The Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics of the University of Cape Town is a large and dynamic department with research taking place in a wide range of directions: (non-associative) algebra, category theory, computational fluid dynamics, cosmology and gravitation, cryptography, dynamical systems, functional analysis, graph theory, group theory, mathematics education, partial differential equations, quantum gravity and string theory, (algebraic and categorical) topology.

Off to Madrid! Congratulations to PhD students Sulona Kandhai and Miguel Alfonzo Méndez together with Masters students Mariam Campbell and Juhi Hurgobin who will spend the next 5 months at the Autonomous University of Madrid, funded by the Erasmus+ programme.

2016 was a great year for teaching at UCT, at least if you go by the number of people that won a Distinguished Teacher Award (DTA).

Dr Jonathan Shock, who convenes a dreaded first-year mathematics course, was one of six awardees for 2016. This after 64 nominations were submitted for the coveted award. Yusuf Omar spoke to the senior lecturer in the Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics about what makes his teaching tick.

Primes - numbers greater than 1 that are divisible only by themselves and 1 – are considered the ‘building blocks’ of mathematics, because every number is either a prime or can be built by multiplying primes together - (84, for example, is 2x2x3x7).

Their properties have baffled number theorists for centuries, but mathematicians have usually felt safe working on the assumption they could treat primes as if they occur randomly.

14 March is celebrated by some as the most exciting day in mathematics — when the date lines up in the numbers of the famous constant. But some people would rather it isn’t celebrated at all.