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The Beautiful Impact of Mathematics in Society II

20 Maart om 09:00 - 17:00

We staan als samenleving voor heel wat uitdagingen op het vlak van levenskwaliteit, milieu, energie, mobiliteit, voeding, gezondheid, vergrijzing …  Als we die uitdagingen willen aangaan, hebben we mensen nodig die gepassioneerd zijn door wetenschap en techniek.

Om loopbanen in wiskunde, exacte wetenschappen en techniek te stimuleren, stippelde de Vlaamse Regering het zogenaamde STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)-actieplan uit tot 2020.

Het STEM-actieplan wil volgende 8 grote doelstellingen realiseren:

  • Aanbieden van aantrekkelijk STEM-onderwijs;
  • Versterken van leraren, opleiders en begeleiders;
  • Verbeteren van het proces van studie- en loopbaankeuze;
  • Meer meisjes in STEM-richtingen en -beroepen;
  • Inzetten op excellentie;
  • Aanpassen van het opleidingsaanbod;
  • Aanmoedigen van sectoren, bedrijven en kennisinstellingen;
  • Verhogen van de maatschappelijke waardering van technische beroepen.

Vlaanderen neemt hierin duidelijk actie en de VUB werkt alvast hard aan de M uit STEM. Wiskunde is het onmisbare fundament van alle wetenschap en technologie.

Op dinsdag 20 maart 2018 vindt de conferentie

THE BEAUTIFUL IMPACT OF MATHEMATICS IN SOCIETY (BIMS) II

voor de tweede keer plaats op de VUB-campus. Ditmaal met de focus op wetenschapscommunicatie, over wiskunde in het bijzonder.

Ben je op zoek naar tips om wetenschappen op een bevattelijke manier in je lessen, bij een breed publiek of in de pers/media te brengen? Hoe maak je een presentatie waarbij iedereen aan je lippen hangt en jouw boodschap blijft nazinderen? Tijdens ons voormiddag programma leer je de kneepjes van het vak!

Ben je een leerkracht of docent op zoek naar inhoud voor je lessen wiskunde of STEM-projecten? Dan kom je in de namiddag volop aan je trekken!

We eindigen ons dagprogramma met onze Keynote spreker Prof. Dr. Ionica Smeets. Zij is hoofd van de Leidse afdeling Science Communication and Society en leidt met veel plezier studenten op bij de gelijknamige masterspecialisatie. Binnen de wetenschapscommunicatie onderzoekt ze de kloof tussen experts en algemeen publiek. Wat gaat er mis als die groepen met elkaar communiceren? En wat kunnen wetenschappers doen om dit proces te verbeteren?

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On Tuesday the 20th of March 2018 the second edition of the conference

THE BEAUTIFUL IMPACT OF MATHEMATICS IN SOCIETY (BIMS) II

is being held on the VUB campus. This time the focus lies on science communication, in mathematics in particular.

Are you looking for tips to bring science in a comprehensible way during your classes, or present it to a wide audience and the press/media? What are the secrets of an engaging presentation? During our morning program you will learn the tricks of the trade!

Are you a teacher looking for content for your mathematics courses or STEM projects? Then you’ll get plenty of interesting cases in the afternoon!

We end our day program with our Keynote speaker Prof. Dr. Ionica Smeets. She is the head of the Leiden Science Communication and Society department and is delighted to train students with the master’s program of the same name. In her science communication research she investigates the gap between experts and the general public. What goes wrong when those groups communicate with each other? And what can scientists do to improve this process?

09:00-09:30 Opening
09:30-10:30 "How to present mathematics with impact?" Toon Verlinden

How to present mathematics with impact?
Abstract

I will take a challenge. As a non-mathematician I will talk about the research of PhD student Doryan Temmerman called free products in the unit group of the integral group ring of a finite group.

As of today, I have no clue what most of the words in the title mean. But at BIMS I will present about the subject. Afterwards I will share the tips and tricks I used to craft my presentation. Curious if it will work out?

