It really adds up


It really adds up was the subject in Judy’s e-mail after attending the event It All Adds Up in Oxford on April 16 – 17, 2015. This was the London Mathematical Society’s “Women in Maths Day” which in 2015 was extended to a 4-day event to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the society. The first part was intended for school students, while the second part was addressed to university students, postdocs and academics, which is where Judy and I met. As with many other colleagues there, we talked about starting a career in maths late in life (late 20s, early 30s), and about life-career balance.
We talked about how hard it is to do math when one doesn’t follow the usual path, and about how rewarding it is, with the appropriate support. We were both there because, I think, we are thrilled by maths and at the same time had so many questions and doubts. So how do other people manage? How do other women manage?

Continue reading It really adds up

Matteo Farinella, art for the sake of science.

Illustration by Matteo Farinella for SuperLAB

It is rare to find scientists that are also artists, or artists that are also scientists, specially when science seems to be such a closed environment, accessible only to those selected few that have spent years and years of hard studies. However, such art/scien-tists do exist, and in Matteo Farinella I found someone who reached out of his scientific path, to do arts with science at its heart.

I met Matteo on a sunny afternoon in the Southbank Center, one of his favorite places in London. One of my first questions was “is there a name for your job”? to which, after some hesitation, he answered “well, not yet”. Matteo is at the same time the artist and the scientist, and in his work the two worlds intertwine in a dialog where the content is carefully backed with research, accompanied with compelling images to carry the narrative.

Continue reading Matteo Farinella, art for the sake of science.

Pint of Science in Cambridge

pintLast week, the 2015 Pint of Science Festival took place in the UK and in other 8 countries (France, Italy, Spain, Brazil, USA, Ireland, Australia and Germany). In this science festival, scientists and people interested in what they do, gather in bars and talk about the latest news of their research in a convivial environment. I was lucky1 to be in Cambridge at that time and attended two sessions, the one on materials science and the one on astrophysics.  It was such a great experience that I thought I had to share it with everyone, so I’ll give a summary of what I learned in what, according to me, were the most interesting talks. Continue reading Pint of Science in Cambridge

“A Mathematician’s Apology” by G. H. Hardy

Canto Classics, Cambridge University Press.

We start our series of reviews with this classic book about the (making of) mathematics, written by G. H. Hardy. He’s mostly known for his contributions in the field of Analysis, his long-lasting collaboration with J.E. Littlewood and with the gifted S. Ramanujan. This book was written in his old age and when he was no longer productive in mathematics, which explains the melancholic mood of the writing and the well-known quote “mathematics, more than any other art or science, is a young man’s game” (which then he proceeds to justify with facts, naturally).  Continue reading “A Mathematician’s Apology” by G. H. Hardy


“The human story does not always unfold like an arithmetical calculation on the principle that two and two make four. Sometimes in life they make five, or minus three, and sometimes the blackboard topples down in the middle of the sum and leaves the class in disorder and the pedagogue with a black eye”.

Winston Churchill. (Quote seen opening a chapter in a Dissertation by a former student of the Mathematics Department of the University of Munich)