MCN Newsletter 2017/1

Feb. 11, 2017

Newsletter for the Math Communication Network, a project initiated by IMAGINARY aimed at professionals of math outreach. Learn more about it on the project website.


In this Newsletter:

  • New Mathematics of Planet Earth Competition
  • Forthcoming conferences
  • Global Math Week
  • Exhibitions
  • Films
  • Highlighted projects

Remember that you can send us any news you may want to share with the community to

New Mathematics of Planet Earth Competition

Mathematics of Planet Earth (MPE) is an initiative of mathematical sciences organizations around the world designed to showcase the ways in which the mathematical sciences can be useful in tackling our world’s problems. The exhibition “Mathematics of Planet Earth” consists of modules submitted by the community, fostered originally by a 2013 international competition.

With the occasion of the Next Einstein Forum (NEF) Global Gathering; IMAGINARY, UNESCO, the International Mathematical Union (IMU), and the International Commission on Mathematical Instruction (ICMI) open this second international competition of exhibit modules to enrich the MPE exhibition. This competition aims to address the challenges in Africa, as well as in other regions of the world.

  • 1st prize:  5 000 USD
  • 2nd prize:  2 000 USD
  • 3rd prize:  1 000 USD
  • Special prize for African topic:       2 000 USD
  • Deadline:  June 30, 2017

Topics to be addressed by the exhibits include:

I. A planet to discover: oceans, meteorology and climate, mantle processes, natural resources, celestial mechanics…
II. A planet supporting life: ecology, biodiversity, evolution…
III. A planet organized by humans: political, economic, social and financial systems, organization of transport and communications networks, management of resources, energy…
IV. A planet at risk: climate change, sustainable development, epidemics, invasive species, natural disasters, risk analysis…

Modules can take the form of an interactive program, a hands-on physical exhibit, a short film, or an image gallery. All contributions must be released under an open license and they will become part of the IMAGINARY MPE exhibition.

Everybody is invited to participate. More information in the competition website.


Forthcoming Conferences

Workshop on Mathematics and its Public (Wuppertal, Germany, March 23 - 24, 2017)

This workshop (Mathematik und ihre Öffentlichkeiten) will be held at the Interdisziplinären Zentrum für Wissenschafts- und Technikforschung, (IZWT) at the Bergische Universität Wuppertal, Germany. The main goal is to investigate the relation between mathematics and its public. The workshop will be held in German language.


National Math Festival (Washington D. C., United States, April 22, 2017)

The National Math Festival brings together influential mathematicians and the public to inspire and challenge participants to see math in new and exciting ways. The festival goes through a day of lectures, hands-on demonstrations, art, films, performances, puzzles, games, children’s book readings, and more. It is open to everyone, from toddlers to adults of all ages.

The National Math Festival is free and open to the public from 10:00 a. m. till 7:00 p. m. on Saturday, April 22, 2017 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in downtown Washington, D. C. Complementary, on the same day there are events at dozens of science museums around the U.S. Check also the Festival newsletter for more news.


Ecsite Annual Conference (Porto, Portugal, June 15 - 17, 2017)

Ecsite is the European Network of Science Museums and Science Centers. The annual conference is the biggest meeting for these organizations in Europe. The conference features many parallel talks and workshops to exchange experiences, and a commercial Business Bistro for companies to show and sell their exhibitions and products. Plenty of social activities complete the program. Early registration until March 22th.


Bridges 2017 (Waterloo, Canada, 27–31 July, 2017)

The Bridges Conference is the world’s largest interdisciplinary conference on mathematics and art. The annual meeting on 2017 will take place in Canada. The conference will feature presentations of full and short papers, hands-on workshops, invited talks, a juried art exhibition, a math/art short film festival, a theater event, a music night, a mathematical poetry reading, a math/art excursion, a public day, and more. Papers will be published in the refereed conference proceedings.


MOVES 2017 (New York, United States, August 6 – 8, 2017)

MOVES (Mathematics Of Various Entertaining Subjects) is a conference on recreational mathematics organized by the National Museum of Mathematics(New York). This edition will feature keynote talks by mathematicians Persi Diaconis, Manjul Bhargava, and Art Benjamin, together with dozens of presentations of the latest research in recreational mathematics and many other ludic and social mathematical activities. Deadline for talk submissions: March 17th.


5th Heidelberg Laureate Forum (Heidelberg, Germany, September 24 – 29, 2017)

The 5th Heidelberg Laureate Forum (HLF), will take place in Heidelberg, Germany during September 24 – 29, 2017. At HLF all winners of the Fields Medal, the Abel Prize, the Alan Turing Award and the Nevanlinna Medal, and this year for the first time the ACM Prize in Computing, are invited to attend. In addition, young and talented computer scientists and mathematicians are invited to apply for participation. The HLF is supported by the International Mathematical Union.

