The Adams Society hosts numerous events each year. These include mathematical talks by leading academics in the field, and social events making good use of the historical setting. You can find more about our annual social events at John’s Socials, or check out our Past Events and Photo Gallery.

For in-person events, there is the opportunity to join the speaker and some members of the committee in St John’s Hall after the talks. A form where you can easily sign up to dine in hall if you are not from St John’s should be included in the email for each talk, even if it is not yet linked below. Feel free contact a member of the committee if you would like to book a ticket.

Upcoming and Recent Events

Events 2021-2022 can be found here. Remember to sign up to our mailing list to be notified of new events!

Michaelmas Term

Numbers: Real, Complex and Super by Dr David Stuart

18:00–19:00, 18th Oct 25th Oct, Tuesday
Castlereagh Room
Non-zero real numbers have strictly positive square while non-zero imaginary numbers have strictly negative square.  Super numbers fill the gap: they have square zero (without themselves being zero!)  Dr Stuart will try to explain their properties and how to do some simple geometry and calculus with them.

Properties and Applications of the Gamma function by Vishal Gupta

18:00–19:00, 1st Nov, Tuesday
Castlereagh Room
The gamma function is considered to be the least special of the special functions.  This is because while it has a scary-looking definition, it has a lot of very nice properties and crops up in many areas such as number theory and quantum physics.  Titi compared it to a large town with lots of little alleys and passages to get used to—this talk will be a guided tour around the landmarks of that town.

Card Shuffles and Prime Numbers by Prof Jack Thorne

18:00–19:00, 8th Nov, Tuesday
Boys Smith Room
How many prime factors does a natural number have, on average?  What’s the probability that a randomly chosen prime ends with a three?  We are used to thinking about probabilities when rolling dice and choosing balls from urns, but we can ask probabilistic questions about numbers too, provided we formulate them carefully.  For this, we need to learn to ask big questions like ‘how big should it be’ and ‘how big can the error be’.  Prof Thorne will introduce some of these ideas, starting with random card shuffles.

When Is an Irrational Number Nearly a Rational Number?  by Aled Walker

18:00–19:00, 22th Nov, Tuesday
Castlereagh Room
This talk will be about an old area of number theory called ‘diophantine approximation’. Informally speaking, questions in this area ask about how closely one can approximate a fixed irrational number by a sequence of rational numbers. Undergraduates learn about how continued fractions can be used to do this, but this is just the start of a story that continues right up to the present day. In fact, a major conjecture in the area was recently resolved by Dimitris Koukoulopoulos and James Maynard: this was one of the results that won Maynard his Fields Medal in July. Though their proof was very technical, it had an unexpected relationship to very concrete questions in combinatorial number theory, involving greatest common divisors — some of which could have been asked on a Numbers & Sets examples sheet.