Here’s some quick stories from the world of maths this week.
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You probably remember Relatively Prime. This is a series of audio podcasts from my sometime collaborator Samuel Hansen, including stories about checkers, survival housing, swine flu, juggling, a Spanish basilica, and an alien civilization in England. They’re good. Go and listen to them.
Cory Doctorow described himself on boingboing as “a great fan of Relatively Prime” and the Chinook episode as “one of the best technical documentaries I’ve heard“. Tim Harford described it on Twitter as “a great podcast of storytelling about mathematics“.
Friend of the Aperiodical Samuel Hansen has launched a Kickstarter to fund a second series of his maths podcast Relatively Prime. The first series was successfully funded in 2011 and consisted of eight hour-long episodes telling “stories from the mathematical domain”, including interviews with Tim Gowers, Matt Parker, David Spiegelhalter and more.
You wait and wait for a movie about a mathematical genius, and then three come at once. I’ve got Turing, I’ve got Ramanujan, I’ve got Erdős.
Primo, a board game which puts the ‘fun’ in the fundamental theorem of arithmetic, has now been successfully funded via Kickstarter. In a recent blog post, the creators Katherine Cook and Daniel Finkel boast:
The game plays beautifully in play test after play test. It’s one of the most mathematically rich games we have ever seen, and at the same time avoids that icky “educational game” feel. Primo is a real game and it’s worth playing because it’s fun. Really fun.
You might already know about the idea of crocheting hyperbolic surfaces, invented by Daina Taimina in 1997. Well, since then, the idea has been developed considerably, and I don’t think it would be hyperbolic to say people have got a bit carried away.
Margaret and Christine Wertheim, who are a science writer and a poet/performer respectively and The Institute for Figuring collectively, started work on a crochet coral reef in 2005 using Taimina’s ideas. Since then, it has grown into a vast international effort involving over 7,000 people working together to create something that’s a mixture of mathematical neatness, fascinating art exhibit, and environmental awareness project.
Anyway. the reason I mention all this is that the Wertheims want to publish a book about the project, and they’re raising money to do it on Kickstarter.
A chap called Jonathan Kinlay has innovented a Rubik’s cube variant which only has one colour, but six different integer sequences on its sides. As a colourblind integer sequence enthusiast, this basically has to be my ideal Christmas present, right?
Well, it’s currently looking for funding on Kickstarter in advance of actually existing, and the first units won’t be delivered before Christmas, but it’s a fun idea anyway.