The Common Denominator

21-22 March 2014

2 notes

Day 2
Even though the main focus of the conference was directed towards the links between mathematics and British culture, we also had time to look “Beyond Britain” in the first panel of the second conference day. Henrik Kragh Sørensen (Aarhus University) started the morning with an illuminating paper about the Norwegian mathematician Niels Abel and the appropriation and re-imagination of his image as a romantic national hero. The second paper in this panel was presented by Łukasz Matuszyk (Uniwersytet Śląski). He introduced the audience to “liberature”, a recent form of Polish literature which allows for the depiction of space based on mathematical principles.
The second keynote of the conference was delivered by Michele Emmer (University of Rome “La Sapienza”). In his talk he focused on the representation of mathematicians in novels, theatre and film of the twentieth and twenty-first century and concluded that mathematicians in film are either mad, bad or dangerous.
The second panel of the day investigated literary excursions into geometry. Moritz Ingwersen (Trent University) turned his attention to non-Euclidean geometry as he pondered the seemingly impossible spaces in the recent US-American novel House of Leaves which is also reminiscent of the imaginary worlds found in the artistic works of M.C. Escher. In contrast, Wolfgang Funk (Leibniz University) analyzed the Victorian satire Flatland that uses Euclidean geometry to criticize then contemporary views of the roles of women, evolutionary theory and the British class system.
In the third panel of the day order and chaos were pitched against each other. Valerie Allen (City University of New York) traced the introduction of Arab numerals into Western culture by way of didactic manuals that described in which order and directions these new numbers had to be written down and read. Who would have thought that writing something as simple as “9346” required a good page of written instructions. Johanna Grabow (Leipzig University) then rejected the ordered world of numbering and instead traced the appropriation of chaos theory for the postmodern novel. With the examples of To Say Nothing of the Dog and The Difference Engine, she illustrated that deterministic chaos may equally pose a threat as well as allow for positive outlooks.
The final panel of the day and of the conference was dedicated to investigations of the Charles Dickens novel Hard Times. Margaret Kolb (University of California Berkeley) argued that in this novel Dickens rejects the inhumanity of cold statistics and, instead, labours for the recovery of history. In contrast, Sheelagh Russell-Brown (Saint Mary’s University, Halifax) investigated the mathematical, statistical and utilitarian imagery of the novel and rooted it in its historical context of mid-Victorian Britain and argued that Dickens’s portrayal of statistics and utilitarianism is lacking in fact in order to provide his readers with easy entertainment.
As organisers, we would like to thank our speakers for their illuminating papers. Over the cause of two days, the nineteen speakers from eight different countries and as many academic disciplines investigated such diverse topics as music, sports, gambling, architecture, the fine arts, literature, biography and philosophy in Britain since the Middle Age. What united these different topics and the different analytical approaches was mathematics as ordering principle and common denominator.

Day 2

Even though the main focus of the conference was directed towards the links between mathematics and British culture, we also had time to look “Beyond Britain” in the first panel of the second conference day. Henrik Kragh Sørensen (Aarhus University) started the morning with an illuminating paper about the Norwegian mathematician Niels Abel and the appropriation and re-imagination of his image as a romantic national hero. The second paper in this panel was presented by Łukasz Matuszyk (Uniwersytet Śląski). He introduced the audience to “liberature”, a recent form of Polish literature which allows for the depiction of space based on mathematical principles.

The second keynote of the conference was delivered by Michele Emmer (University of Rome “La Sapienza”). In his talk he focused on the representation of mathematicians in novels, theatre and film of the twentieth and twenty-first century and concluded that mathematicians in film are either mad, bad or dangerous.

The second panel of the day investigated literary excursions into geometry. Moritz Ingwersen (Trent University) turned his attention to non-Euclidean geometry as he pondered the seemingly impossible spaces in the recent US-American novel House of Leaves which is also reminiscent of the imaginary worlds found in the artistic works of M.C. Escher. In contrast, Wolfgang Funk (Leibniz University) analyzed the Victorian satire Flatland that uses Euclidean geometry to criticize then contemporary views of the roles of women, evolutionary theory and the British class system.

In the third panel of the day order and chaos were pitched against each other. Valerie Allen (City University of New York) traced the introduction of Arab numerals into Western culture by way of didactic manuals that described in which order and directions these new numbers had to be written down and read. Who would have thought that writing something as simple as “9346” required a good page of written instructions. Johanna Grabow (Leipzig University) then rejected the ordered world of numbering and instead traced the appropriation of chaos theory for the postmodern novel. With the examples of To Say Nothing of the Dog and The Difference Engine, she illustrated that deterministic chaos may equally pose a threat as well as allow for positive outlooks.

