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18/02/2014

Duration:
30 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 18 February 2014

Adam Walton considers the circle, the simplest of geometric shapes, and its important role in maths, physics and biology.

  • The magic circle

    From an early age we are drawn to circles. Give a toddler a crayon and chances are he’ll draw a big fat sun, or a smiley face or a wheel. There’s something about this simple, geometric shape that fascinates us. And if we look carefully we’ll find that circles influence most aspects of our lives. This is a fact not lost on Dr Jeffrey Giansuracusa, from Swansea University's Maths Department.  He's giving a lecture  - A Mathematical Meditation of the Circle - at the university's Festival of  Research event this week. He shares some of his ideas with Adam Walton on the circles, in maths, biology and astronomy that make the world go around. We'll also hear from two of his colleagues at Swansea,  Prof Prem Kumar and Prof Carlos Nunez from the Physics department. Circles could be said to feature in String Theory - though wiggly loops might be more accurate.  Certainly symmetry is important in physics. And Adam talks to Dr Jens Borum, an expert in freshwater biology about some mysterious circles found under the sea off Denmark. These circles are beautiful to look at, but their existence at all is remarkable.   

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Adam Walton

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