He’s always busy doing something: here’s some news about friend of the site and Stand-up Mathematician Matt Parker, who’s got big plans for October.
MegaMenger Sponge project
You may be familiar with the method of building cubes from rectangular business cards, which is often used by recreational mathematicians to build versions of the Menger sponge fractal by joining together 20 cubes to make a cube with holes through it in each direction. If you’re really keen, you can then join together 20 of these sponges to make the next iteration of the fractal.
Matt, in collaboration with MoMath’s Laura Taalman, is taking this idea to its limit (well, closer to it) and hoping to build the world’s largest attempted Menger Sponge from cards, this coming October. The colossal construction will take place in 20 locations around the world, with each site building a huge level 3 sponge model using over 60,000 cards and measuring around 1.5m across. Together, the 20 local sponges will add up to a distributed international level 4 sponge, the largest the world has ever seen.
The website for the project, which pre-launches today, is at megamenger.com, and Matt’s looking for expressions of interest in either hosting one of the 20 international build sites, or helping out at a local event. The build will take place in the week of the Gathering For Gardner Celebration of Mind in October, and builds will need to happen from 20th October, with all 20 sponges completed by the end of 26th October. Matt himself hopes to be at the Manchester Science Festival build, at which not one but two sponges will be constructed, one on each of 25th and 26th. If you’re interested in joining in, please get in touch via the website, and follow the @MegaMenger twitter account for updates.
Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension
If that’s not enough for Matt to be doing in October, he’s also got a book out! His new popular maths tome, titled Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension, is out on 30th October. Here’s the blurb:
Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension is an alternative maths lesson. In it, Matt Parker argues that maths is difficult because it’s one of the few subjects that requires us to train our brains to think in an entirely new way, and to confront things with no direct analogy in everyday life – snowflakes that only exist in 196884 dimensions, imaginary numbers and objects beyond infinity – and shows us why it’s worth the effort.
The book is available to pre-order on Amazon now, and will also eventually be available in good bookshops. It’s already made the Amazon Bestseller list for popular maths books.
Manchester Science Festival
A level 3 Menger sponge built from business cards by Jeannine Moseley
Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension on Amazon UK and Amazon US
Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension – more information from the publishers