|The Tale of the|
"It must be about Max Newman!" shouted Ellie, unable to contain her excitement. "He was a real big-shot mathematician! He invented the Colossus - the world's first programmable computer - and did lots of code-breaking during the war! And he worked with Turing after the war in Manchester on one of the world's first computers, the Baby! And he did lots of pure mathematics in something called combinatorial topology!"
"You are such a geek to be able to find out all that", laughed Mike. "We're already at the University of Manchester. Let's go over to the School of Mathematics to see what they can tell us about him".
As they entered the Alan Turing Building ("Look at that!" whispered Mike. "They named a building after him!"), they noticed some display boards, each featuring a famous Manchester mathematician. As they were browsing around, an enthusiastic young lecturer came up to them.
"Hullo there! I'm Dr. Smyth - but please call me Jo", she said. "Are you here for the open day?"
"No", replied Mike, "we're just looking to see if someone could tell us a bit about Max Newman."
"Well", said Jo, "you're definitely in the right place! There's a whole display about his life and works". As she took Mike and Ellie over to the display Jo explained that, as well as teaching students, mathematicians also do research ("It's not doing really hard sums - it's much more complicated than that!" she pointed out) and that, once a new theorem has been proved, the results are written up as a paper to be published so that other mathematicians can read about the new ideas and use them in their own work. "We've got some of Newman's original papers, including some early drafts of things he was working on before he published them" she said, "Why don't you have a look? Gosh - I'm late for a lecture, I'll have to leave you!"
As Jo dashed off to give her lecture, Ellie looked at one of the papers in Newman's display. "There's something there that looks familiar..." she said.