 

CV

Toon Verlinden is the author of The Floor is Yours – Learning to present from brainstorming to applause (LINK:http://boek.thefloorisyours.be). He is international presentation coach, expert in science communication and organizer of the science festival Sound of Science (LINK: http://www.soundofscience.be)

Together with his colleague Hans Van de Water he established The Floor is Yours (LINK:http://www.thefloorisyours.be/en). Since then, they have been training thousands of researchers to prepare and give effective presentations.

10:45-11:00 Break
11:00-12:00 "Leer denken als een journalist" Koen Wauters

Deze lezing wordt in het Nederlands gehouden.

Korte inhoud presentatie

Leer denken als een journalist. Waarom haalt wetenschappelijk onderzoek het nieuws, of net niet? Wat is nieuws?  Waar komt het nieuws vandaan? Hoe checken we dat dan?  Wie maakt de selectie? Op basis van welke criteria? Hoe kan een wetenschapper zelf zijn boodschap bepalen?

Korte Biografie

Koen Wauters, 45 jaar. Met een professioneel leven op twee benen: taal en wetenschap. Na een middelbare school vol wiskunde en wetenschap gekozen voor Germaanse talen. Daarna begonnen als wetenschapsjournalist voor de Campuskrant, overgestapt naar het radionieuws van de VRT, en sinds zes jaar wetenschapsverslaggever voor Het Journaal op televisie. Wetenschap is breed: van Alzheimer tot zwaartekrachtgolven. Mijn taak is vertalen en verhalen van de specialist naar het brede publiek.

13:30-14:30 "Mathematics, a guilty pleasure" Prof. dr. Rudi Penne, Prof. dr. Paul Levrie & Kim Verhaeghe

Many attempts to popularize mathematics for a broad audience are based on arguments that support the importance of mathematics in real-life applications.

Without any doubt this message needs to be communicated to the “others” from time to time, at least to those who must be convinced to pay our salaries. But we believe that this approach reflects an attitude of defense (or even of apology). As a matter of fact, the practical use of mathematics is often not the main reason why mathematicians are attracted to it. In this respect we could perfectly copy-paste a famous citation of Feynman about physics: “Mathematics is like sex: sure, it may give some practical results, but that’s not why we do it.”

Our approach to addressing a broader audience is by showing the surprising, mystical, artistic, humorous and mind-blowing aspects of mathematics, and by telling about the colorful protagonists and unexpected plot turns in its history. The reactions on our blog posts, lectures or bar stories confirm that deep inside many fellow men have in them a secret curiosity (respect? fascination?) for mathematics, often repressed by fear of failure, fake information or school traumas. We noticed that apparently useless trivia and anecdotes can draw the attention of outsiders to the beauty of mathematics, making them forget the need to ask for its practical use.

PAUL LEVRIE

Paul Levrie (1959) promoveerde in 1987 aan de KU Leuven. Hij is in het bijzonder geboeid door de didactiek en de geschiedenis van de wiskunde. Levrie is tevens redacteur van Pythagoras, het wiskundetijdschrift voor jongeren. Rudi Penne (1964) promoveerde in 1992 aan de Universiteit Antwerpen in een schemerzone tussen zuivere wiskunde en mechanische toepassingen, en houdt momenteel stand als meetkundige in de onderzoeksgroep Op3Mech (3D-scanning en reconstructie). Beide sprekers doceren nu wiskunde aan de faculteit Toegepaste Ingenieurswetenschappen van de Universiteit Antwerpen.

Levrie en Penne bloggen voor het maandblad Eos en geven populariserende lezingen om hun liefde voor wiskunde met anderen te delen en ze ervan te overtuigen dat hun vak best sexy kan zijn. In 2014 schreven ze een boek over wiskunde voor de geïnteresseerde leek: De pracht van priemgetallen. Het boek is ondertussen al aan een zevende druk toe.

