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Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences

Newton Institute Correspondents' Bulletin No 28

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NEWTON INSTITUTE CORRESPONDENTS' BULLETIN
No 28 - September 2011

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FOR INFORMATION:
1. Thank you from the Director
2. Feedback from the Annual Meeting of Correspondents

1. Thank you from the Director:

John Toland takes over as Director from 1 October, and I wanted to take this opportunity to welcome him, and to thank all Correspondents for your contributions over the past five years - and longer for many of you. I believe that the changes three years ago to strengthen the engagement with Correspondents, not least through the appointment of Caroline Series as Chair and as a member of Management Committee, have greatly enhanced our links with the community. This is a wonderful place, and the existence of the Correspondents' network is a really important factor in that. My sincere thanks and very best wishes for the future. David

2. Feedback from the Annual Meeting of Correspondents:

The Annual Meeting of Correspondents for 2011 was very successful and well attended. The breakout sessions proved to be very useful in highlighting a number of key focus areas for the Institute. We have presented the issues raised, together with some responses from David Wallace and John Toland, in a bulletin board format at https://escher.newton.cam.ac.uk:8443/forum/viewforum.php?f=7 Please use the password that you have been send via e-mail to log on.

The format allows Correspondents to add further comments and the Institute hopes to use this facility to generate vigorous discussion. Please do take a little time to look and add your comments. Your views and feedback are extremely important to us.

FOR DISTRIBUTION TO RELEVANT DEPARTMENTS OR GROUPS:

1. Newton Institute 20th Anniversary in 2012
2. Newton Institute 20th Anniversary Lectures
3. Cross-Disciplinary Initiative
4. Newton Institute Web-Seminars reach record download numbers
5. Programme announcements
6. Programme announcements
7. Rothschild Visiting Professor seminars
8. Reminders on: Correspondents' web page; short visits; seminars at your institution; Junior membership scheme; video seminars on the web.

1. Newton Institute 20th Anniversary in 2012:

Throughout 2012 the Newton Institute will be celebrating its 20th Anniversary. There will be a variety of events through the year which will range from special talks aimed at children to scientific talks from distinguished mathematicians. Some events will take place at the Institute and others will be at venues in London or the rest of the UK (see item 2 below). Events will be advertised on our website at http://www.newton.ac.uk/20/ and will be circulated widely nearer the time.

2. Newton Institute 20th Anniversary Lectures:

As part of our 20th anniversary celebrations in 2012, we will sponsor lectures around the UK by participants at the Institute. Please raise this within your Department, to see if there is an interest in doing this in your Institution, and let Sara Wilkinson s.wilkinson@newton.ac.uk and the Director director@newton.ac.uk know of your intentions at the earliest opportunity. As well as paying the travel expenses of the speaker within the UK, as we do normally, for these anniversary lectures we offer £200 towards the cost of reception (tea and biscuits before and/or wine after) for all attending, £300 towards the cost of a dinner party for selected guests, and up to £100 for overnight accommodation for the speaker. Costs beyond these figures would have to be met by your Institution. We generally expect Institutions in the same city to co-ordinate, and each Institution to host at most one anniversary lecture during the year. Our requirements are: 'Newton Institute 20th Anniversary Lecture' is used in publicity; and we are given the number attending the talk, the names of those attending the dinner and copies of invoices to show that costs were at least the figure we are donating. Detailed arrangements for inviting anyone will rest with your institution. The names and dates of participants can be found under Invited Participants on the appropriate web pages:

The Mathematics and Applications of Branes in String and M-Theory (3 Jan - 29 June)
Semantics and Syntax: A Legacy of Alan Turing (9 Jan - 6 July)
Topological Dynamics in the Physical and Biological Sciences (16 July - 21 Dec)
Spectral Theory of Relativistic Operators (23 July - 17 Aug)
Multiscale Numerics for the Atmosphere and Ocean (22 Aug - 21 Dec)

3. Cross-Disciplinary Initiative

The Institute has always interpreted mathematical sciences in the broadest terms, to include mathematics and its applications and potential applications. Indeed the rationale for focusing on programmes of up to six months is to give researchers from different communities the time and space to learn enough of each other's work to communicate and collaborate effectively. The result has been the output from an extraordinary range of programme areas. (This can be found on our programme pages).

