You're reading: Posts By Katie Steckles

Seeking election-themed graph blunders

Since we’d like to write a funny post about it, if you’ve been sent any literature for the upcoming local elections in the UK (or indeed, from the past or from other elections around the world) which contains a graph or chart of questionable rigor, we want to know about it.

As an example, Colin Beveridge sent us this classic from his doormat:



We’ll be awarding bonus points for inaccurate pie charts, exaggerated/meaningless bar sizes, the complete absence of axis label or scale, the use of ‘Can’t win here!’ and any other sneaky/incompetent features. Email your submissions to, and watch out for a roundup post if we collect a sizeable pile.

Matt Parker: Number Ninja

Matt Parker: Number NinjaBehold! Further evidence that maths is a thing which popular entertainment can be based on, and not the terrifying subject of horror and difficulty that its stereotype would suggest. Not only do we have a maths-based TV gameshow (now in its second series), and even a maths-based cop drama, but maths is also the topic of a UK-touring comedy show, performed by Aperiodical homie Matt Parker.

We sent Dave Hughes, of the Leeds MathsJam, along as a scout to one of Matt’s recent performances, and here’s what he thought of the show.

If you never thought maths could be made funny, you’ve never seen any of Matt Parker’s shows. Matt’s latest Number Ninja show takes a whirlwind trip through the everyday uses of mathematics in an accessible and fun way.  His friendly and approachable personality invites audience participation pretty much all the way through with demonstrations of concepts which may have been previously shrouded in mystery.

This show debunks a number of mathematical myths and shows the audience that maths is not to be feared. You will go away from this show with much to think and talk about. Just how much of everyday life is really down to coincidence? Ever wondered how barcodes work? Who did knit that scarf for Matt? All these questions and more are answered here – it’s designed to be appealing to all – you don’t have to be a complete number-brain to enjoy it!

There are still a couple of dates left on the tour, in Havant (Hampshire) and Barnstaple (Devon). For more details, visit If you can’t catch him on this run, Matt also does regular shows in London and occasionally tours as part of the excellent Festival of the Spoken Nerd.

IMA seeks mathematical images for anniversary book

You may have heard rumours that the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications is producing a book, published by Oxford University Press, in celebration of its fiftieth anniversary next year. The book will contain accessible and thought-provoking articles on a wide variety of topics through the spectrum of mathematics and its applications.

They’ve now announced that they’re additionally in search of images to illustrate the book, and are seeking submissions. Here’s an extract from their request for submissions.

Illustrations, photographs, computer simulations or even clever doodles — anything that’s colourful and inspirational. […] The idea is that these images should be able to stand alone, like pictures in an art gallery, with minimal explanation. They should ideally be approximately square or portrait style and sufficiently striking to be readable when reproduced at a size of approximately 10cm^2. You need to hold the copyright for the image. […] We also plan to reuse the best images (fully credited to you) in publicity for the IMA, especially its 50th Anniversary.

We’re assuming that here “10cm^2” means 10cm by 10cm, and not having an area of 10cm2, meaning $\sqrt{10}$cm by $\sqrt{10}$cm. Submissions are to be emailed, in a low resolution format initially, to by or before 12th May 2013, along with any appropriate explanation or attribution text, using the word IMAGE in the header.

The IMA is also holding a competition, open to all IMA members, for articles to go in the book. Details of their anniversary celebrations, and the competition, can be found on the IMA website.

More information

We want your maths images! at Plus Magazine

IMA 50th Anniversary

The Aperiodical is one!

Happy 25/4! On this day in history:

  • in 1840 Siméon Poisson died :(
  • in 1849 Felix Klein was born :)
  • in 1903 Andre Kolmogorov was born :)
  • in 2012 The Aperiodical launched! :D

So we’re a year old. Thanks for reading! Have a slice of cake:

Birthday Cake

To celebrate, CP has been hard at work redesigning the site. Hope you like it!

Manchester MathsJam writeup, April 2013

MathsJam this month fell on the day before my birthday, which meant not only was our ‘Jam well supplied with birthday cake, but there was a jubilant mood only aided by the presence of some puzzles I’d written for my birthday party. Everyone had a good crack at the maths-related one, and found it entertaining (see: future Puzzlebombs, where said puzzles will almost certainly feature).

Puzzlebomb Presents: Special 1

puzzlebomb_squareAs part of Puzzlebomb’s commitment to bringing you all puzzles, all the time, we present a special one-off edition, containing a mildly topical cryptic crossword compiled by one of our regular puzzle setters. Enjoy! Solutions will be posted in roughly a month from now.

Puzzlebomb – Specials 1