The final panel of the day and of the conference was dedicated to investigations of the Charles Dickens novel Hard Times. Margaret Kolb (University of California Berkeley) argued that in this novel Dickens rejects the inhumanity of cold statistics and, instead, labours for the recovery of history. In contrast, Sheelagh Russell-Brown (Saint Mary’s University, Halifax) investigated the mathematical, statistical and utilitarian imagery of the novel and rooted it in its historical context of mid-Victorian Britain and argued that Dickens’s portrayal of statistics and utilitarianism is lacking in fact in order to provide his readers with easy entertainment.

As organisers, we would like to thank our speakers for their illuminating papers. Over the cause of two days, the nineteen speakers from eight different countries and as many academic disciplines investigated such diverse topics as music, sports, gambling, architecture, the fine arts, literature, biography and philosophy in Britain since the Middle Age. What united these different topics and the different analytical approaches was mathematics as ordering principle and common denominator.

Filed under Conference report Common Denominator Anglistik British Studies Uni Leipzig Universität Leipzig mathematics

0 notes

Day 1
The conference saw a brilliant start with a keynote delivered by Robin Wilson (Pembroke College, Oxford, and Open University). In his engaging talk, he demonstrated the underlying mathematical structures in music. Audience participation was encouraged by means of clapping, singing and playing the recorder.
In the first panel of the day, Vera Bühlmann (ETH Zürich) and Nina Engelhardt (University of Edinburgh) presented two inspiring papers touching on mathematical visions. While Vera traced the dream of establishing a universal method of reasoning, Nina illustrated the connection between the imaginary worlds of fiction and imaginary numbers.
In the second panel, the systematic recreational engagement with numbers and number systems came to the front as Edith Gruber (Prifysgol Bangor University) presented her results of an empirical study of rugby commentaries in Welsh and the use of the traditional versus the decimal counting system. Ursula Kania (Leipzig University) took the audience on an excursion into the world of British Bingo lingo as a means of signalling group identity by creating nicknames for numbers. Again, audience participation was encouraged as Bingo sheets where handed out.
Our third panel of the day was dedicated to the aesthetics of mathematics. Based on the two principles of Platonism and Intuitionism, Matthew W. Turner (Francis Marion University) discussed the aesthetic features of mathematics and explained his argument with the help of the St Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The second paper was presented by Norbert Schaffeld (University of Bremen) who examined John Banville’s novel Kepler and the rootedness of the narrative in mathematical thinking. The panel concluded with a paper by Emiddio Vasquez (Kingston University) who traced the correspondence between music and smooth Riemannian manifolds.
The last paper of the day was delivered by Ari Belenkiy (Simon Fraser University) who joined us from Canada via Skype. He traced the historical development of British coins and in how far Newton improved the quality of British coinage during his tenure at the Royal Mint.
After so many engaging and diverse papers, this first conference day came to a successful conclusion in the welcoming atmosphere of the Johann S. restaurant.
We are looking forward to our second day of the conference and are excited to hear the remaining papers.

Day 1

The conference saw a brilliant start with a keynote delivered by Robin Wilson (Pembroke College, Oxford, and Open University). In his engaging talk, he demonstrated the underlying mathematical structures in music. Audience participation was encouraged by means of clapping, singing and playing the recorder.

In the first panel of the day, Vera Bühlmann (ETH Zürich) and Nina Engelhardt (University of Edinburgh) presented two inspiring papers touching on mathematical visions. While Vera traced the dream of establishing a universal method of reasoning, Nina illustrated the connection between the imaginary worlds of fiction and imaginary numbers.

In the second panel, the systematic recreational engagement with numbers and number systems came to the front as Edith Gruber (Prifysgol Bangor University) presented her results of an empirical study of rugby commentaries in Welsh and the use of the traditional versus the decimal counting system. Ursula Kania (Leipzig University) took the audience on an excursion into the world of British Bingo lingo as a means of signalling group identity by creating nicknames for numbers. Again, audience participation was encouraged as Bingo sheets where handed out.

Our third panel of the day was dedicated to the aesthetics of mathematics. Based on the two principles of Platonism and Intuitionism, Matthew W. Turner (Francis Marion University) discussed the aesthetic features of mathematics and explained his argument with the help of the St Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The second paper was presented by Norbert Schaffeld (University of Bremen) who examined John Banville’s novel Kepler and the rootedness of the narrative in mathematical thinking. The panel concluded with a paper by Emiddio Vasquez (Kingston University) who traced the correspondence between music and smooth Riemannian manifolds.

