News

Professor Nalini Joshi shares her love of maths at the Sydney Comedy Festival



18 April 2013

Bringing mathematics to a new audience in an unexpected way, Professor Nalini Joshi, from the School of Mathematics and Statistics, is taking to the stage at the Sydney Comedy Festival.

One of four scientists speaking at the Nerd All Star Comedy Gala on Tuesday 7 May, Professor Joshi will reveal some of the patterns linking Life and Mathematics in an inspiring and accessible talk.

Professor Nalini Joshi, from the School of Mathematics and Statistics, is taking to the stage at the Sydney Comedy Festival as part of the Nerd All Star Comedy Gala on Tuesday 7 May.
Professor Nalini Joshi, from the School of Mathematics and Statistics, is taking to the stage at the Sydney Comedy Festival as part of the Nerd All Star Comedy Gala on Tuesday 7 May.

"Research in mathematics needs an element of fun and beauty to reach people. Mathematics is not a monster, it is as human and emotional as music," said Professor Joshi.

"My topic is 'An iterated life'. Mathematics starts with counting, leading to integers, or, whole numbers. Dividing by non-zero numbers leads to fractions, which are rational numbers. Solving quadratic equations leads to square roots, which are irrational or algebraic numbers," explained Professor Joshi.

"But the number Pi is transcendental: it can't be expressed by a finite collection of rational or algebraic numbers. I work on functions that are like Pi. They can't be expressed in terms of any earlier known functions but turn out to be essential for modern science. So I invent new methods to describe their properties."

Professor Joshi will focus on her own story and why she is so fascinated by maths. Having delivered her presentation at Nerd Nite Sydney in November 2012, the organisers asked her back for the 2013 Sydney Comedy Festival as they felt she inspired a lot of younger minds in the audience to consider pursuing maths at university.

The other scientists speaking at Nerd All Star Comedy Gala on 7 May are: Dr Simon O'Toole from the Australian Astronomical Observatory, Professor Rob Brooks from the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences at UNSW, and Associate Professor Tom Denson from the School of Psychology at UNSW.

Professor Joshi is billed as a 'maths genius' by the event organisers and they note in the promotion for the event that she is the Georgina Sweet Australian Laureate Fellow - a prestigious fellowship awarded by the Australian Research Council to recognise one high achieving female researcher in the science and technology disciplines, and involves Professor Joshi taking an ambassadorial role to promote women in research.

Inbetween the four scientists speaking, three comedians will also entertain the audience: Dan Ilic, Jazz Twemlow and Alice Fraser.

The 90 minute show will showcase brilliant academics and hilarious comedians colliding in a cosmic explosion of knowledge and laughter. Dr Justine Rogers curates a night of rib cracking laughs and mind blowing knowledge.

Join Professor Nalini Joshi as she contemplates the patterns of Life and Mathematics in this night of science and comedy.

Watch a video on the Nerd All Star Comedy Gala at: http://youtu.be/2Nyr9T0d7yU

Nerd All Star Comedy Gala - Sydney Comedy Festival:

Date: Tuesday 7 May 2013
Time: 7.30pm
Venue: Factory Theatre, 105 Victoria Road, Marrickville.
Ticket costs: $27.50 (full) / $20 (early bird) / $22.50 (concession/groups 6+)
Ticket bookings: sydneycomedyfest.com.au or 9020 6966


Contact: Katynna Gill

Phone: 02 9351 6997

Email: 0731030d3420396c371b392777124f3c2d0e3d461020386f5741