Friday, 19 July 2013

Retirement gift

With Northern Ireland school teacher Mr McMullan retiring after 35 years, his pupils contacted The Professor (Martyn Poliakoff) about a customised photo gift.

We were told he was a "huge fan" of periodicvideos and shows them to his class every day!

Here's the photo...

Happy retirement Mr McMullan - it's no gold watch, but it is still nice!

Mill's Constant - Awesome Number

The latest Numberphile video reveals a number I had never heard of - Mills' Constant.

It by plugging it into a simple equation, it generates an infinite number prime numbers.

But there's a catch:

After posting the video, a lot of people asked for the proof.

Dr James Grime - who stars in the video - has since sent me a link to the proof.


Want more prime number videos? Here is our prime playlist.

Monday, 8 July 2013

A message from the US

It is not viewing figures or subscriber counts that make my day - it is emails like this!

It was sent my a man in Denver, Colorado, who is travelling to the UK with his son.

The email said, in part:

My son is 14 and is a serious student of chemistry. For quite a while now he has watched your videos on YouTube. He has incredible admiration for you and your work. 

We are planning a trip to England from August 8-17. When I asked (my son) what he would like to do in England his first response was to meet Professor Poliakoff 

Professor, I know that you are very busy with your important work. But, I would be so grateful if you would be able to take a few minutes to meet with us. You are my son's hero and it would mean the world to him to meet you.

In case you are wondering, The Professor has said he'd be pleased to meet the young fan and plans are being made.

Click here for details of a similar fan visit.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Well done Ed

Big congrats to Sixty Symbols and Numberphile regular Professor Ed Copeland for winning the Institute of Physics Rayleigh Medal and Prize.

The full citation from the IoP reads:

Professor Edmund Copeland, University of Nottingham. 

For his work on particle/string cosmology from the evolution of cosmic superstrings, to the determination of the nature of Inflation in string cosmology and to constraining dynamical models of dark energy and modified gravity. 

Copeland has made pivotal contributions to the field of particle cosmology. He leads the quest to obtain successful particle physics-inspired models of inflation, to predict the properties of cosmic strings, and to determine the nature of dark energy. Copeland works at the junction between fundamental physics and cosmological observation. He has made contributions in three areas: inflationary models, cosmic strings and superstrings, and dark energy phenomenology.

Copeland's work spurred the resurgence of interest cosmic strings as a signature of superstring theory. In particular, he observed that superstring theories often contain multiple kinds of string, as well as junctions between them, and so lead to distinctive network properties and signatures. 

If cosmic strings are discovered, this idea will be influential in determining their microscopic nature. 

Copeland also has a large body of work on the construction of inflationary models, using dynamical ingredients motivated by string theory. His early work on two-field models of inflation has been highly influential, in addition to many other significant works.

I'll try to do a video about the medal in the near future.

Ed gets a medal, certificate and £1,000.

He must be very happy - but not as happy as when he first saw the Large Hadron Collider

Ed Copeland - Priceless