Funbers 5

As well as being a hit(?) boyband from the 90’s, five is also a number. We have five human senses, five rings in the Olympic symbol and five Platonic Solids. These are my favourite shapes and were believed by the Ancient Greeks to be the building blocks of the universe…

You can listen to all of the Funbers episodes from BBC Radio Cambridgeshire and BBC Radio Oxford here.

Tom Rocks Maths Episode 03

Episode number 3 of Tom Rocks Maths on Oxide Radio – Oxford University’s student radio station. Featuring special guest Marie who talks about bringing dinosaurs back to life, asks me to explain the fourth dimension and tests out her mathematical knowledge with a dinosaur-themed quiz. Plus the weekly puzzle, the chaotic world of Funbers and music from Muse, Stereophonics and Bowling for Soup…

Funbers – Feigenbaum’s Constant

Funbers enters the world of Chaos with Feigenbaum’s constant, equal to 4.67… Mathematically, it’s the quickest route to complete and utter unpredictability and was only discovered 40 years ago… madness (in more ways than one).

You can listen to all of the Funbers episodes from BBC Radio Cambridgeshire and BBC Radio Oxford here.

Funbers 4

The number 4 is a symbol of balance and stability: tables and chairs have four legs, as do most animals, and humans have four limbs. We also like to divide things up into fours – four parts of the day, four points on a compass and four seasons for example. And then there’s the four horsemen of the apocalypse, wreaking havoc and causing death and destruction everywhere they tread. Maybe four isn’t so stable after all…

You can listen to all of the Funbers episodes from BBC Radio Cambridgeshire and BBC Radio Oxford here.

Oxplore Live Stream Debate

Would it be better if we all spoke the same language? Live debate with Oxplore – Oxford University’s digital outreach portal. Watch me try to convince some linguists that Maths is indeed a language and also our best bet of communicating with aliens…

Tom Rocks Maths Episode 02

The second live episode of Tom Rocks Maths on Oxide Radio – Oxford University’s student radio station. Featuring aliens, death by duel, Indiana Jones and the weekly maths puzzle for you to solve. Plus music from Rise Against, Good Charlotte and Asking Alexandria…

Funbers Pi

Funbers continues with the number Pi – undoubtedly a mathematician’s favourite food and also a universal constant that is built into the very fabric of the universe… If that sounds like a bold claim be sure to listen below to find out why…

You can listen to all of the Funbers episodes from BBC Radio Cambridgeshire and BBC Radio Oxford here.

BBC Cambridgeshire Interview

Starting from my love of multiplication questions at primary school, I talk about my new role as a maths tutor at the University of Oxford, what a typical day looks like for the Naked Mathematician and give a sneak preview of my upcoming talk at New Scientist Live later this year… Live interview with BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.

Putting flies to sleep with light

Gero Miesenboeck is one of the pioneers of the field of optogenetics – an incredible neurological tool that uses light to activate specific cells in the brain. He is using the technique in fruit flies, which can be put to sleep simply by flashing a red light in their direction. I went to Oxford University to meet Gero and find out why…

  • Optogenetics works by genetically modifying cells in the brain to be activated by light, thus allowing them to be controlled.
  • Gero and his team identified the area of a fly’s brain that causes it to go to sleep and then embedded a light-sensitive gene into DNA of these cells.
  • By shining a red light onto the fly from above, the light penetrates the skull of the fly and acts as the ‘on switch’ to turn on the neurons that cause the fly to go to sleep.
  • This is tested experimentally in Gero’s lab where flies that were previously buzzing around almost instantly stop moving when the red light is turned on and enter a state that demonstrates all of the classical hallmarks of sleep.
  • When the light is turned off the fly begins to instantaneously move once again and returns to its normal behaviour.

 

You can listen to the full interview for the Naked Scientists here.

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