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Video: The Aperiodical’s π approximation challenge

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.

Counting From Infinity – A film about Yitang Zhang

zhangoldFollowing 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.

Logically Policed

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.

via Colin Wright, who’s also in it!

Mathematical soap bubbles by Juan Bragado

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.

[youtube url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEXj69hCi44]

via John Golden on Twitter

John Conway on Numberphile!

Numberphile, the supremum over all YouTube channels, has scored a bit of a coup – Brady has sat down and recorded an interview with the famously Internet-reclusive John Conway.

In this first video (there’s a bonus one linked at the end of this one, and I hope there’ll be more) John talks about his love/hate relationship with his Game of Life.

[youtube url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8kUJL04ELA]

By the way, I notice from the video’s description that the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute is paying for Numberphile these days. Thanks, MSRI!