”, “To talk to them and to share with them?”, “Will I be able to introduce myself to them and to have some advice concerning my career?” That is what I would describe as a dream come true!
I had to carefully prepare my HLF application to not miss any chance and to not leave any gaps. At HLF, the selection process is primarily handled by the award granting organizations, supported by the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies, Mathematisches Forschungszentrum Oberwolfach and by Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz Center for Informatics. The candidates proposed by these organizations will be reviewed by the Foundation’s Scientific Board, which make the final decision.
When the time came, I received the notification of acceptance which made my day! I was among the 200 most qualified young researchers who were given this unique opportunity to enrich and share the exceptional atmosphere of the Heidelberg Laureate Forum. I was very excited about this and I started thinking about this special interaction offered by HLF. But it did not stop at that level as another opportunity appeared. The HLF committee invited all the postdoc participants to apply for the role of an organizer of one of the workshops held in conjunction with the HLF. The workshop topics were suggested by the participating laureates and/or by members of the Scientific Committee.
I found this so exciting and I did not want to miss a chance at being able to work closer and learn more about the laureates; and the chance to have some further interactions with the laureates. I prepared a well-planned proposal for the workshop entitled “Algorithms in Nature” and submitted it to the HLF reviewing panel. My proposal was evaluated by the members of the Scientific Committee who accepted my proposal. Great! The good news was that for each workshop, there is one mentor, who is either a laureate or another expert in the field of the workshop. That was amazing! I had the honor of having Professor Stephen Smale, recipient of the Fields Medal, as my mentor.
In terms of organization, I had the responsibility of defining a structure for the workshop, soliciting contributors (among the HLF participants), defining reading material that the participants of the workshop should read prior to the HLF, and eventually moderating the workshop – all this in close collaboration with my mentor.
Working together with one of the laureates was a dream and I am so happy that it was fulfilled. It was an honor for me to organize a workshop with Professor Stephen Smale; under his valuable guidance and advice. I was pleased that the workshop went so well and was successful and that I learned a lot from my mentor and I thank him very much for that. Thank you Professor Stephen Smale!
During the HLF, I met the laureates, interacted with them and learned from them. That had definitely broadened the sphere of my knowledge and given me insights. Close interactions and panel discussions with the laureates were possible; all were available to feed the spirit and mind. As the laureates are my prime source of inspiration and since it was a unique opportunity to be with them at HLF, I wanted to keep a souvenir from this event; a tangible and a special one. I asked the laureates to write me some pieces of advice in my notebook and I made a very nice collection! I thank them all very much for their time and kindness. I kept reading my notebook and I smiled; that was when my dream, my inspiration, whispered to me and I remembered when I said, “Will that be possible one day?”
Being part of the Heidelberg Laureate Forum was a great opportunity for me to enlarge my contact network by meeting not only the laureates but also a large number of motivated young researchers in computer science and mathematics. Discussions with the forum ambitious attendees enabled me to learn more from their experiences, from their research fields and I could establish collaborations tied to my research field. Meeting the current and future leading researchers is a great chance to shape the future of research in computer science and mathematics.
I definitely recommend young researchers to apply for the coming HLF as it is a great experience to live. It is a big boost to motivation and networking opportunities. This forum offers plenty of opportunities for you, researchers, for growth and it is definitely a not to be missed an event. Do not hesitate and give yourself a chance! Apply and enjoy! And remember that you will not find any other event which will offer you such a chance. Just do it!
And in this concern, my heartfelt thanks to all the HLF organizers and all members who helped to make this event so successful.
Biography:
Zaineb Chelly Dagdia is a computer scientist who, thanks to her Marie-Skłodowska-Curie Individual European Fellowship, is currently developing her research on an optimized framework for Big Data pre-processing in certain and imprecise contexts at Aberystwyth University, Wales, UK.
Her research interests include different aspects of Artificial Intelligence. She writes on Evolutionary Algorithms and Artificial Immune Systems (AIS). She deals with reasoning under uncertainty and focuses on developing new AIS methods within an imprecise framework based on machine learning techniques and mathematical theories. She also extended her domain of expertise by dealing with Big Data. Her career publications include good and reputable journals, book chapters and leading international conferences. She was awarded the IEEE EHB Young Researcher First Price, the ACM-Woman Award and the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual European Fellowship and she acts as a Marie Skłodowska-Curie ambassador.
Der Beitrag Experience, Learn and Share at the Heidelberg Laureate Forum erschien zuerst auf Heidelberg Laureate Forum.
]]>Der Beitrag Connect. Inform. Empower. erschien zuerst auf Heidelberg Laureate Forum.
]]>Cultivating scientific exchange and communication is essential to progress, a truth that is very evident to the HLFF and the GSO and which prompted the coordination of an alumni workshop from November 18–19. A vibrant alumni network is a highly valuable tool, not only for the researchers, but also for the organizations themselves. The two-day workshop at the HLFF’s new facilities, Mathematics Informatics Station (MAINS), was the first physical step in the direction of establishing and nurturing such a network.
