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A recreational maths seminar?

Would you be interested in taking part in a sort of online video-chat seminar about recreational maths? Then read on!

Way back when, before we even launched this site, Katie and I made a video about a paper I’d found called Cryptographic and Physical Zero-Knowledge Proof Systems for Solutions of Sudoku Puzzles. The paper described a scheme for proving you can solve a sudoku puzzle without revealing your solution, using only paper and scissors. We tried it out, and it worked!

I’ve been wanting to do more videos like that, but papers describing new mathematical things to do with household objects are quite rare. I also have the problem that most of my Interesting Esoterica collection goes unread, even though there are quite a few things I’d really like to look at in more detail. So I’ve connected those two thoughts and come up with the ‘recreational maths seminar’.

The idea is this: I pick a paper from my collection that looks interesting, and post it along with a date to get together and discuss it. We all pile in to a Google+ On Air hangout and work through it for an hour or two, and leave as better-educated people, with a YouTube recording of the session for people who couldn’t make it.

I had a small test-run a couple of days ago with Colin Beveridge, where we looked at a very interesting paper titled Twin Towers of Hanoi. Here’s Google+’s recording of the session (I wasn’t particularly paying attention to the fact it was being recorded, so it starts and ends quite abruptly):

I need to pick a time that will suit the most people, and that I can make, so if you like the sound of my idea please put a comment below saying which of the following are convenient for you. I expect each seminar will last between one and two hours.

  • Weekdays between 1800 and 2300 GMT
    (1300-1800 EST, 1900-0000 CET, 0300-0800 EDT)
  • Weekdays between 0700 and 0900 GMT
    (0200-0400 EST, 0800-1000 CET, 1800-2000 EDT)
  • Weekends between 0700 and 1100 GMT
    (0200-0600 EST, 0800-1200 CET, 1800-2200 EDT)
  • Weekends between 1600 and 2300 GMT
    (1100-1800 EST, 1700-0000 CET, 0100-0800 EDT)

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