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OpenTalks STEM Lecture

Intriguing patterns and tilings, and forbidden crystals from space

This event took place on 16th May 2019 at 6:00pm (17:00 GMT)
Berrill Lecture Theatre, The Open University, Walton Hall Campus, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom

Intriguing patterns and forbidden space crystals, by Uwe Grimm

Patterns and tilings appear in nature, arts and architecture, and developments of recent decades has provided us with lots of intriguing new examples and insights. Particularly intriguing are tilings with repeating motifs that nevertheless do not repeat in a simple fashion, and which are linked to a new class of crystalline materials known as quasicrystals. Their surprising discovery in the 1980s was eventually recognised with the award of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Recently, natural quasicrystals have been found in mineral samples which are claimed to be of extraterrestrial origin. This talk will cover the history and nature of these “forbidden crystals” and show plenty of examples of fascinating patterns and tilings. Some of their mind-boggling properties are explained, without assuming any mathematical background knowledge.


Motivating young people in mathematics, by Cathy Smith

Description: In the second half, we turn to what mathematics education research can tell us about why young people are motivated, or not, by mathematics.  Recent research in schools with high girls’ participation in mathematics suggests some strategies for teachers and parents.

The webcast was open to 3000 users

(80 minutes)