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Christmas presents

What did I get for Christmas (mathematically, at least)? My big present was an Acme Klein Bottle, whose website claims it to be one of “the finest closed, non-orientable, boundary-free manifolds sold anywhere in our three spatial dimensions”. This is a 3D representation of a 4D Klein bottle; a pale shadow, of course, although the cheerful and entertaining information leaflet that came with the bottle claims this an advantage: “You can actually hold an Acme Klein Bottle in your hand. Those highfalutin’ 4-dimensional ones can only be held in your mind”. Here is a photo of mine:

Klein Bottle

I also got a set of physical puzzles which are nice to have a supply of. I find I am sometimes laying puzzles on a table for students to play with and solid, physical puzzles, while perhaps not the most mathematically interesting, are certainly an attractive draw. People can’t resist picking up and playing with wooden blocks, it seems!

I got a copy of The Great Mathematicians by Raymond Flood and Robin Wilson, a past and present President of BSHM, which claims to present “mathematics with a human face, celebrating the achievements of the great mathematicians in their historical context”. You can watch a lecture given by Raymond and Robin at the launch of the book at Gresham College.

As a bit of Christmas day craft, inspired by the escapades of the Manchester Maths Jam, we made dodecahedron star lanterns. Unlit, these are like this:

And lit they come alive like this:

Merry Christmas everyone! What mathematical presents did you receive and what mathematical activities did you do this year?

5 Responses to “Christmas presents”

  1. Dave Gale

    Hi Peter and merry christmas.

    I also got a set of wooden puzzles too and a couple of books: What are the Odds and Brain Teasers, Puzzles & mathematical diversions.

    I got two sets of James Grimes non-transitive dice which are very cool.

    My coolest toy is a BigTrak junior which is a programmable vehicle. You tell it how far to move, how far to turn (right turn 15 is 90 degrees right), you can tell it to pause (and how many tenths of a second to pause for) etc. It’s like the turtle from the LOGO computer program and is going to be great fun in class!

    Merry Christmas again!

  2. Hannah

    Merry Christmas!
    I didn’t get any puzzles or brain teasers but I did get an envelope of cash which I have spent several times and I have been doing some challenging knitting – both of which have been keeping my maths skills on their toes!
    Thanks for linking back to my star lantern tutorial :o)

  3. James Clare

    I got a book “Math Jokes for Mathy folks” i told some of the jokes over christmas, most (all) of my family groaned when i told one of the jokes. Thats a good sign, right?

  4. John Read

    I got Peter Winklers book Mathematical Puzzles a Conoisseurs Collection. I also showed the family all the MathsJam puzzles and taught my wife, son, in laws, stepdaughter and son to play set.


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