Sunday, 19 November 2017


Here is my overdue post on last weekend's MathsJam gathering.  MathsJam is always a wonderfully exciting and enjoyable weekend, and this one was particularly good.  I can honestly say that I enjoyed every talk, and was entertained, surprised and educated in roughly equal measures.

I'm nervous about selecting highlights, because almost everything was a highlight, and my list inevitably leaves out many excellent talks. There is a list of all the talks on the MathsJam website but here are some I particularly remember (in the order in which they were presented):

  • Simon's 3D-printed robot which solves Rubik's cube (time-lapse video shown here with Simon's permission);
  • Matt on logical deduction games, which brought back memories of playing Eleusis when I was a student and introduced others I need to find out about;
  • Noel-Ann on data and how to it can be represented (and misrepresented);
  • Zoe's poem about e, which (understandably) seems to be on everybody's highlight list;
  • Matthew's amazing recreation of a problem from Captain Scarlet about the bongs of Big Ben;
  • Andrew's paradoxical balloon monkey, which although made from a single balloon, has an underlying graph which is not semi-Eulerian;
  • Angela's poem;
  • Rachel on spinning yarn;
  • Alison on illogical units, and Dave on illogical scales;
  • Will on non-binary cellular automata;
  • Miles finding striking similarities between mountaineering and mathematics;
  • Glen showing how many holes a constructed object (equivalent to a T-shirt) possessed (most of MathsJam seem to have got it wrong, going for four rather than three!);
  • Sue on Ada Lovelace;
  • Paolo using a pack of cards to find two numbers from their sum and difference;

And of course the "extra-curricular" puzzles, games and magic, Tiago showing me how to tie a knot with one hand, and the spectacular mathematical cakes.

So once more a memorable MathsJam, with an excellent range of speakers and talks, friendly atmosphere and fascinating and surprising mathematics.  The organisers once again did an amazing job!

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