John Barrow talks about the mathematics of sport. Throwing things, and jumping up and down or along, lies at the root of many Olympic events. In the gymnasium, the velodrome, and the diving pool we also see the key role of rotation in dramatic displays of strength and speed. What light does simple maths shed on these movements and the stress they place on equipments and the human body? Why do high jumpers use the Fosbury flop and long jumpers cycle in the air? How high can rugby players jump in the line out? These are a few of the questions that maths can help us answer. For download and transcript versions of this lecture, please visit the event's page on the Gresham College website: Let's Twist Again: Throwing, Jumping and Spinning."
John D. Barrow
John D. Barrow FRS, former Gresham Professor of Geometry, has been Professor of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Cambridge since 1999. He is carrying out research in mathematical physics, with special interest in cosmology, gravitation, particle physics and associated applied mathematics.
Since its inception in 1999 John Barrow has been the director of the Millennium Mathematics Project which aims to improve the understanding and appreciation of mathematics and its applications amongst young people and the general public. This has born fruit with the Project's receiving the Queen's Anniversary Prize for Educational Achievement in 2005. Further to this, he has received many awards and prizes for his own research in mathematics and astronomy, including the Locker Prize for Astronomy and the 2006 Templeton Prize.
He is the author of over 420 articles and 19 books, translated in 28 languages, exploring the wider historical, philosophical and cultural ramifications of developments in mathematics, physics and astronomy. He has also delivered lectures in a perhaps unique combination of locations including 10 Downing Street, Windsor Castle, the Vatican Palace and the Venice Film festival. He is also the author of the (Italian language) Infinities, which won the Italian Premi Ubu award for the best play in Italian theatre in 2002.
The appointment of Professor Barrow to the Geometry chair at Gresham College repeats a feat only previous achieved in 1652 by the founding member of the Royal Society, Lawrence Rooke. Having been a highly popular Astronomy professor between 2003 and 2007, Professor Barrow is only the second professor in Gresham College's four-century history to have been appointed to two separate chairs.