#066 Hannah Fry: algorithms, love and being a mathematician

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This episode of the Mr Barton Maths Podcast is brought to you by Audible. Audible is offering listeners to the Mr Barton Maths Podcast a free audiobook download with a free 30-day trial to give you the opportunity to check out their service. And the best part is, if you choose to cancel during those 30 days, you still get to keep your book, forever and ever. Go to audibletrial.com/mrbarton to grab your free copy of Hello World, or any of the other 180,000 books.

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On this episode of the Mr Barton Maths Podcast, I spoke to Hannah Fry.

Dr Hannah Fry is an Associate Professor in the Mathematics of Cities at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at UCL. She works alongside a unique mix of physicists, mathematicians, computer scientists, architects and geographers to study the patterns in human behaviour – particularly in an urban setting. Hannah is also a TV star, appearing in programmes such as How to Find Love Online, The Joy of Winning, and the current BBC4 series, Magic Numbers, all of which help show the beauty, fun and importance of mathematics to a wide audience. And Hannah is also an author, penning books such as The Mathematics of Love, and her most recent work: Hello World.

So, in a wide-ranging conversation, Hannah and I discussed the following things, and plenty more besides:

  • What does a mathematician do on a day to day basis?
  • Is it just as important to communicate in maths as it is to get things right?
  • Do boys and girls view maths differently
  • Has Hannah encountered any barriers in your career from being a woman?
  • How can maths help us have better relationships?
  • How can it helps us be better parents?
  • How can it helps us solve crimes?
  • And will driverless cars really work as well as people hope?
  • Finally Hannah reflects on what she had wished she had known when she first started out that she knows now, and then shares an excellent Big 3

I absolutely loved this conversation. I was worried that Hannah might be sick to death of talking about her book and her work by now, having done lots of media over the last few months. But the way she was in the interview made it seem like all of that was just to help her prepare for her appearance on the Mr Barton Maths Podcast. I am going to assume that it true.

One quick plug before we crack on:

Obviously, if you buy one book as a result of this episode, make it Hello World, either in book form, on Kindle, or free on Audible using www.audibletrial.com/mrbarton. But, if you have space on your bookshelf or Kindle for one more, and you are interested in reading about 12 years of maths teaching mistakes, then maybe take a chance on my book, “How I wish I’d taught maths”, available from all good and evil book stores. And if you have read it, and you have time to give it a quick review, that would be ideal…. So long as it is a good one, of course.

Hannah Fry’s Big 3:
1. Understanding uncertainty
2. Tim Gowers – how should mathematics be taught to non mathematicians
3. Reddit / math

On Twitter Hannah is @FryRsquared
Hannah’s website is www.hannahfry.co.uk

Hannah’s books are:
The mathematics of love
The Indisputable Existence of Santa Claus
Hello World!

My usual plugs:

Thanks so much for listening, and I really hope you enjoy the show!
Craig Barton

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