I have to say, I chuckled: the week Relatively Prime hits ‘noteworthy’ on iTunes is the week Samuel discusses using maths to do well in popularity contests. Coincidence? I think not.
To me, episode 3 of the second series represents something of a return to form for one of the top half-dozen maths podcasts around; whether this is because I’m a fan of political maths or because it’s genuinely really good is a) difficult to tell because I’m biased and b) a false dichotomy.
Maths – as teachers are fond of telling anyone who’ll listen – is everywhere. In this difficult second episode of the difficult second series of Relatively Prime, Samuel Hansen shows us a few important places where it can be a help: at the petrol pump, at the birthday party, in the car park and at the bar — or rather, in deciding whether to go.
I’ve been waiting for the new season of Relatively Prime for more than three years. I’ve listened to Chinook, the highlight of Season 1, countless times since then. And finally, finally, it’s arrived in my podcast feed.
I notice that our post queue is filling up with interesting mathematical apps, so I thought I’d deal with them all in one big roundup post. Read on for a mix of mathematical games, apps to help with calculations, and some frankly awful art.
Our good friends at Maths Gear have sent us a tube of “unique polyhedral dice” to review. The description on mathsgear.co.uk says they’re “made from polyhedra you don’t normally see in the dice world”. My first thought was that we should test they’re fair by getting David to throw them a few thousand times but — while David was up for it — I’d have to keep score, which didn’t sound fun.
So instead we thought of some criteria we can judge the dice on, and sat down with a teeny tiny video camera. Here’s our review:
Snowflake Seashell Star is a new mathematical colouring book, by Alex Bellos and Edmund Harriss, aimed at the lucrative ‘grown-up colouring books’ market that’s sprung up recently, heavily intersected with people who are interested in maths – the book can be used as a regular colouring book, but contains lots of interesting mathematical things, and mathematicians will love it. I wouldn’t have expected anything less from maths adventurer Bellos and mathematical artist and tiling fan Harriss, whose personalities both come through in the book – from the beautiful illustration to the playful style (and there’s a sneaky Harriss Spiral in there too).
The first thing I did in order to properly review the book was check an important mathematical fact, in case anyone was worried. And yes, everything in it is colourable using four colours or fewer. Phew.