150th Anniversary Departmental Celebration (University of Bath)

Friday 19th June, 2015
Claverton Down Road, Bath, North East Somerset, BA2 7AY

LMS 150th Anniversary Celebrations and Hardy Lectureship Tour 2015 – Bath, 19 June 2015

Report – Dr. Antal A. Jarai

A. Jarai gave an introduction to the Hardy Lectureship presentation by Prof Nalini Joshi. He recalled G.H. Hardy's efforts to have the importance of pure mathematics recognized in the UK alongside applied mathematics. Hardy regarded all beautiful mathematics important, including contributions by physicists Einstein and Maxwell, and some of his work found unexpected applications in physics. Therefore, his view of supporting beautiful mathematics regardless of immediate scope for applications was very much in line with the LMS' efforts to promote a unity of mathematics. The topic of Prof Joshi's lecture fit in very well with these ideas: the Painlevé equations, as well as other non-linear integrable systems, are both beautiful objects worthy of study in their own right, and also have applications in physics, engineering, and other fields of mathematics.

We held a wine reception following Prof Nalini Joshi's Hardy Lectureship Tour presentation from 16:15-17:15. As the topic of the talk spanned a number of groups in our department, their was interest from several people, including from the areas of applied analysis, algebra, geometry and probability. Several PhD students also attended. There was particularly strong interest from the algebra and geometry group, who exchanged ideas with the speaker. Conversations during the reception also mentioned Hardy's famous anti-war quote about no mathematics to be abused to anyone.

In a speech during the reception, A. Jarai recalled some of the history of the LMS: its founding at UCL, how it quickly attracted eminent mathematicians from across the country and established itself as a national society for mathematics. He also recalled the LMS' precursors: the Spitalfields Society and the Royal Astronomical Society, quoting De Morgan on “fermentation of symbols being our only heavy”. Coming to present day efforts of the LMS, A. Jarai mentioned, among other things, the various grant schemes by which the LMS supports conferences and young mathematicians, the prizes by which it recognizes outstanding contributions, as well as its role as a major scientific publisher providing low cost journals. J. Dawes encouraged the younger attendees to join the LMS. In a toast we raised our glass to celebrate the LMS's 150th birthday.