You're reading: Posts By Peter Rowlett

Summer Maths Puzzles from the Isaac Newton Institute

Summer Maths Puzzles website graphic

There are a collection of 23 maths-based puzzles appearing at a rate of one-per-weekday through August over at the Isaac Newton Institute. Their website explains “They won’t require sophisticated maths to solve, but equally they won’t be easy. Discussing your ideas might help.”

For example, here is the teaser puzzle, £8.19:

Two players play a game.
  • They each start with an unlimited number of coins of denominations: 1p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p and 100p.
  • They take it in turns putting coins into a pot one at a time.
  • The winner is the person who places the final coin into the pot reaching the target total of £8.19.
  • A player automatically loses if they exceed the target total.
Given that they are both perfect logicians and strategists, who wins?

Answers will be revealed at the end of the month, and you are invited to submit your answers for a chance to be named as a person or group who submitted one of the first few correct answers.

At the time of writing, there are 6 puzzles still to be revealed, and 17 puzzles are live. Check out the Summer Maths Puzzles website, or search Twitter, Facebook or Instagram for #SummerMathsPuzzles.

Happy puzzling!

Mathematical Objects: Thermometer

Mathematical Objects

A conversation about mathematics inspired by a thermometer. Presented by Katie Steckles and Peter Rowlett.


Mathematical Objects: Noughts and Crosses (Tic Tac Toe) board

Mathematical Objects

A conversation about mathematics inspired by a Noughts and Crosses (Tic Tac Toe) board, covering Noughts and Crosses, a surprising number of variants, with a bit of higher dimensions and topology for good measure. Presented by Katie Steckles and Peter Rowlett.

Noughts and Crosses board

Particularly mathematical Birthday Honours 2019

With the announcement the Queen’s Birthday Honours list, it’s time for the latest in our ongoing Honours-watch series of posts. In this, we search arbitrarily for a few maths-related terms in the list, and hope our well-informed readers fill in the blanks where actual knowledge is required.

  • Sir Peter Donnelly, Chief Executive, Genomics plc and Professor of Statistical Science, University of Oxford. Knighted for services to the Understanding of Human Genetics in Disease.
  • Ken Brown, Professor of Mathematics, University of Glasgow. Appointed CBE for services to the Mathematical Sciences.
  • Sylvia Richardson, Director, Medical Research Council Biostatistics Unit, University of Cambridge. Appointed CBE for services to Medical Statistics.
  • Max Parmar, Professor of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology and Director, MRC Clinical Trials Unit, University College London. Appointed OBE for services to Medical Research and Clinical Trials.
  • Arnold Black, Historian and Statistician, Scottish Athletics. Appointed MBE for services to Athletics.
  • Elizabeth Buttigieg, Executive Officer, UK Statistics Authority. Appointed MBE services to Pensioners, Veterans and the community in Newport, Wales.
  • Duncan Lawson, Co-Director sigma, Coventry University. Appointed MBE for services to Mathematics in Higher Education.
  • Peter Ransom. Appointed MBE for voluntary service to Mathematics Education.
  • Lauren Shea. Awarded BEM for services to Promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics to Young People.
  • Jess Wade, Research Physicist, Blackett Laboratory, Imperial College London. Awarded BEM for services to Gender Diversity in Science.

Are there any others we’ve missed? Please add any of interest in the comments below. A full list may be obtained from the UK Government website.

Creating the universe: an interactive mathematical art project

Creating the universe

Creating the universe‘ is an “interactive mathematical art project” by Kathrin Glau taking place at Tate Modern London from 11-16 June 2019. Its website explains:

With top and felt we explore a conceptual world that normally is layed out in its own symbolic language. This is an artistic study of the foundations of mathematics. To do so, we create the nested sets building the mathematical universe itself.

Kathrin Glau

A page on the website offers more detail about the exhibition. It is part of a wider Queen Mary University programme of activity at the Tate, with free entry.

Mathematical Objects: Tangerine

Mathematical Objects

A conversation about mathematics inspired by a tangerine (no, really!). Presented by Katie Steckles and Peter Rowlett.