MMM Maths Meets Myths 2013

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Workshop at Coventry University 25-26 July 2013


Telephone:+44 (0)2477658594
Email: r.kenna @
Office:Second floor, Design Hub, TechnoPark,
Coventry University CV1 5FB

Link to Maths Meets Myths in the world of AMRComics

Link to Titles and abstracts of presentations


The Applied Mathematics Research Centre, supported by the Leverhulme Trust, has developed a new approach to comparative mythology. This approach is mathematical and involves use of network theory. A first publication (Pádraig Mac Carron and Ralph Kenna, Universal properties of mythological networks, EPL 99 (2012) 28002) has generated enormous interest and impact worldwide, including interviews (e.g., "BBC Radio 4 ) and newspaper articles (e.g., in the "New York Times"). EPL is the flagship publication of the European Physical Society which has 41 national Member Societies, representing over 120,000 members. The paper has been downloaded over 7,500 times so far, a record for the journal.
The work so far is a pilot study. Over the coming years, we wish to broaden and deepen the project. This will involve parallelisation and internationalisation of the highly labour-intensive work. This, in turn, will require further funding.
We plan to run a workshop in Coventry aimed at bringing together natural scientists and humanities scholars to explore the applicability of mathematical sciences to current and past cultures. In particular, we wish to explore quantitative modelling for the understanding of epic genre and its relationship to historicity. Although we envisage mathematics and mythology as lying at the heart of the project, we also wish to explore how to broaden the scope of the project to other disciplines if that is possible.
An international team is being assembled, including physicists from Brazil and Ukraine, mythologists from Britain, Ireland and Russia and folkloreists from the USA. In addition, academics from a wider set of disciplines (e.g., art, dance, sociology, psychology, history, archaeology) based at Coventry will be invited. A focus of the workshop will be to generate momentum towards obtaining further funding from a suitable source. The aim of such funding will be to support a large scale project over the coming years.

Day Note
Wednesday 24 July Arrival. If you arrive early and would like to talk to Pádraig or Ralph, you can find us on the second floor of the Design Hub in the Technology Park. This is the building located between the hotel Ibis and the conference venue. For directions, follow this link: If you arrive later we will be in The Establishment Bar and Grill from about 9pm to about 10:30pm. They serve food up to about 8:45pm. There are plenty of other restaurants nearby.
Thursday 25 July In the evening we plan to go to Coombe Abbey for a medieval banquet.
Friday 26 July Those who stay over on the Friday night are welcome to join us for dinner and/or in a pub afterwards.


Here is a map giving useful locations:

Maths Meets Myths Map.

The conference will be held in the TechnoCentre room CC1.4, indicated by a green pin on the map. We will put up signs pointing the way. Ralph's mobile number is 07879254337.


The following is the schedule for presentations:

    Time         Thursday 25 July         Friday 26 July    
    09:15 - 09:30         Welcome            
    Chair         Emily         James    
    09:30-10:00         Pádraig Mac Carron         Emily Lyle    
    10:00-10:30         Tim Tangherlini         Silvio Dahmen    
    10:30-11:00         James Carney         Louise Milne    
    11:00-11:30         Coffee break                Coffee break           
    Chair         Tim T         Tim E    
    11:30-11:50         Tom Birkett         Olesya Mryglod    
    11:50-12:10         Owen Roberson         Máirín Mac Carron    
    12:10-12:30         Robin Dunbar         Yurij Holovatch    
    12:30-12:35         Conference Photo            
    12:30-14:00         Lunch                         Lunch                     
    Chair         Louise         Robin    
    14:00-14:35         Tim Evans         Daniel Brown    
    14:35-14:55         Sean Martin         Alexandra Kasatkina    
    14:55-15:30         Ray Rivers         Maria V. Stanyukovich    
    Chair         Ralph         Ralph    
    15:30-16:00         Discussion Forum         Discussion Forum    

Here is the schedule for the trip to Coombe Abbey:

    Time         Thursday 25 July    
    18:40-         Coach picks us up at IBIS hotel    
    19:05-         Arrive at Coombe Abbey    
    19:45-         Medieval Banqet commences    
    22:30-         Medieval Banqet finishes (bar remains open)   
    23:00-         Coach picks us up to return to IBIS hotel   


The following is the list of talks:

