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SoMaS' Undergraduate Pizza seminar

Next talk: "The Sun - Our Local Star"

by Dr. Christopher Nelson, on Tuesday, April 19th at 5pm in Hicks LT2.

Abstract: The Sun is extremely important for life on Earth. Indeed, it supplies the energy required for plants and animals to survive and flourish here. Occasionally, however, the Sun also has the ability to be destructive, driving huge Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) from its atmosphere into the solar system and beyond. Travelling at speeds of thousands of kilometres per second, these CMEs have the potential to wreak havoc on any satellites and planets that might happen to get in the way. In this talk, we will take a journey from the inner core of the Sun to the outer corona (the apparent halo visible around the Moon during a solar eclipse) to show how maths can help us understand the environment in which CMEs are formed. We will also discover how movies of data collected by a range of telescopes and satellites can help us to understand the formation and evolution of these events, as well as their impact on the Earth.

General information:

There will be four pizza seminars during the academic year 2015/16. The dates, locations and speakers will be posted below. Each seminar will last around one hour. We will provide pizza slices for the participants, on a first come first served basis. The pizzas will arrive around the middle of the talk.

The undergraduate Pizza Seminar is organised by Madeleine Jotz Lean and Fionntan Roukema, and funded by the School of Mathematics and Statistics. Please contact us if you have any further questions.

Schedule for semester 2:

Past talks:

Rubik's cube

"Mathematics of the Rubik's cube"

by Dr. Evgeny Shinder, on Tuesday, February 9th. Click here for the slides of this talk

"A mathematical celebration"

by Dr. Fionntan Roukema, on Tuesday, November 24th.


With the possible exception of the pizza delivery person, everyone who attends this talk has made the decision to devote a significant amount of time to mathematics; but why? I will argue the position that we do so because it is a deep, mysterious, adventurous, and beautiful subject. To illustrate this, we'll speak about "the book" and some of the stunning proofs that it contains.

Penrose tiling

"Aperiodic tilings: kites, darts and the golden ratio"

by Prof. Sarah Whitehouse, on Tuesday, October 13th.


A collection of tiles of various shapes is called aperiodic if it tiles the whole plane (without gaps or overlaps) but only does this in such a way that there is no repeating pattern. It is surprising that this is possible, but in this talk you will see several examples, including the famous Penrose kite and dart tiles. You will learn how to make kite and dart tilings and how we can figure out the ratio of kites to darts.

Last modified: Tue Feb 9 22:55:19 BST 2015