Brief history of the CPM

The Centre for the Popularisation of Mathematics was founded at Bangor in 1989 as a focus for our various activities in this area. At that time, we had just exhibited the Mathematics and Knots exhibition for the Pop Maths Roadshow, which started at Leeds University and subsequently toured the UK. We had also helped John Robinson to arrange and organise exhibitions of his sculptures, at the Pop Maths Roadshow at Leeds, and elsewhere.

An activity since 1985 has been the Royal Institution Mathematics Masterclasses for Young People in North West Wales. This has been supported continually by Anglesey Aluminium, and is the longest running commercial support for a Masterclass in the UK.

It was through popping in to the Freeland Gallery while walking down Albermarle St. from the Royal Institution after a Masterclass Organisers Meeting in 1985, the last year the Gallery was open, that the first fortuitous contact of Ronnie Brown with John Robinson was made. This led to the suggestion in 1988 for the exhibition of the sculptures to the Pop Maths Roadshow, and to the production
of a brochure for that exhibition.

John produced a book on `Symbolic Sculptures' in 1992, and in 1996 complained to Ronnie about the increased cost of colour reprinting. This led to the suggestion of the web sites, which were completed in 1996 and 1997.

In 1997, Ronnie joined the European Mathematical Society Committee on the World Mathematics Year 2000, and became involved with a successful bid for funding for Raising Public Awareness of Mathematics in European National Science Week, 2000. This led to the funding for producing the CDRom, the first version of which was launched in November, 2 000. We were strongly influenced in this by a successful CDRom presenting animations of the sculptures produced by Nick Mee. The subsequent version 1.1 of our own CDRom, produced in 2001, was funded by Edition Limitée for production and by the School of Informatics for printing.

In 2002, under an EPSRC grant for the Popularisation of Science, we have made extensive changes to the CPM site, with a view to improving appearance and navigation, and adding movies financed by Edition Limitée. We are very grateful for continued suggestions and advice from John Robinson.

We hope you like the new look, and the new additions such as the movies. Please send any comments to cpmweb

Ronnie Brown, Mike Yates, December, 2002.