The HLFF and GSO set out to design a workshop from the ground up that was an effective combination of guidance and freedom. At its core, the purpose was to provide valuable mentorship while enabling the alumni the flexibility necessary to employ the information themselves.
Morning sessions belonged to the various mentors who offered their expertise and the afternoons were open to allow the alumni utilize the material. To maximize the efficiency of both days, the participants met for dinner the evening before, November 17, permitting the group to get to know each other or reestablish existing connections. With formalities removed, the workshop could flow much smoother and organically progress, already in the early stages of the first day.
Learning from Experience
Day 1 kicked off with a brief greeting from the organizers, Ruth Wetzlar and Julia Eberhardt of the HLFF and Anne Schreiter of the GSO. The workshop facilitator, Benedikt Ewald of 180 Degrees Consulting, got everything rolling in the right direction with a brainstorming session about the topics. Participants then divided up into predetermined subgroups: Career Development, Science Communication, Diversity in Science and Social Responsibility.
Though the general framework was laid out by the organizers, the alumni were responsible of using their personal experience to create compelling plans and arguments to transform the bare themes into sound structures. After the groups had spent some time working on potential solutions, they were counseled on how to avoid possible pitfalls. Bernd Böckenhoff of Academy Cube gGmbH, Nausilkaá El-Mecky of the Heidelberg School of Education and Barbara Janssens of the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) all offered their advice in a round of speed consulting.
Each group had a chance to optimize their blueprints with the consultants’ feedback in order to be able to coherently present their work on Day 2. The first day closed out with a tour of the renowned Matheliebe (Love of Math) exhibition, now showing at MAINS until April 2018.
Theory to Practice
Day 2 got off to a good start with Julia Stamm of Science Leads and her “Input on Advocacy in Science” lecture. Each group had the chance to refine their presentations while Stamm was available for any final guidance. The workshop’s underlying purpose was evident as each group cohesively made their final revisions. After lunch, it was time to test the success of the methods and put them under peer scrutiny.
Presentations were limited to seven minutes with three minutes allotted for feedback from the audience.
The Career Development team concisely broke down what is needed to keep what HLFF and GSO initiated moving in the right direction: creating a platform to connect alumni, find funding and generating quality PR. Science Communication infused humor, taking the audience on an ‘elevator ride’ that stopped at ‘floors’ imperative to effective transmission of information: secure funding, solid infrastructure, outreach and organization. Diversity in Science laid out the how to overcome obstacles, designing a practical portal, collaborating with existing organizations and coordinating new events. The final presentation was the Social Responsibility team, who illustrated the duty of the HLF alumni: to incentivize communication, to be ambassadors of the HLF and GSO, to establish a grant program and to evaluate and build the community.
From the perspective of the organizers and consultants, the obligation rests on providing the alumni with the raw materials to effectually move forward. This workshop was designed to provide those elements and from the outset of the first day, it was highly apparent the alumni were prepared and more importantly, motivated to put in the work.
Establishing a dynamic, vibrant network does not happen overnight. Even with all of right elements, preparation and coordination, it can still fall flat or stagnate over time. However, the energy present and quality of the output over the two days of the workshop underlined the fact that even though this was a germinal step in the right direction, the potential to create a flourishing network is very real and attainable.
Der Beitrag Connect. Inform. Empower. erschien zuerst auf Heidelberg Laureate Forum.
]]>Der Beitrag What’s in a scientist’s mind? the HLF Questionnaire – Part 2 erschien zuerst auf Heidelberg Laureate Forum.
]]>From an early age, Larwan was interested in maths and space. While other fields of knowledge appeared too abstract to grasp, maths offered him a clear and unambiguous structure. The taste for logics naturally led him to Computer Science. An internship with Prof. Rosalee Wolfe at DePaul University was crucial in his career path. Prof. Wolfe runs a project to improve the accessibility of the DHH community, the ASL Project. It is therefore no coincidence that the first deaf woman to get a PhD in Computer Science, Karen Alkoby, was a member of Prof. Wolfe’s group. While at DePaul university, Larwan met Dr. Matt Huenerfauth, also part of the ASL Project. Huenerfauth encouraged him to pursue a PhD in Computer Science, under the joint supervision of Wolfe, Huenerfauth and Prof. Vicki Hanson (president of the American Machine Computing Association), whose research interests involve accessibility issues in communities with disabilities, and in particular, has worked on American Sign Language.
*DDH: Deaf and Hard of Hearing.
Larwan is hard to miss in a crowd, given his stature and his curly hair, but during the 5th HLF week, he attracted the other participant’s attention also for being the first deaf participant at the HLF, and for having the best team of interpreters around him. Without a professional mathematics background, with the help of Larwan, they were able to translate in real-time complex notions of computer science and maths into American Sign Language, as it can be seen here. Personally, I believe that for this fact alone, these 4 remarkable people deserve our deepest admiration.
Der Beitrag What’s in a scientist’s mind? the HLF Questionnaire – Part 2 erschien zuerst auf Heidelberg Laureate Forum.
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