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Moreover, it has also become clear to me that very many people lack the basic numeracy skills that really should be a sine qua non of modern life. Similarly, they lack the logical framework that ought to be the basis of modern thought, whether in the political field where I am now engaged or in other parts of life.
While it is of course possible to study subjects other than Mathematics and to retain these attributes, too many people do not. Worse than this, many people retain a fear of Mathematics and its methods which verges on the irrational. I think this can only come from early educational experiences which led them to feel that their failures to grasp some aspects of the language of mathematics, or to be confident in carrying out certain mathematical techniques represented a personal inadequacy or incapacity which is for them demotivating and depressing.
Ironically, at the same time, most people do acknowledge that mastering a range of mathematical skills is essential for a rewarding career. For example, a recent study into mathematical skills in the workplace found that jobs at all levels in seven sectors of the economy needed 'mathematical literacy', particularly at the inter-face between Information Communication Technology and decision-making. Whatever the reasons for this state of affairs, I have personally been keen in the various roles that I have played in educational policy-making to encourage far higher standards of comprehension and command of mathematics that now exist across the population.
This is, however, a difficult task, as the explanation for why this state of affairs has arisen is ambiguous and the remedies are not always easy to identify. This problem is not unique to the UK; it is shared by many other countries. These are the reasons why the Government established a large scale review of mathematics post under the leadership of Professor Adrian Smith.
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His report, 'Making Mathematics Count', was published on 24th February The Inquiry makes recommendations on changes to the curriculum and qualifications for those aged 14 and over - in schools, colleges and higher education institutions - to enable those students to acquire mathematical knowledge and skills necessary to meet the requirements of employers and of further and higher education.
He also makes related recommendations on teacher supply and continuing professional development. This will be set within the context of Mike Tomlinson's wider review into education more generally. The publication of this report now gives us the opportunity to get this right, so that more children and young people acquire confidence in mathematical disciplines and their related subjects and that more young people study these subjects in depth. Some elements of the solution are now widely understood, and are beginning to be put into effect. I will give just three examples. First, it is obviously right to focus strongly on raising achievement in numeracy at the earliest stages.
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Children need key building blocks in place as they leave primary school. That is why since we have had a numeracy strategy and there has been a significant improvement at both Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3. Secondly, it is clearly necessary to focus on providing stronger support for Mathematics teachers, and their teaching and learning methods. There needs to be far more regular and systematic access to the latest thinking and, so, closer ties between the discipline of mathematics itself and those who teach it. There is beginning to be a rich and creative supply of resources, such as NRICH at the Millenium Maths Project, but teachers need better access and more encouragement to take advantage of them.
This is why I announced the establishment of a new National Centre for Excellence in Mathematics last Spring, and I am carefully considering Adrian Smith's recommendations on the best way of developing this. Thirdly, the increasing availability of, and confidence in, Information and Communications Technology is a massive opportunity. This is critical to the future of Mathematics teaching, to aid grasp of mathematical concepts and to enthuse the learner by engaging them in new and innovative ways.
These are just three areas where some progress has been made but a great deal remains to be done. Adrian Smith's report provides us with a far more comprehensive analysis.
The asymptopia of quasi-local mass and momentum. I. General formalism and stationary spacetimes
I know from my visit last year that the Cambridge Centre for Mathematical Sciences is an outstanding inspiration for what can be achieved. Developing stronger Mathematics disciplines across the country can only strengthen the achievements of the Centre. That means establishing a virtuous circle in which more school students desire to study mathematical subjects, leading to more undergraduates in those disciplines. Thus leading to an increasing number of undergraduates who want to undertake research in these disciplines, leading to greater standing for these disciplines in the academic world and more widely, leading to more interest in these subjects amongst those at school.
I believe that it is indeed possible to create such a virtuous circle and I hope that the Government, in first setting up and then in responding to Adrian Smith's enquiry can help to make it happen. Congratulations to Peter Gershon, chairman of the mathematics fundraising committee, on the award of a knighthood in the New Year's Honours List.
One of the lecture rooms at the CMS bears his name.
Warm congratulations to Edward Cullinan Architects and all the construction team. Congratulations to Professor Michael Green, who has been awarded the Dirac Medal of the Institute of Physics for his crucial role in the development of superstring theory as a credible new framework for physics.
Professor A. This is the most prestigious prize of the Academy, it is given every four years to a single scholar chosen from Science, Engineering or Medicine. It is the first time that it is given in Applied Mathematics.
The CMI has established an exchange program, allowing undergraduates to spend a year at the other institution. Mathematics is one of the subject areas that permits students to spend a year abroad. Students from Cambridge University spend their 2nd year at MIT, studying a program decided by themselves, in discussion with their subject coordinator in Cambridge and their advisor at MIT. Students are able to choose courses from a broader subject range and are also able to participate in research projects.
I spent my second year at MIT. It was the first year that Cambridge had sent undergraduates over the Atlantic, and of the thirty that went, two of us were doing maths. I had jumped at the chance to go, finding the offer of a year abroad highly attractive. Plus I had always wanted to meet a real American. The approach to undergraduate mathematics in America is somewhat different to the way we do things.
First of all, it is rare to devote all of your energies to one subject - to graduate from MIT you need to have taken courses from a range of subjects, including options in the humanities. Can you imagine? Maths students being forced to write essays? It looked to be a strange world. My advisor similar to a Director of Studies was rather shocked at the idea that one might spend more than two-thirds of your time on just one subject.