A cross-disciplinary initiative launched in June 2011 through a special call for proposals will take this aspect of programmes to a new level. The initiative is aimed at ensuring that proposals place mathematics at the heart of research in other disciplines where this is appropriate. In this way, it is expected that the support of the Institute for fundamental mathematics will be taken into new areas of application. This is exciting in its own right and a special challenge for the Scientific Steering Committee. We are addressing that by co-opting to meetings experts in disciplines which are removed from the expertise of SSC members. The special call resulted in sixteen new proposals for consideration by SSC in October. Many have the potential to break new ground for the application of mathematics in exciting ways, both in terms of fundamental understanding and impact. They will be featured in future Newsletters.

4. Newton Institute Web-Seminars reach record download numbers

The dissemination of seminars on the internet is evolving into one of the most important pathways to impact for the Newton Institute. The high resolution video recordings are shipped to Streaming Media Services (SMS) of the University of Cambridge, who mount them in web format. SMS also provide statistics on downloads. To date there have been half a million views of Institute seminars, with more than 115 Tbytes of downloads, an average of c. 230 Mbytes per view. The reporting system has frequency usage and drill-down, to individual seminars. Interpreting the data is an interesting subject in its own right: what is the global distribution of requests; can we identify 'hacking' behaviour or individuals increasing a new 'citation' count(!); are some downloads commercial ISPs cacheing; or other agencies just grabbing content; or are some views the first stirrings of search engines doing speech recognition for searchable key words, or images. Further analysis on the download data will be fascinating, and a vital step in interpreting the impact.

5. Programme announcements:

A full list of programmes is at www.newton.ac.uk/programmes/

6. Workshop announcements:

A full list of forthcoming workshops is at www.newton.ac.uk/events.html

7. Rothschild Visiting Professor seminars

To receive regular announcements of the Monday Seminars, subscribe at Monday Seminars Mailing List

8. Reminders:

Correspondents’ web page; short visits; seminars at your institution; Junior Membership scheme:

  1. The Correspondents’ web page (containing a list of all Correspondents, past bulletins and other information) is at www.newton.ac.uk/correspondents.html.

  2. Short visits: Anyone from the UK can simply turn up at the Institute for up to 2 days without any kind of formal invitation. A brief email to info@newton.ac.uk beforehand telling us when you intend to arrive will help us to provide you with some facilities. Visits lasting more than 2 days require an invitation. Full details at www.newton.ac.uk/shortvisits.html.

  3. The Newton Institute strongly encourages its long-term participants from overseas to visit other UK institutions during their stay. We will pay the travel costs (but not accommodation etc) for such visits on request. Do please alert the organisers of your local seminar series to this possibility, and direct them to the participants web page under each programme, or the listing of those participants who have indicated an interest in receiving invitations: www.newton.ac.uk/programmes/Speakers.html.

  4. Junior Membership Scheme: Early career researchers are encouraged to apply to become Junior Members of the Institute. To be eligible you must be a Research Student or within 5 years of having received a PhD (with appropriate allowance for career breaks), and you must work or study in a UK University, academic institution or R&D group in industry or commerce. Junior members may apply for special grants to allow them to attend Institute events. Do please advertise this opportunity to suitable candidates. Further details are available at www.newton.ac.uk/junior.html.

This bulletin is sent in January, May and September each year. We hope you find it a useful way of keeping in touch and a helpful source of information to distribute to your colleagues. As always, the Director is very happy to receive comments or suggestions regarding the Institute and its activities, including possibilities for future programmes: director@newton.ac.uk. He would be very pleased to visit your institution to talk about the Institute, what's happening here, and to hear your views.




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