Dropping pennies - explaining mathematics to laymen

Ionica Smeets (Universiteit Leiden)

Waaier 4, 9:00 – 9:45

How can you bring the excitement of mathematics to the general public? How do you explain important concepts and make the penny drop? Smeets shows some excellent examples of popularization. From a thought experiment of Galileo Galilei to Marcus du Sautoy’s way of explaining symmetry. She will talk about what good texts for laymen have in common. Hopefully these examples will inspire you to bring mathematics to the masses.

Ionica Smeets (1979) is a postdoc at Public Understanding of Science at Leiden University and a science writer. She writes about mathematics for several Dutch newspapers and magazines. In 2010 she published Vallende kwartjes, an anthology of texts that explain science well, compiled together with Bas Haring. With Jeanine Deams she forms the math girls (wiskundemeisjes), their blog has won many awards and they gave popular scientific talks from Oslo to Kortrijk.