Paul Levrie (1959)obtained his PhD in 1987 at the KU Leuven. He is particularly fascinated by the didactics and the history of mathematics. Levrie is also editor of Pythagoras, the Dutch mathematics journal for young people. Rudi Penne (1964) obtained his PhD in 1992 at the University of Antwerp in the twilight zone between pure mathematics and mechanical applications, and currently his research in the research group Op3Mech (3D scanning and reconstruction) focuses on geometry. Both speakers teach mathematics at the Faculty of Applied Engineering of the University of Antwerp.

Levrie and Penne blog for the monthly magazine Eos and give popularizing lectures to share their love of mathematics with others and to convince them that their profession can be quite sexy. Recently the seventh edition of their book De Pracht van priemgetallen (The beauty of prime numbers) has been published.

KIM VERHAEGHE

Kim Verhaeghe is Digital Content Manager at Eos Wetenschap. He is a big fan of science blogs and would like to invite you to join Eos Blogs, the blogging community of Eos Wetenschap. Take a look at www.eoswetenschap.eu/eosblogs.

14:30-15:30 "The invisible power of mathematics: from stories for a broad audience to educational innovation" Giovanni Samaey

Abstract:
Why is mathematics so important for society? Why is so much educational time spent on mathematics? Why do society and companies invest in mathematical research?  The strong presence of mathematics in everyday life might be hard to grasp for many people. Also for students in secondary schools, the extreme importance of a decent mathematical background is not always immediately clear. Yet, these are the students that have to decide how to optimally develop their talents for the benefit of society (or themselves). In this lecture, based on the book X-Factor, I discuss how the omnipresence of applications of mathematical can be used to introduce a wide audience to the methodology and possibilities of mathematical modeling. Based on this, I present a didactical approach that exploits the wide applicability of mathematics to motivate for new subjects, without losing the depth and level of abstraction that is so dear to the mathematician.

Referentie: X-Factor: twintig verhalen over de onzichtbare kracht van wiskunde, G. Samaey en J. Vandewalle, Pelckmans Pro, 2016.

Bio:
Prof. dr. ir. Giovanni Samaey obtained a PhD in Applied Sciences at KU Leuven in 2006. Afterwards, he was a researcher at Université de Lille and INRIA (France), the Université Catholique de Louvain, and Ecole des Ponts (Paris). Since 2011, he is a professor at KU Leuven (NUMA, Department of Computer Science). He is also a member of the Young Academie of Belgium.
His research focuses on the development and analysis of new simulation methods for systems consisting of large numbers of interacting particles, and finds applications in the modelling of tumor growth (in which that particles are biological cells), polymer composites (in which the particles are atoms), fusion energy (ions and electrons), traffic modelling (individual vehicles) or social dynamics (people). Recently, he wrot the book “X-Factor” (with colleague Joos Vandewalle), in which twenty stories and numerous anecdotes illustrate the power and necessity of mathematics for society.

15:45-16:00 Break
16:00-17:15 "How to talk about mathematics?" Ionica Smeets
Abstract:
How do you talk about symmetry for an audience that doesn’t have a clue about group theory? How can you present a proof as an exciting story to laymen? What is a great visual metaphor to introduce randomness? In short: how can you bring the beauty of mathematics to the masses? Ionica Smeets shows great ways to present mathematics and gives mathematicians some theoretical background from the field of science communication.
Bio: Ionica Smeets (Leiden University) did her PhD on continued fractions. In the meantime she accidentally became the spokesperson for mathematics in the Netherlands when she started a math blog. As an independent science journalist she made successful columns, books and tv-shows about mathematics for a general audience. In 2015 she came back to the university as a professor of science communication to study how to bridge the gap between laymen and experts.
Evening activity "Maths jam" (19:00) @ Mort Subite

Alle lezingen zijn in het Engels tenzij uitdrukkelijk anders vermeld.
Deelname is gratis maar registratie is verplicht en kan via onderstaande link:
http://www.vub.ac.be/events/2018/the-beautiful-impact-of-mathematics-in-society

All lectures are in English unless specifically mentioned.
Participation is free but registration is mandatory and can be done via the link below:
http://www.vub.ac.be/events/2018/the-beautiful-impact-of-mathematics-in-society

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