The last paper of the day was delivered by Ari Belenkiy (Simon Fraser University) who joined us from Canada via Skype. He traced the historical development of British coins and in how far Newton improved the quality of British coinage during his tenure at the Royal Mint.

After so many engaging and diverse papers, this first conference day came to a successful conclusion in the welcoming atmosphere of the Johann S. restaurant.

We are looking forward to our second day of the conference and are excited to hear the remaining papers.

Filed under Conference Common Denominator British Studies Anglistik mathematics Uni Leipzig Universität Leipzig report

0 notes

Conference Warming — A Smashing Start

We’re happy to have met the first delegates for a small, informal gathering this evening. We hope you all enjoyed the view over Leipzig from the City Skyscraper, the short guided tour through the city centre and the fantastic homebrew at the Brauhaus.

See you tomorrow for the first day of the conference!

Filed under Conference conference warming Common Denominator Anglistik British Studies Uni Leipzig Universität Leipzig mathematics Uni-Riese

0 notes

Conference Warming: Brauhaus an der Thomaskirche

After the short guided tour through the city centre of Leipzig, we are going to meet at the restauant Brauhaus an der Thomaskirche at 18.00.

Address:
Thomaskirchhof 3-5
04109 Leipzig

In case you are unable to meet us for the guided walk, but still want to enjoy a good meal in a German restaurant (that also serves a fantastic home brew!), just ask for the reservation under the name “Common Denominator” and you will be directed to our table.

Filed under conference warming conference Brauhaus Leipzig Common Denominator British Studies Anglistik Uni Leipzig Universität Leipzig mathematics

23 notes

REMINDER — Conference Warming: City-Hochhaus Leipzig
For the conference warming on 20 March, just around the time of sunset, you will have the opportunity to get a good panoramic view over Leipzig from the visitors’ platform of the City-Hochhaus Leipzig. We meet at the the entrance of this 36-storey skyscraper at 17.00. Our assistents will be posted around the place to direct you to the entrance of the skyscraper.
PLEASE NOTE A CHANGE REGARDING THE ADMISSION FEE:
Admission is free for all those who have registered for the conference.
If you have not registered for the conference, you may still attend, however, you would be required to cover the admission fee of € 3.00.
However, if you want to give it a miss and only want to attend the guided tour and the following conference warming in the Brauhaus, meet us at the entrance of the skyscraper at 17.30.
We are excited to meet you!

REMINDER — Conference Warming: City-Hochhaus Leipzig

For the conference warming on 20 March, just around the time of sunset, you will have the opportunity to get a good panoramic view over Leipzig from the visitors’ platform of the City-Hochhaus Leipzig. We meet at the the entrance of this 36-storey skyscraper at 17.00. Our assistents will be posted around the place to direct you to the entrance of the skyscraper.

PLEASE NOTE A CHANGE REGARDING THE ADMISSION FEE:

  • Admission is free for all those who have registered for the conference.
  • If you have not registered for the conference, you may still attend, however, you would be required to cover the admission fee of € 3.00.

However, if you want to give it a miss and only want to attend the guided tour and the following conference warming in the Brauhaus, meet us at the entrance of the skyscraper at 17.30.

We are excited to meet you!

(Source: lady-annabelle, via denominator-2014)

Filed under conference conference warming city-hochhaus Common Denominator British Studies Anglistik Uni Leipzig Uni-Riese Universität Leipzig mathematics cultural studies

23 notes

REMINDER — Conference Warming: City-Hochhaus Leipzig
For the conference warming on 20 March, just around the time of sunset, you will have the opportunity to get a good panoramic view over Leipzig from the visitors’ platform of the City-Hochhaus Leipzig. We meet at the the entrance of this 36-storey skyscraper at 17.00. Admission is EUR 3.00.
However, if you want to give it a miss and only want to attend the guided tour and the following conference warming in the Brauhaus, meet us at the entrance of the skyscraper at 17.30.
We are excited to meet you!

REMINDER — Conference Warming: City-Hochhaus Leipzig

For the conference warming on 20 March, just around the time of sunset, you will have the opportunity to get a good panoramic view over Leipzig from the visitors’ platform of the City-Hochhaus Leipzig. We meet at the the entrance of this 36-storey skyscraper at 17.00. Admission is EUR 3.00.

However, if you want to give it a miss and only want to attend the guided tour and the following conference warming in the Brauhaus, meet us at the entrance of the skyscraper at 17.30.

We are excited to meet you!

(Source: lady-annabelle, via denominator-2014)

Filed under conference conference warming uni-riese city-hochhaus leipzig common denominator british studies anglistik uni leipzig universität leipzig mathematics