14th – 17th November 2019

Wonders Beyond Numbers - A Brief History of all things Mathematical.

Price: Standard £15, Senior Citizens £11, Children £11

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Wonders Beyond Numbers - A Brief History of all things Mathematical.

Johnny Ball



4:00pm 1:30h
John Mackintosh Hall

Johnny will show just how simple our mathematical world could and should be, if it were explained in his uncluttered and enthusiastic style. We start with Russian Multiplication which he met aged 8, but which has its basis in Binary Maths, which underpins all of today’s modern communications technology, but is seldom taught or even explained.

His story of the history of mathematics finds links to our modern world, time after time. A sailor might work out how far the horizon is without realizing the same maths guides a cannon ball to its target or a space craft to Mars.

But Mathematics is only part of this rich and varied talk; Johnny features a globe and shows how Columbus had no idea how big the world was, but that with a globe in our homes for easy reference, we would all soon understand the world to a far greater extent.

He shows how genius is within us all, which is why an artist who had never built anything erected the largest masonry dome in the world which builders had declared impossible, while a more famous artist discovered maths and could no longer stand the sight of a paint brush. Finally, he shows that possibly our greatest scientific genius, in making his greatest ever discovery, universal gravitation, actually read just two books.