tLoaAS - Blog

Photography

Oxford is undoubtedly a beautiful place to live and work. With its combination of history, architecture and landscapes, it also makes the perfect setting for photography.
I've never been very good at capturing a good photo but a friend of mine, Kanchan Sachdev is much more experienced. She has recently decided to try and set up a photography business and already has an impressive portfolio. The photo here of the Radcliffe Square in Oxford was taken and edited by her.

Alongside nature, her main interest is portraits. She is available for wedding, family and party shoots so please support her in her new venture!
kanchansachdev.wix.com/photography


Generators go global!

Back when I was a tutor, I did a quick Google search and found that there was little help offered to anyone who wanted to quickly create simple mathematical images for use in educational material.
Over the past three years, I've been developing several tools for generating such images. All the generators started out as weekend projects as I needed to get something working in time for use in my next tutoring session!
The range of generators now includes a number line generator, analogue clock face and chronograph generator.
I've been amazed with the response I've received! I've received messages from all over the world including Maryland (USA), Bremen (Germany), Illinois (USA), New York (USA) and Seattle (USA). PhD lecturers, high school teachers and software development companies are all now using the tools I built!
Thank you to everybody who has been in contact with me to date. I really appreciate hearing how the tools benefit your work and the education of others! As always, if you have any suggestions for improvements, I'm always glad to hear them. Then we can make the tools better for all :)


The Simpsons and their Mathematical Secrets

As 2013 draws to a close, I thought I might share one of my favourite books of the year.
Combining two of my passions in life,'The Simpsons and their Mathematical Secrets' could never exactly be bad in my eyes! But for anyone with an interest in either topic, this book is a great read.
With several of it's writers being mathematicians and physicists, it was inevitable that some maths would creep into the Simpsons, but you need to be a sharp-eyed viewer to notice some of the more subtle references! Simon Singh focuses on several episodes of the series that are notable for their numerical content and explains the maths behind them.
My personal favourite of Simpson's maths occurs in the episode 'Bye, Bye Nerdie' where Lisa reveals to the scientific world that she has identified a pheromone responsible for attracting bullies, poindextrose. It is Prof. Frink's job into introduce Lisa at a conference but when he fails to get order from the scientists he yells:

I'm looking for some order. Some order please, with the eyes forward ... and the arms neatly folded ... and the paying of attention ... pi is exactly three!


Alan Turing @ 100

Today would be the 100th Birthday of a hero of mine - Alan Turing. As I expect many of you know, Alan was a British mathematician, cryptanalyst and computer scientist. During the Second World War, he worked at GCCS at Bletchley Park as the Head of Hut 8, whose primary role was to decipher German Naval messages.
During this time, he used his statistical expertise to help crack the German Enigma and Lorenz ciphers, which many believe shortened the war by several years.
After the war, he worked at the National Physics Laboratory, developing the first stored-program computer, amongst other achievements.
The tragedy of the story is Turing treatment by the legal system of the time. He was prosecuted in 1952 for 'gross indecency', leading to his security clearance being revoked and his eventual suicide in 1954, supposedly by eating an apple injected with cyanide.


Day 5 under Ubuntu!

Today marks the end off my first week running Ubuntu.
This term, I've been doing a course in Operating Systems and networks at uni and I've finally seen the light that there may be more to the world than Windows!
Ubuntu (which I'm reliably informed is pronounced oo-boon-too) is a free open-source distribution of the Linux operating system. I can't recommend it enough - its very quick, light-weight and very elegant. Having said that, it might not be for everyone - it is a bit of work to get it installed without losing all your files but it's definitely worth it! Having a fast internet connection to download the 695MB of installer would be a bonus too!