As part of our massive π day celebrations, The Aperiodical has challenged me with the task of assembling a group of mathematicians, some bits of cardboard and string, and a video camera, and attempting to determine the exact value of π, for your entertainment.
The challenge, which was to be completed without a calculator, involved using known mathematical formulae for π and its occurrence in the equations of certain physical systems. In the video below, seven different methods are used – some more effective than others…
If you reckon you too can ineptly compute a value in the region of π (in particular, if you can get a more accurate approximation than the date of π day itself, which gives 3.1415), feel free to join in the challenge and see how close you get.
Following 2013’s amazing bounded gaps between primes result, mathematician Yitang Zhang has gone from an unknown maths lecturer to a mathematical celebrity. The Mathematical Research Sciences Institute at Berkeley has put together a film telling the story of Zhang’s proof, and his life before and after the announcement.
The film, which was funded by the Simons Foundation, has contributions from a large number of mathematicians, including Daniel Goldston, Kannan Soundararajan, Andrew Granville, Peter Sarnak, Enrico Bombieri, James Maynard (based at Oxford, who did further work to reduce the prime gap following on from Zhang’s), Nicholas Katz, David Eisenbud, Ken Ribet, and Aperiodihero Terry Tao, as well as Zhang himself.
This is a nice short documentary by student filmmaker Damiano Petrucci about mathematics and mathematicians, why they do maths and how they communicate it. It’s got a load of names you’ll recognise, including Oxford’s Ben Green and Aperiodipal Matt Parker.
I recently tried to blow some clever soap bubbles to demonstrate some maths concepts to some students. It went terribly. Juan Bragado is much better at blowing mathematical bubbles, so he’s made this gentle video showing all sorts of soapy polyhedra, and other mathematical shapes made from bubbles.
If anyone remembers October 2012 (ahh, those were the days) you might recall we wrote about Aperiodipal Matt Parker, and his crazy project to build a computer out of dominoes. Well, it happened, but not much has happened since – sorting out a video of the event has taken a while. But it’s ready now! And it’s great!