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Mathematical Objects: Robot caterpillar

Mathematical Objects

A conversation about combinatorics, the mathematics of counting, inspired by a robot caterpillar. Presented by Katie Steckles and Peter Rowlett.

Robot caterpillar


Katherine Johnson (1918-2020)

Katherine Johnson

Mathematician Katherine Johnson has died at the age of 101. She calculated rocket trajectories and orbits for early NASA space flights, including the missions that sent the first American in space, the first American to orbit the Earth and the first men to walk on the Moon, as well as contributing early work on the Shuttle program and many other areas. She was one of the women featured in the book and film Hidden Figures in 2016.

Ada Lovelace Day is fundraising

Ada Lovelace Day (which is much more than just a day) is fundraising.

The smallest unique Cheshire Cat

A red Cheshire cat wearing a blue hat

At the MathsJam annual gathering, one of the many activities attendees can participate in is a competition competition – entrants each come up with a competition and submit it into a larger competition, other attendees enter each of the competitions within the competition competition, and the organisers get the chance to make long and confusing (but strictly correct) announcements that contain the word competition a lot of times.

This year, we decided, after a spectacular last-minute MathsJam bake-off entry failure on the behalf of Katie, to enter a joint competition into the competition competition. Inspired by the ‘lowest unique answer’ style of competition, which has previously featured in various MathsJam Competition Competitions (and our recent lecture on game theory) we came up with an idea – what about a competition seeking a unique entry in a non-ordered set?

Mathematics is Everywhere worldwide video – call for contributions

International Day of Mathematics March 14

The International Day of Mathematics (a new national day from UNESCO) will take place on 14th March 2020. This includes a collective video, to which you are invited to contribute – if you’re quick:

We are putting together a collective video for the first official International Day of Mathematics centered on this year’s topic Mathematics is Everywhere. Clips from all over the world (including yours!) will illustrate the various places where math can be found.

The idea is you record a video of 15 seconds or less showing something that people might not realise is interesting mathematically, and send it in before 21st February 2020.

For more details of what and how to submit, including technical tips, check out the Mathematics is Everywhere Worldwide Video webpage.

Mathematical Objects: Pencil

Mathematical Objects

A conversation about the mathematics of chemistry inspired by a pencil, plus a chat about approximation. Presented by Katie Steckles and Peter Rowlett.