MathsJam is an annual conference in the UK, and a monthly night in pubs around the world, organised respectively by mathematician and juggler Colin Wright, and stand-up mathematician Matt Parker. We cornered Matt and Colin at the MathsJam conference last November, and talked to them for just over half an hour about the conference, the pub nights, and a disturbing amount about cake.
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Evelyn Lamb is a professional mathematician who has taken up journalism on the side. She received the AAAS Mass Media Fellowship last year, and spent the summer writing for the magazine Scientific American. We talked to her about maths journalism, the challenges involved in making advances accessible to a wider audience, and the differences between blogging and print journalism.
We have an unusual All Squared podcast for you this time. My good friend David Cushing has been asking to do a podcast for absolutely ages. We couldn’t decide on a single topic to talk about, so instead I suggested we just sit down and chat about maths in general, like we do when there isn’t a microphone in front of us.
We talked for about an hour and a half, but because I’m completely stupid we lost a big chunk of it when the microphone switched off. To make things even worse, we recorded in a room with a ridiculously loud fan, so there’s that to contend with. Anyway, we talked about some fun stuff, so I think it’s worth listening to.
This is the second and final part of our interview with Colm Mulcahy. Last week we talked about card magic; in this part we moved on to the subject of Martin Gardner and the gatherings of interesting people associated with his name.
We’ve tacked on some blather we recorded about the British Science Festival in Newcastle to the end of this podcast. Listen in to hear what we think about maths! (We’re broadly in favour of it.)
Colm Mulcahy is an original Aperiodical contributor (Aperiodicontributor?) and friend of the site. He’s spent the last year and a bit writing his new book, Mathematical Card Magic: Fifty-Two New Effects. It came out a few weeks ago, so we thought it was a good opportunity to talk to him and find out just what’s so great about mathematical magic tricks.
Actually, we had that thought quite a while ago and if we’d been the least bit organised this podcast would’ve come out the same day as the book. As it happened, we first arranged to talk to Colm back in May, and then it took literally three months before we actually managed to record the interview.
… And then it took us three weeks to edit it up and upload it. Sorry!
Because Colm had so much interesting stuff to say, we’ve split the interview into two parts. In this first half we talk about the book and mathematical card magic; in the second part, out next week, we talk about Martin Gardner and the Celebration of Mind.
Mathematical Card Magic: Fifty-Two New Effects is published by CRC Press, priced £19.99/$29.95.
This number of the All Squared podcast contains the final third of our interview with the inestimable David Singmaster, and then a bit from CP about his favourite book, “A treatise on practical arithmetic, with book-keeping by single entry“, by William Tinwell.
Good maths books are simultaneously plentiful and rare. While there are a few classics almost everyone knows about and has copies of (Gardner, Hardy, etc.), the trade in lesser-known maths books is considerably less well-organised. Very few bookshops have well-stocked maths sections, and insipid pop maths books dominate. Unless you hear about a good maths book through word of mouth, you’ll often only encounter it once it’s ended up in a second-hand bookshop, usually a refugee from an emptied maths department library.
But books, more than anything else, are where the beauty of maths really manifests itself. It’s where ideas are presented most clearly, after they’ve had time to percolate through a few more brains. We talked to David Singmaster, professor of maths and metagrobologist, about his favourite maths books.