Next week, scientists, science fans and science communicators will converge on Cheltenham town hall for a week of high-quality science festival. But how much of the programme is given over to the queen of all sciences, Mathematics? Here’s a list of some of the events going on we’d be interested in going to.
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Kit Yates tweets to tell us that the second series of Dara O Briain: School of Hard Sums will be shown Wednesdays at 8pm from 1st May on Dave. Kit also makes this bold claim: “I set the problems so let me know if you have feedback”. Pedants, go! That’s @Kit_Yates_Maths on Twitter.
The following promo is available. I notice that YouTube commenter Vergast has left the following considered review: “This is a thing? Aweome!”
More information: Dara O Briain: School of Hard Sums on Dave.
A tweet purporting to be1 from the press office of UKTV, the company that owns the channel Dave, has confirmed that the TV show Dara O Briain: School of Hard Sums is to return for a second series (we at least thought we knew this in July). It also says that production company Wild Rover are looking for maths students to take part. The tweet asks you to email firstname.lastname@example.org to express an interest. You might remember that the first series, which aired in April-June, did very well compared with other programmes on the channel.
- Yes, I know, but it was retweeted by Thomas Woolley, who should know. [↩]
Fans of scandalous gossip (and TV channel Dave’s recent foray into maths based light entertainment, Dara O Briain’s School of Hard Sums) will be interested to note the following tweet from Marcus Du Sautoy:
“@pip6390: Is there another series of school of math in the pipe line?” yes! Filming in the new year.
— Marcus du Sautoy (@MarcusduSautoy) July 24, 2012
This presumably refers to the show mentioned above, which featured Marcus as a maths question/task-master, providing both fiendish puzzles and mathematical insight – but who knows? People say all kinds of things on Twitter.
Would you be interested to see another series? Which puzzles would you include? Comments below.
Last night saw the debut of Dave’s ‘School of Hard Sums’, a slightly strange but enjoyable maths show from Dara O Briain and Marcus du Sautoy. Was the show a success? Today Dara tweeted:
So, would viewers of Dave actually want to watch a show about maths? Turns out… yes. We got double the normal audience. Yay for maths!
— Dara O Briain (@daraobriain) April 17, 2012
Of course, the show received a good deal of advertising – but it seems like good news nonetheless.
School Of Hard Sums, the Dara O Briain-fronted maths game show from Dave (based on the Emmy-award nominated Japanese comedy-panel format Comaneci University Mathematics) starts an 8 episode run 16th April at 8pm on Dave. A page at the British Comedy Guide says:
Showing how maths underpins everything in the world around us, each programme sees two main problems for Dara to crack using numbers and equations, while a second comedian attempts a solution with more physical methods. To discover how many different people to date before choosing a partner, Dara uses the Optimal Stopping Theory; trying to predict a football score, Bayesian statistics come to Dara’s rescue.
Source: Dara O Briain: School Of Hard Sums.
Dara O’Briain has written a piece for the Telegraph’s numeracy campaign. Dara, as he explains, has “a deep passion for maths and physics”, having studied mathematical physics at University College, Dublin prior to starting his career in comedy.
Dara writes about maths and “cool”.
I’m often asked to speak about science, in the vain hope that the perceived “cool” of entertainment will somehow rub off onto the science and make it more alluring. Nothing like a heavy, bald 40-year-old to make something “cool”.
Listen. Maths is never going to be “cool”, other than to the sizeable rump of destined-to-love-it-no-matter-how-it’s-presented kids who are like I was at 15.
He argues that maths should be compulsory in schools, like PE, because it is good for pupils, giving both pragmatic – “exercise for the brain” – arguments and philosophical ones. The latter is likely to more attractive here:
Maths is one of the greatest achievements of humanity. It is the common language of science; it has allowed us to drag ourselves from ignorance by creating communal knowledge, which in turn enables us to master our world and to understand our universe. Maths teaches us to spot patterns, to predict behaviour and the steps of an argument. Maths is, above all, a way of approaching problems – stripping things down, extracting the relevant information, and then solving them.
Improving numeracy, Dara says, is more than just enabling people “to be faster at calculating the cost of the weekly shop”, citing the use of statistics in “a world of claim and counterclaim”.
Maths reform campaign: Sum up: you’ll hang on to your knighthood.