Applications for participation at the 5th HLF are open in three categories: Undergraduates, PhD Candidates, and Postdocs. See the webpage for the online application form and for further information.

Global Math Week

The Global Math Project is a project founded by math communicator James Tanton to engage people in mathematics worldwide. Their activities, amongst others, include conferences for students and public, workshops with teachers, and meetings with supporting “Ambassadors”, mathematicians and educators that help spreading the project.

The main focus of the project is the Global Math Week 2017 (October 10 - 17, 2017). This will be a coordinated event all around the world when partners (teachers, schools, institutions) will perform the same workshop and activities across countries. The name for this workshop is “Exploding dots”, and it is freely available as a series of videos, texts and activities for any teacher that wishes to deliver it on the Global Math Week or use it on its courses.

Exploding dots is an intuitive method to understand our positional numeral system using dots in boxes. With this method, one can get an understanding of base n numbers, review and understand how we perform the basic operations, but also polynomial operations, geometric series, and other less elementary topics.

Teachers and math communicators are called to participate and spread the word of this event. Ambassadors, supporters and donors are welcome. Learn more at the website or get in contact at



Le magicien des codes at Arts et Métiers (Paris)

The Musée des Arts et Métiers (Paris, France) displays until March 12th the exhibition Le magicien des codes (the wizard of codes) dedicated to Claude Shannon, the american mathematician and engineer that pioneered the field of computer science. This exhibition has been produced by the Institut Henri Poincaré (Paris).

Picturing Math at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York)

The Metropolitatn Museum of Art (MET Fifth Avenue) (New York, United States) displays the exhibition Picturing Maths. The visualization of mathematics has taken many forms since the advent of printing. Animated by tensions between the abstract and the figural, the geometric and the gestural, these works from The Met collection show how artists from the 15th century to contemporary times have engaged in the creation and communication of mathematical knowledge through the use and production of images.


Thinking Space

Thinking Space (Heidi Morstang, 2015) is a 60 minute documentary film featuring nine UK-based mathematicians, offering insights into their mathematical thinking across a broad range of mathematical research fields. Through explorations of their various thought processes, the film portrays mathematicians who are grappling with advanced mathematical ideas. We are presented with the concepts of imagination, intuition, and wonder, as well as rigorous mathematical deduction. The film features Kevin Buzzard, Peter Donnelly, Tim Gowers, Martin Hairer, Roger Penrose, Caroline Series, Richard Thomas, Reidun Twarock and Karen Vogtmann.

The film was commissioned by The London Mathematical Society, as part of its 150th Anniversary Celebrations. Some excerpts can be watched on the entry Frames of Mind on the LMS website. For future screenings, contact info@hcmorstang.


Highlighted projects

Isfahan Mathematics House

Isfahan Mathematics House is an Iranian organization to promote the mathematical culture in the country. It is a playground for non-conventional education, an information center for history of mathematics and a place to familiarize young students with various mathematical sciences through observations, collaboration and benefiting from different information resources. The activities of IMH range from primary school to university, from teachers to the general public, from statistics to mathematical art. IMH cordinates several international math competitions (olympiads, kangaroo…) and sets many one-day events for the public. It also serves as a publishing house for books on math popularization.

The IMH also promotes the study of the Islamic-Iranian scientific heritage, and its promotion to other cultures. In 2012, the IMH and the Fontys Teacher Education Institute (Netherlands) signed an agreement in order to initiate and support educational exchange in the field of mathematics between the Netherlands and Iran. The IMH is based in the Isfahan municipality but it has branches all over the country.

More information in their website (Arabic and English)


Launch of Erasmus+ project MathSpaces

On January 2017, five European math outreach projects, Maison des Maths (Belgium), FermatScience (France), Il Giardino di Archimede (Italy), Museu de Matemàtiques de Catalunya (Spain), and IMAGINARY (Germany), started a two-years collaboration under an Erasmus+ program to develop MathSpaces, a project on open educational resources for math museums and exhibitions. From this project, two math exhibitions and other outputs are expected, that will be benefitial to the participants but also to the rest of the math outreach community thanks to open licenses and collaborative policies. More information to be announced on a project website soon.



For any issues about the Network, you can email to or Daniel Ramos at

IMAGINARY  is a non-profit organisation for interactive and open mathematics. It was initiated at the Mathematisches Forschungsinstitut Oberwolfach (MFO), an institute of the Leibniz Association

Please read our privacy policy and legal notice. Image credits: Thinking Space (still frame), by Heidi Morstang.

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