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πkm run challenge – completed

As a final update, I’ve now finished my πkm running quest. I’m very tired now! Thanks to everyone who has donated at, spread the word about it, come running with me or otherwise facilitated this.

Here’s the final set of photos and video clips from the last week, and for the data fiends among you, a sneaky look at my spreadsheet of runs. With a graph, as requested by Hannah Fry.

Wikiquote edit-a-thon – Saturday, May 12th, 2018

TL;DR: We’re holding a distributed Wikipedia edit-a-thon on Saturday, May 12th, 2018 from 10am to improve the visibility of women mathematicians on the Wikiquotes Mathematics page. Join in from wherever you are! Details below, and in this Google Doc.

Extension and abstraction without apparent direction or purpose is fundamental to the discipline. Applicability is not the reason we work, and plenty that is not applicable contributes to the beauty and magnificence of our subject.
– Peter Rowlett, “The unplanned impact of mathematics”, Nature 475, 2011, pp. 166-169.

Trying to solve real-world problems, researchers often discover that the tools they need were developed years, decades or even centuries earlier by mathematicians with no prospect of, or care for, applicability.
– Peter Rowlett, “The unplanned impact of mathematics”, Nature 475, 2011, pp. 166-169.

There is no way to guarantee in advance what pure mathematics will later find application. We can only let the process of curiosity and abstraction take place, let mathematicians obsessively take results to their logical extremes, leaving relevance far behind, and wait to see which topics turn out to be extremely useful. If not, when the challenges of the future arrive, we won’t have the right piece of seemingly pointless mathematics to hand.
Peter Rowlett, “The unplanned impact of mathematics”, Nature 475, 2011, pp. 166-169.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I have every admiration for Peter and his work; his is a thoughtful voice of reason, and it’s not at all unreasonable for the Wikiquote page on mathematics to cite his writing.

πkm running challenge: 21-day round up

I’m still going! Two-thirds of the way through my epic running binge, and I’ve managed to keep it up every day so far. Since my last round-up on 7th, I’ve run another πkm each day, and my fundraising total is now at 22%, which is over £700 (and if you didn’t notice, that sentence just contained ’22’, ‘over’ and ‘7’).

If I can make it to £1000 before the end of the month, I’ll be pretty pleased! Donate at, or see below for my daily sweaty photos/videos/instagram posts.

Exactly how bad is the 13 times table?

Let’s recite the $13$ times table. Pay attention to the first digit of each number:

\begin{array}{l} \color{blue}13, \\ \color{blue}26, \\ \color{blue}39, \\ \color{blue}52 \end{array}

What happened to $\color{blue}4$‽

A while ago I was working through the $13$ times table for some boring reason, and I was in the kind of mood to find it really quite vexing that the first digits don’t go $1,2,3,4$. Furthermore, $400 \div 13 \approx 31$, so it takes a long time before you see a 4 at all, and that seemed really unfair.

The OEIS now contains 300,000 integer sequences

The Online Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences just keeps on growing: at the end of last month it added its 300,000th entry.

Especially round entry numbers are set aside for particularly nice sequences to mark the passing of major milestones in the encyclopedia’s size; this time, we have four nice sequences starting at A300000. These were sequences that were originally submitted with indexes in the high 200,000s but were bumped up to get the attention associated with passing this milestone.

πkm Running Challenge: 7-day update

This month I'm doing a completely irrational sponsored run for Sport Relief, aiming to raise £100π by running πkm per day, every day in March. I'm one week in, and here's the story so far.

Day one. Got my proper socks on and everything.

A post shared by Katie Steckles (@katie_steckles) on