Life, the universe and Marx

May 8, 1998

LIFE, THE UNIVERSE AND MATHEMATICS. Virtual Image +44 161 480 1915. Single home user Pounds 24.95, educational site licence Pounds 49.50 inc VAT. Windows CD

There cannot be many other CDs offering ray-traced 3D animations of complex polygons - the four-dimensional ones with more than two vertices per edge. That will probably sell the CD to a handful of mathematics teachers. Otherwise it is for those who enjoy Virtual Image's random walks through maths, culture and mysticism. Life? Cellular automata and artificial life. The universe? Celestial mechanics simulations. The programming is not brilliant and the text skates over profundities, but the disc is full of odd little things that could spark a future mathematician's interest.

POEMS, PICTURES, MUSIC. Peter Wilson, Gill Robinson and Antoine Mitchell. Ultralab, Anglia Polytechnic University +44 1245 252009. www.ultralab .anglia.ac.uk. Pounds 9.95 inc VAT. Windows/ Mac CD. ISBN 0 907262 76 7

A poem read aloud, a picture, a music track; text of the poem, the first page of the music score, sometimes a draft or two; notes by all three artists on how they interpreted their colleagues' ideas in another medium. This pattern is repeated a dozen times, the mood varying from lyricism to brutal violence. This collaboration of artist-academics included a number of exhibitions with accompanying readings and recitals. The CD does not attempt to push the frontiers of multimedia creativity, and is best appreciated as a simple record of a real-life artistic experiment.

ESSENTIAL CLASSICS IN POLITICS: MARX AND ENGELS. Electric Book Company +44 181 488 3872.Pounds 29.95 inc VAT. Windows/Mac/Unix CD. ISBN 1 901843 01 7

Imagine if CD-Roms had been current in 1968. Red Guards march waving thousands of silver discs which contain not just quotations from Chairman Mao but his complete works. In Paris, Berkeley or Essex, any student can find out in seconds how many times Marx used the word "alienation". The revolution stumbled but technology marched on. Thirty years later, here at last are most of the important writings of Marx and Engels (sadly not the 1844 Manuscripts in a fully searchable package which is smaller than a cobblestone and easier to throw.

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Assistant Professorship in Behavioural Science LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS & POLITICAL SCIENCE LSE
Foundation Partnerships Officer LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS & POLITICAL SCIENCE LSE

Most Commented

James Fryer illustration (8 September 2016)

Some lecturers will rightly encourage forms of student interaction that are impossible for those covering their faces, Eric Heinze argues

University of Oxford students walking on campus

University of Oxford snatches top spot from Caltech in this year’s World University Rankings as Asia’s rise continues

Handwritten essay on table

Universities must pay more attention to the difficulties faced by students, says Daniel Dennehy

Theresa May entering 10 Downing Street, London

The prospect of new grammar schools on the horizon raises big questions for HE, writes Nick Hillman

Nosey man outside window

Head of UK admissions service Mary Curnock Cook addresses concerns that universities might ‘not hear a word’ from applicants