How can maths save my family tree | Maths Lecture | 16 Feb 2022


In February we welcome Dr Martine Barons from the University of Warwick to deliver the Popular Maths Lecture at the University of Birmingham.


In January 2022 The National Archives made public the 1921 census, taken on 19th June 1921. They said: "It has taken a team of hundreds of conservators, technicians and transcribers almost three years to conserve and digitise more than 30,000 bound volumes of original documents, stored on 1.6 linear kilometres of shelving, ahead of publication today." Now that this precious information is available in digital form, how can researchers and archivists ensure that it remains available as technologies become obsolete and digital storage mediums deteriorate?

In this talk, I will describe a recent project we did with The National Archives (TNA) to identify the risks to digital archives using probabilistic modelling. This mathematical model became a tool - DiAGRAM - which TNA continues to use to decide how best to spend the resources available to it for greatest effect.


The Birmingham Popular Maths Lecture series runs in the Watson Building (School of Mathematics) on the last Wednesday of each month, arriving from 6.30pm GMT onwards for a 7pm start. We will also be showing the lecture live on Zoom for those that are unable to attend the lecture.


To watch the lecture on Zoom you will need to register using the link above. If you plan on attending the lecture in person there is no need to register. Please note that attendees in the lecture theatre will be given priority for the Q&A but some questions will be taken from Zoom.


The Birmingham Popular Mathematics Lectures are open to all members of the public and the University who are interested in the study of Mathematics. They are particularly suitable for those studying Mathematics at A Level/IB HL and we also welcome advanced GCSE students.

Young people are welcome on their own, with parents or with a school group.



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