In the end I took his advice; I even took a course in welding.
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It is interesting that when candidates apply for MIT, they do not have to specify a subject that they wish to study. This is partly because they come to university from a lower level of specialisation, and spend their first year doing a range of basic courses to bring them up to the level require to study more advanced courses. But it is also because at the undergraduate level, students are encouraged to have a broader outlook; after all, if they do choose to persue a career in academia there is plenty of time to hone their skills.
They are also encouraged to involve themselves in research. I ended up on an undergraduate research team at Harvard in my second semester; our results have been published. However, I admit that mathematics is a particularly difficult subject to do research in without an awful lot of background, and this idea of undergraduate involvement was really most successful in the engineering department. It is one of the reasons that MIT outputs such brilliant engineers. As technological singularity creeps up on us, that scenario doesn't sound so crazy. Cost would go down; power would double.
That's why we've been able to go from computers the size of a room to an iPod.
There are billions of transistors on a chip now, but eventually they'll become so small they can't distinguish between a one and a zero. More recently, British artist Luciana Haill composed music via EEGs monitoring brain waves fed through a computer program on the Future of Sound tour in the UK, something Nicholson wasn't as familiar with, but she suggests that as an interface, the brain goes both ways, accepting info and projecting.
It's an exciting possibility in this age of constant updates, but the logic behind what's ethical and what's not will no doubt get fuzzy.
Welcome to Asymptopia, derived from "asymptotic," where the curve gets closer and closer to a line but never reaches it. Ask Pearlman about his Music panel, and his mostly uninterrupted minute treatise pulls up a virtual teleprompter that scrolls through the philosophical structure and reasoning of a scholar speaking in real time:. As it bears on music, the thinking is that all our musical assets can be extracted from the Web on a real-time basis, either stored up there or extracted by streaming or downloads from the Cloud, the cloud of remotely located, stored, and accessible music.
This is really a cool idea in theory. The problem is that it makes one completely dependent upon the continued existence of these assets and on the good will of the people controlling the assets, on the capabilities of the networks delivering these assets, et cetera.
Approach to asymptopia in electron-positron annihilation into hadrons
That's a situation wherein costs for local storage have become so cheap they're crashing toward the zero point. Soon enough there will be solid-state storage devices the size of a big bar of soap, and then the size of a guitar pick, and soon so small they will be capable of being implanted within you. So you could, let's say no more than five to 10 years from today — no more — walk around with all the music ever recorded in the history of the world in an implanted principal device within your body.
I'm exaggerating, but not by much. I was always interested in how quickly, really over the past 10 years, the way we consume music has changed already. In , major labels still rode a cash crop of CD sales on the backs of boy bands and pop idols, and Steve Jobs was still a year away from unveiling Apple's game-changing iPod. Yet even then, the seeds of the music industry's shift into digital upheaval were already beginning to bloom, sprouting the current expectations of mobility, instantaneousness, and consumer-based value of music.
Rounding into the next decade, similar outlying trends portend the digital music future that lies ahead. The move to cloud-based computing has begun to mainstream the viability of subscription-based music services like Spotify, and with iTunes' recent acquisition of streaming site Lala, traditional models of personal music ownership may well be culturally quaint by Combined with the ubiquitous accessibility provided by mobile devices, from smart phones to the coming onslaught of tablet computers like the iPad, the only elements hindering music's shift to the cloud are remediable network capabilities and labels' willingness to license to streaming services.
With the shift from music as a physical product, a number of new digital formats are also emerging that seek to enhance the listening experience through multimedia. Possible successors to the MP3, such as MusicDNA, add metadata that connect a song to peripheral collateral, ranging from bands' social networks to special artwork to the ability to purchase concert tickets.
Likewise, the current popularity of location-based check-in services like Foursquare or Gowalla look toward a personal level of interactivity at shows that could provide an immediately monetizable exchange through mobile payments. Whatever may emerge over the next decade, the dust from the music industry's digital shift seems to be settling, with viable models finally emerging that serve both fans and artists.
Nirvana was influenced by Sonic Youth, by the Pixies. Why should I not grab everything I can and everything I am influenced by? The answer is a bit more complicated than one would expect. While Girl Talk's dance music sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen — his copyright-challenging breakthrough LP, 's Night Ripper , used more than song samples without permission or licensing — not one of those artists, nor their labels, has yet challenged the use in court.
Girl Talk's defense boils down to Supreme Court decision Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc. In regard to 2 Live Crew's parody of Roy Orbison's "Oh, Pretty Woman," the court expanded the protections of fair use to include, along with commentary and criticism, parodies created for profit. Without even trying, Girl Talk's mixes are both commentary and parody, mirroring the pace and disposability of our consumer-driven culture. The same holds true arguably for music. What's been less clear or treated differently is hip-hop sampling that's not being done for parody but in more of a referential way.
There is a strong argument that it's fair use, but it doesn't fit as nicely into those parameters. While nothing has changed on the books, there does appear to be a greater understanding in the courts and the music industry about the transformative nature of sampling. After all, Girl Talk samples both songs named in the Campbell suit on his chaser, Feed the Animals. Record labels need to recognize that and learn how to see it as an advantage for their artists.