Review: “The Theory of Everything”

A few days ago, friend of The Aperiodical James Grime contacted me asking if I would be able to review The Theory of Everything. Obviously I was flattered. In a past life I did some mathematics/physics in the same ballpark as Hawking’s celebrated black-hole work so guessed James was asking because he knew I used to know something about this. Or perhaps it was because he knew that Hawking ran over my foot in a bar at the 17th International General Relativity and Gravitation conference in Dublin back in 2004? Either way, James had given me a pass to go and watch the beautiful Eddie Redmayne for the evening!

Mathematician wins ‘Oscar’

This year’s Oscars ceremony, which will take place on 22nd February, will honour those who’ve achieved greatness in film-making, performance, scoring, sound and production. You may not know that in addition to the main ceremony, the Academy also has an untelevised award ceremony taking place two weeks earlier, called the Academy Scientific and Technical Awards (nerd Oscars).

These awards recognise achievement in the field of scientific and technological advancements related to film-making, and have in the past been awarded to a variety of different advancements, including Dolby Surround Sound, the Xenon Arc lamp, IMAX and even Jim Henson’s animatronic muppet technology.

This year though, finally seeing sense, the Academy’s Technical Achievement award goes to a mathematician. Robert Bridson, who’s worked on CGI-heavy films including Gravity, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and The Adventures of Tin Tin, has been recognised for his work on “early conceptualization of sparse-tiled voxel data structures and their application to modelling and simulation.”

Sierpiński Carpet Project

Project organisers José and David

Project organisers José and David

If you enjoyed the magnificent ridiculousness of Matt Parker’s MegaMenger international fractal building project, but would prefer something slightly lower-dimensional, we’ve found the collaborative international fractal-building project for you!

A team led by José L. Rodríguez at the University of Almería, in Spain (who also built a Menger Sponge for MegaMenger) are attempting to build a giant Sierpiński carpet, using green and purple stickers, and an army of unwitting excited school children.

The Aperiodical’s Best Maths Pun of 2014 Competition – The Results


It’s time to reveal the results of our search for the best maths pun of 2014.

First of all, a startling number of you seemed unclear as to what a pun is. Yet others seemed not to notice that we were asking for new puns, so we had to rule those out as well. After ruling out all the invalid entries, we were still left with a few dozen workable puns, so there was plenty to consider.

Below are the results, along with comments from our awards committee (Peter, Katie, Paul and Christian, along with guest celebri-judges Matt Parker, Steve Mould and James Grime, who happened to be nearby at the time).

Congratulations to everyone who gets a mention, and of course to our absolute favourite, the winner. Which will be revealed at the end, after you’ve read all the not-quite-as-good ones, obviously.