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 Exploring mathematics: a powerful tool
How can mathematics help us to understand the world around us? The tracks on this album take us to Antarctica, Hong Kong and New Zealand to find out how mathematicians work with scientists and biologists to create mathematical models, and how collaborations like these can help decipher and predict a range of natural phenomena. We learn how the 17th Century saw the birth of one of the most important mathematical tools  calculus, and modern mathematicians examine the contribution of its three inventors  Fermat, Newton and Leibniz. This material forms part of The Open University course MS221 Exploring mathematics.
By: The iTunes U team (The Open University,)
 Duration 1 hour
 Updated Wednesday 15th July 2009
 Introductory level
 Posted under Mathematics & Statistics
Track 1: Mathematics: a powerful tool
An introduction to the tracks on this album.
© The Open University 2009
 Read a transcript of this track  you'll need a PDF viewer, such as Adobe's free Adobe Reader
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 See details of the Open University course this album comes from
 Discover more from The Open University and iTunesU at open.edu/itunes
Tracks in this podcast:
Track  Title  Description 

1  Mathematics: a powerful tool  An introduction to the tracks on this album. Play now Mathematics: a powerful tool 
2  Mathematical modelling for real  An introduction to mathematical modelling in the real world. Play now Mathematical modelling for real 
3  An ancient tradition  How bamboo scaffolding does its job. Play now An ancient tradition 
4  How maths helps dolphins  Using statistical modelling to calculate endangered species’ survival rates. Play now How maths helps dolphins 
5  Predicting climate change  Why elaborate mathematical modelling is needed to predict ice breakup in Antarctica. Play now Predicting climate change 
6  A vibrating lake  Using mathematical modeling to understand the fluctuations in the surface levels of Lake Wakatipu. Play now A vibrating lake 
7  Why is maths useful?  How the behaviour of the world around us can be understood better through mathematics. Play now Why is maths useful? 
8  Who invented Calculus?  The birth of calculus resulted in controversy: who got there first? Play now Who invented Calculus? 
9  Fermat’s ideas  An explanation of some of Fermat’s discoveries. Play now Fermat’s ideas 
10  Fermat and John Wallis  How Fermat communicated his findings to Wallis. Play now Fermat and John Wallis 
11  Isaac Newton’s input  Newton invents the binomial theorem and publishes his great work Principia Mathematica. Play now Isaac Newton’s input 
12  New insights emerge  Leibniz and the physicist Huygens work together. Play now New insights emerge 
13  The NewtonLeibniz dispute  How the birth of calculus was a truly international effort. Play now The NewtonLeibniz dispute 
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Publication details

Originally published: Wednesday, 15th July 2009
Copyright information
 Body text  Content: Copyright The Open University
 Audio/Video tracks: Creative Commons BYNCSA 4.0 The Open University 2009
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