Because of my statistically improbable stature, it’s really hard to find clothes that fit me. So, most days I wear the lowest common denominator of all clothing styles, a t-shirt. And if I’m wearing a t-shirt, it might as well be Extremely On Brand CP and have some obscure mathematical motif on it.
Good maths t-shirts are hard to come by, so I’ve made four of my own.
I haven’t let lack of illustrating ability get in my way, and I’m quite pleased with how they’ve turned out.
My son is obsessed with the Spike Milligan nonsense poem ‘On the Ning Nang Nong’. Here’s a video of Spike reciting it.
This weekend, he asked me to help him learn it. I’ve tried to memorise it before, to save having to find the book when he wants me to recite it. But somehow, it’s never quite stuck. I can remember all the bits and the basic order (Cows-Trees-Mice), and know what happens after the lines ending “Nong” (“Cows go bong”), “Ning” (“Trees go ping”) and “Nang” (“Mice go clang”). What I struggle with is remembering which order the “Ning”, “Nang” and “Nong” go before the one that rhymes with what comes next.
At the weekend, I wrote “Ning”, “Nang” and “Nong” on pieces of paper and we rearranged them as we read the poem. I realised my difficulty is a mathematician pattern-spotting one. There’s a not-quite Latin square embedded in the poem.
When you discover an interesting mathematical shape or object, there’s a strong instinct to play with it – maybe by drawing sketches and doodles to test the limits of the idea. But in the case of Tricurves, drawing an accurate shape takes a little time, and it doesn’t lend itself well to idle experimentation.
Producing a physical version of a shape, in enough quantity to allow for experimentation, makes it much more tangible. In our own respective locations, we’ve each made use of laser cutting facilities to produce wooden Tricurve tiles to play with, and we encourage you to join in.