Mathematics talks in London

The Course / Art & Critical Analysis (Father of the Renaissance) 1/8
Apr 30 @ 10:45 am – 12:45 pm
The Course / Art & Critical Analysis (Father of the Renaissance) 1/8 @ The Course at The University Womens Club | England | United Kingdom

Established in 1994, The Course offers exciting lectures in Art History, Literature and Music.

From the earliest times, there has been criticism of art, both positive and negative. A substantial body of text survives and this series will look at a wide variety of European art works in the context of their critical reception. Concentrating on major works and significant artists from 1300 to 1900 and beyond, we will observe the impact on the public’s appreciation of art and how that might be influenced by critical analysis including the vagaries of fashion. What impact did these commentaries have on art practice and the artists themselves and can critics be seen to be responsible for influencing and thus changing the course of art history?

Father of the Renaissance

Early discourse and criticism in Italian Art/From Medieval to Renaissance (1300 – 1480)

Art discourse and criticism stretches back to a very early period. In this lecture, we will witness the inception and idea of the Renaissance and the recognition of named artists such as Cimabue and Giotto about whom texts were written. We will look at the most well-known works of both, as well as others, including Pisanello, the Pollaiuolo and Leonardo, drawing on texts from Dante Alighieri, Giorgio Vasari and others.

Maths, murder, and malaria (w/ Dr. Steven Le Comber @le_comber)
Jul 3 @ 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Geographic profiling (GP) is a statistical technique originally developed in criminology to prioritise large lists of suspects – often in the tens or hundreds of thousands – in cases of serial murder. GP uses the spatial locations of crime sites to make inferences about the location of the offender’s ‘anchor point’ (usually a home, but sometimes a workplace). The success of GP in criminology has led recently to its application to biology, notably animal foraging (where it can be used to find animal nests or roosts using the locations of foraging sites as input), epidemiology (identifying disease sources from the addresses of infected individuals) and invasive species biology (using current locations to identify source populations). In a talk spanning mathematics, Jack the Ripper and great white sharks, Steve will explain how he used geographic profiling to investigate the identity of the artist Banksy and reanalysed a Gestapo case from the 1940s that formed the basis of a famous novel – and how GP can be used to control outbreaks of diseases such as malaria.

Steven Le Comber is a senior lecturer in the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences at Queen Mary University of London. His work covers a wide range of subjects within evolutionary biology, including mathematical and computer models of molecular evolution and studies of spatial patterns in biology. Steve’s work on the mathematics of spatial patterns ranges from the fractal geometry of African mole-rat burrows to epidemiology.

Steve is passionate about science communication, and has given major talks at the Cheltenham Science Festival in the UK, at the Internet Festival in Pisa, Italy and at Ratio in Bulgaria. He has appeared on the BBC and his research has been covered around the world.


Talks are held on the first Wednesday of the month starting at 7:30 pm unless otherwise noted. We meet in the Star and Garter pub, 60 Old Woolwich Road, London SE10 9NY. The Star and Garter pub is close to many transport links and is approximately 7 minutes walk from Maze Hill Overground Station, or 10 minutes walk from the Cutty Sark DLR Station. Although the pub does not serve food, there are plenty of excellent restaurants in Greenwich, including several very nearby on Trafalgar Road. Attendance is free (unless otherwise stated) although a small donation to help cover expenses is appreciated. There is no need to book in advance (again, unless otherwise stated).

For further information, visit or contact Prof Chris French (email: [email protected]).

NB: You are strongly recommended to register (at no cost) with the “Psychology of the Paranormal” email list (run by Professor Chris French, Head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit, Goldsmiths, University of London) to ensure that you are informed of any future changes to the programme as well as news of related events. You can also follow @chriscfrench on Twitter for announcements (including news of last-minute cancellations, changes of speaker, etc.).