Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

Rod Downey

Dances Devised By The Scottish Country Dance Deviser - R. Downey

Borders' Traditional
Buttermilk Falls
Cane Toad Jig
Carlton And Alex
Cayuga Reel
Désirée Patterson
Highlander's Farewell
Jeanette's Hornpipe
Jenny Freeman's Strathspey
Johnsonville Diamond
Kristin Macdonald's Strathspey
Lady In Pink
Maureen Vivino
Monica
My Golden Bear
Patricia Reesby
Prince Of Sutton Coldfield
Room 1
Short And Very Sweet
Susan's Jig
Viking's Sheepskin
Violynne
Will Starr
Wordsmiths

Keith Rose's Crib Diagrams For Dances Devised By R. Downey

Bunting Bee
Celtic Rover
Charlotte's Web
Daisy Chain (Downey)
Isla's Fancy
Kitchen Faerie
Le Moyne And Roger Farrell Of Ithaca
Lyall Bay
Malcolm Brown
Mary Summer
Moggie And The Fish
Neighbour's Day
Summer Wedding
Unjust Incarceration
White Rock
Windy Lane
Xiaowen

Dance Instruction Videos For Dances Devised By R. Downey

Loralee Hyde
Maypole Dance
On The Banks Of Spey
Summer With McKinnon
Tom Cole's Rant

Professor Rod Downey, Winner Of The Rutherford Medal

In 2018, New Zealand's top science award, The Rutherford Medal, has gone to Professor Rod Downey, a mathematician at Victoria University Of Wellington.

Professor Rod Downey works on computability, at the interface of maths and computer science, and is particularly interested in algorithms.

"The advent of computers," he says, "has driven a great interest in the mathematics of how algorithms work, and how fast … and how efficiently can we do things."
He says an algorithm is like a recipe – it contains a series of small logical steps, and if it works as planned you end up with a cake. He says the goal is to make algorithms as simple and efficient as possible.

It's not about numbers Prof Downey says mathematics is about concepts and abstract ideas, rather than numbers.

"You take that abstraction and you seek to understand it," he says. "When you understand it very well then you can develop better algorithms, or you can develop better models for what you're trying to do. There's all kinds of things you can do and that's what mathematicians do – we think."

Prof Downey says that basic research, like he does, can have surprising applications.
"I was interested in some fairly abstract things, and they turned out to be useful for, like, cancer research, distribution of products in New South Wales, and understanding Aboriginal ear infections in the Northern Territory, believe it or not."

A mathematician's dance As well as maths and surfing, Prof Downey has a strong interest in Scottish country dancing.

"Many people who do it are actually mathematicians and computer scientists. That's because the patterns in the dance have a certain appeal to such people."

Prof Downey has devised and published many new dances, and he says that writing a dance is like proving a theorem.
"Because the kinds of problems I think about are dynamic problems, where I try to imagine what an algorithm will be doing in time," he says.
"So you have to visualise what's happening. And when you're dancing, it's somewhat similar because you have to visualise where you'll be and where other people will be.

Rod Downey Image
Professor Rod Downey

Dance Information Copyright Radio New Zealand, 2018, reproduced here with the kind permission of RNZ.
Text from this original Mathematician Wins Top Science Award article, All Rights Reserved, 2018.
Image Copyright Radio New Zealand, reproduced here with the kind permission of RNZ, All Rights Reserved, 2018.

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