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Zaha Hadid’s design for the Science Museum’s new maths hall is certainly something

For a while, the Science Museum has been forming groups and making noises and tickling rich people with the aim of working out how they’re going to update their rather neglected maths hall. Yesterday they made an unexpectedly positive announcement: they’ve been given £5 million by rich people David and Claudia Harding, and Dame Zaha Hadid has drawn up a swooshy new design.

Toast Formula Update!

A press release from the Royal Society of Chemistry: Formula for the perfect cheese on toast revealed.

Oh dear.

Not mentioned recently on The Aperiodical

Summer is a busy time for this site’s hard-working triumvirate, so we haven’t been keeping on top of the news as much as we’d like. There’s been some quite interesting news, so here’s a quick round-up of the most important bits:


This just in! Important research from mathematicians at the university of Sheffield (in particular, category theorist Eugenia Cheng) has determined the correct proportions of jam and cream to use when creating a jam and cream scone. As the Aperiodical’s cake correspondent, my duty is to report these significant results.

LMS Report: ‘Advancing women in mathematics: good practice in UK university departments’

The London Mathematical Society have released a report ‘Advancing women in mathematics: good practice in UK university departments‘. The LMS is “concerned about the loss of women from mathematics, particularly at the higher levels of research and teaching, and at the missed opportunities that this represents”.

Deck the halls with τ of holly, formula-la-laaa!

Christmas is a time for giving, celebrating, family and magic. But did you know it’s also a time for equations? Department store Debenhams has decided to honour this recent Christmas tradition by tasking at least two members of Sheffield University’s undergraduate maths society to come up with formulae for ‘a perfectly decorated Christmas tree‘, picked up by The Sun, The Metro and others.

Christmas Tree

Photo by Aleksandar Cocek, used under a Creative Commons licence.

Previous festive howlers include ‘the formula for the perfect family Christmas‘ (sponsored by The Children’s Society to promote a book) and a prior stab at ‘the equation for the ideal Christmas tree‘ (sponsored by B&Q), which are just nonsensical strings of abbreviations. However, unlike those examples of naff-ematics, the Sheffield tree-decorating equations make enough sense for me to take a critical, overly-serious look at them on their own merits, and show how you might begin to come up with something more rational.