You may recall that Samuel Hansen and I used to have a weekly conversation about mathematics in the news and news in mathematics, which we called the Math/Maths Podcast and released through the (still going!) science communication project Pulse-Project. When we put Math/Maths on hiatus (the length of which is still an open question), this left a gap in the lucrative ‘two blokes talking about maths-y stuff’ market. Leaping on the opportunity, plucky young podcasters Colin Beveridge and Dave Gale started Wrong, But Useful (as you may recall from a previous post here). Well, that was a year ago now and, as creatures whose outlook is tied to this planet, that is apparently worth celebrating. Through a careful constructed mock-feud, Colin and Dave reeled in first Samuel and then me to join them in an anniversary recording.
As well as rehashing Why do $0!$ and $a^0$ equal $1$?, and engaging in a little silliness, I think we touched on some interesting topics. Is $6\times 4$ four lots of $6$ or six lots of $4$ (Dave’s blog post on this is here)? Is the Pythagorean theorem part of trigonometry? Why should people be made to study maths? What is ‘mathematics’, and why don’t we have different words for maths at different levels? Why do students hate ‘show that’ questions? Why do people think maths is about getting the correct answer? What are continued fractions good for? And more. I’m not sure we answered any of this very well, so perhaps you will listen and let Colin and Dave know what you think.