Name Talk title
Tom Birkett 'Social Networks in the Sagas of Icelanders: A Literary Perspective'
Daniel Brown 'A Story in Stone - A Human Reflection on Astronomy'
James Carney 'The Spatial Logic of Mythic Cognition--A Group-Theoretical Approach'
Máirín Mac Carron 'History, Hagiography, Myths and Maths: studying our earliest written sources from Britain and Ireland'
Pádraig Mac Carron 'Mythological networks'
Silvio Dahmen 'Amerindian Sagas: the Popol Vuh and what networks can teach us'
Robin Dunbar 'Kinship and networks in Icelandic family sagas'
Tim Evans 'Complex Networks and Archaeology'
Yurij Holovatch 'A small world of human language'
Alexandra Kasatkina 'What kind of networks can be found in folklore? Network analysis and the reality of myth'
Olesya Mryglod 'Computation Social Science: new Approach to study Human Behavior'
Emily Lyle 'A mythological/cosmological system as controlled complexity '
Sean Martin 'The Walking Dead: Supernatural Encounters in Mediaeval England'
Louise Milne 'Mapping mermaids, monsters and dreams'
Owen Roberson 'Networks of Manuscripts and Manuscripts on the Edges'
Ray Rivers 'Atlantis, what Atlantis'
Maria V. Stanyukovich 'What kind of networks can be found in folklore? Symbolic versus historic and ethnographic realities in epics'
Tim Tangherlini 'How to make friends with a Viking: Social Networks and Status in the Icelandic Family Saga'


The following is the list of participants:

Name University Expertise Dates of Attendance
Dr Martine Barons University of Warwick Complexity 24-27 July [confirmed]
Dr Tom Birkett University College Cork Old English, Icelandic Sagas 24-27 July
Dr Daniel Brown Nottingham Trent University Astronomy, Outreach, Education, Archaeo-Astronomy 24-27 July [confirmed]
Dr James Carney University of Oxford English, psychology, interdisciplinary 24-27 July [confirmed]
Professor Colm Connaughton University of Warwick Mathematics, physics 24-27 July [confirmed]
Professor Silvio Dahmen Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil Mathematics, physics, history of science 24-27 July [confirmed]
Marion Doyen Coventry University Funding 24-27 July [confirmed]
Professor Robin Dunbar University of Oxford Evolutionary psychology, anthropology, interdisciplinary 24-26 July [confirmed]
Dr Tim Evans Imperial College London Physics, mathematics, archaeology and complex networks 25-26 July [confirmed]
Dr Christian von Ferber Applied mathematics Research Centre Physics, mathematics, networks 24-27 July [confirmed]
Professor Yurij Holovatch National Academy of Science of Ukraine Physics, mathematics, networks 24-27 July [confirmed]
Dr Amanda Hopkins University of Warwick English and Comparative Literary Studies, Medieval to Renaissance English Literature 24-27 July
Professor Nikolay Izmailian AMRC and Yerevan Physics Institute, Armenia Physics, mathematics 24-27 July [confirmed]
Alexandra Kasatkina Russian academy of sciences, Peter the Great Museum of Antropology and Ethnography, St Petersburg Anthropology 24-27 July [confirmed]
Professor Ralph Kenna Applied mathematics Research Centre Mathematics, physics 24-27 July [confirmed]
Marjana Krasnytsjka National Academy of Science of Ukraine and University of Lorraine, France Physics, mathematics, networks 24-27 July [confirmed]
Dr Rob Low Applied mathematics Research Centre Mathematics, physics 24-27 July [confirmed]
Dr Emily Lyle University of Edinburgh Mythology 24-26 July [confirmed]
Dr Máirín Mac Carron National University of Ireland, Galway Medieval history, theology 24-27 July
Pádraig Mac Carron Applied mathematics Research Centre Maths, physics, mythological networks 24-27 July [confirmed]
Sean Martin Edinburgh Film 24-27 July [confirmed]
Dr Louise Milne Scottish Documentary Institute, Edinburgh Contemporary art and visual culture, folklore 24-27 July [confirmed]
Christopher Mitchell University of Leicester English, mathematics 24-27 July [confirmed]
Dr Olesya Mryglod National Academy of Science of Ukraine Maths, computing 24-27 July [confirmed]
Dr Thierry Platini Applied mathematics Research Centre Physics, mathematics 24-27 July [confirmed]
Professor Ray Rivers Imperial College London Theoretical physics, archaeology 24-27 July [confirmed]
Owen Roberson University of Leicester Medieval poetry, literary and religious imagery 24-27 July [confirmed]
Professor Maria V. Stanyukovich Russian academy of sciences, Peter the Great Museum of Antropology and Ethnography, St Petersburg Anthropology 24-27 July [confirmed]
Robin de Regt Coventry University Mathematics 24-27 July
Professor Tim Tangherlini University of California, Los Angeles Folklore, networks 24-27 July
Chris Tompsett Coventry University Funding 24-27 July [confirmed]
Dr Taras Yavors'kii Coventry University Mathematics, Physics 24-27 July
Joseph Yose Coventry University Mathematics 24-27 July

Further news stories about our comparative mythology research are located here

Report on mythology project is under construction here

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