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Podcast: Episode 19 – Maths news with Sarah Shepherd

These are the show notes for episode 19 of the Travels in a Mathematical World Podcast. 19 is the smallest number n such that n to the power n is pandigital (contains all 10 digits). More about the number 19 from Number Gossip.

This week on the podcast I met Sarah Shepherd, PhD student at the University of Nottingham and Editor of iSquared Magazine and we discussed some maths news. Links to all the articles we mentioned are below.

Emperor penguins face extinction due to climate change, a new study and mathematicial model suggests. Read “Emperor penguins face extinction” on the BBC News website.

Graham Parker has solved his rubix cube after 26 year attempting to do so. Read “Rubik’s Cube finally solved after 26 years by avid fan” from the Telegraph.

Professor David Williams of Swansea University has solved a mathematical problem following brain surgery, though his piano playing ability is not what it once was. Read “Swansea professor’s maths victory” from the Weston Mail at WalesOnline.

Carol Vorderman is to head a new maths task force for the Conservative Party. You can read about this in many places, including “Vorderman heads maths task force” from the BBC, “Carol + David = new Tory strategy to make maths fun” from Guardian and “If Vorderman is the answer, Cameron’s asking the wrong question” in the Guardian. There is an interview with Carol which touches on this and other issues, “Carol Vorderman on money, celebrity and being the new maths czar” in the Times. Carol would like pupils and parents to email her at with their questions, complaints and observations about how they are taught maths.

There is an interview with Marcus du Sautoy in the Independant, “Credo: Marcus du Sautoy”.

There is a piece about Charles Darwin’s contribution to the development of statistics “Darwin: The Reluctant Mathematician” in Science News.

There is a column in the Independent which touches on a lot of current issues in mathematics. Read “Boyd Tonkin: The answer is 23: new shots at maths” in the Independent.

Remember the snow at the start of February? Read “Why do snowflakes have six arms?” in the Times.

At the time of recording, the current edition of Marcus du Sautoy’s column in the Times is “Sexy maths: Why Palladio’s proportions are pleasing on the eye and the ears”.

We had a ramble about Twitter. I have decided to try Twitter so you can follow me at Plus magazine are also using Twitter via You can read Plus magazine at

If you are a student who is not receiving an email with links to PDF articles from the IMA members publication Mathematics Today, please email me. This facility is free for students only.

iSquared Magazine is available through

You can find out more about my work with the IMA by reading this blog and visiting

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