Thu, 10 February 2022

6:30 pm - 7:30 pm GMT

A Beginner’s Guide to the Bizarre and Beautiful World of Abstract Mathematics

Milo Beckman In Conversation With Robin Ince

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How many shapes are there? Is anything bigger than infinity? Is maths ‘true’? Former child prodigy Milo Beckman is here to upend everything you think you know about mathematics.

The three main branches of abstract math – topology, analysis, and algebra – turn out to be surprisingly easy to grasp. Or at least, they are when our guide is a maths prodigy.

New Yorker Milo Beckman took high school maths at age eight and attended Harvard at age fifteen. Now in his twenties, he joins us to offer a vivid, unconventional, and wholly original guide to the science that underpins the world – without using numbers.

In this livestream In Conversation event with broadcaster and comedian Robin Ince, he will invite you to think creatively about shape and dimension, the infinite and infinitesimal, symmetries, proofs, and how these concepts all fit together.

Milo will make human and understandable the elevated and hypothetical, allowing us to clearly see abstract maths for what it is: bizarre, beautiful, and head-scratchingly wonderful.

Praise for Milo Beckman’s Math Without Numbers:

‘Genius: an entire book about mathematics in which the only digits are the page numbers. . . fresh, delightful and extremely accessible’ Alex Bellos, Guardian

‘Beckman’s book is not only fascinating and enthralling but also one I actually kept my eyes open long enough to finish (in part because – and this is a massively underrated virtue in popular science books – it is short)’ Tom Whipple, Times

‘This guide to the maths we didn’t get taught at school is full of fascinating revelations’ Manjit Kumar, Times

‘I was hooked. . . what is delightful about the book is the vivid clarity’ – Tim Harford

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Milo Beckman

Maths Prodigy

Milo Beckman has been addicted to maths since a young age. Born in Manhattan in 1995, he began taking maths classes at Stuyvesant High School at age eight, was captain of the New York City Math Team by age thirteen and attended Harvard at fifteen. His projects and research have been featured in the New York Times, Good Morning America, Salon, the Huffington Post, Business Insider, the Boston Globe, the Economist, and others. He constructs crosswords for the New York Times, has worked for three tech companies, two banks, and a US Senator and taught maths in New York, China, and Brazil.

Robin Ince

Comedian and co-host of award-winning Radio 4 science show The Infinite Monkey Cage.

Robin Ince is the co-presenter of Radio 4’s multiple award winning The Infinite Monkey Cage. He spent 2019 appearing across the world in the Universal tour with Brian Cox – travelling from LA to Oslo, Wellington to Aberdeen and ending up in Reykjavik after shows at the 02 and Wembley Arena. Robin co-wrote How to Build a Universe (part 1) with Brian Cox and his most recent book is I’m a Joke and So Are You, a book about why we become who we become and how we deal with it.