Having been absent for last month’s MathsJam, I was keen to have a great time this month so I prepared some nice Easter-based things (since this is the nearest MathsJam to Easter). I thought about egg-shapes, and how to construct them, and came up with a few fun things. The turnout was huge (at its peak, 21+ε: one attendee was expecting) and we spread out over three tables.
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The first MathsJam of the year was well attended. Despite not being on our usual table (there was no jazz band on this week, so we were allowed a bigger table further into the pub) everyone found us ok, and a few people brought baked goods – always a precursor to an excellent MathsJam.
We started off with some quick mental arithmetic brainteasers: how many straight cuts do you need to make to slice a flat square cake into 196 equally sized square pieces? Several people got the answer quite quickly, while others tried to cheat by stacking cake pieces and moving them around between cuts. No cheating!
This month saw a record high turnout, requiring as many as three tables being pushed together, a whole bag of maltesers and a tin of shortbread someone got for Christmas and hadn’t eaten yet. We also had one new attendee who had previously been a regular at Newcastle MathsJam, and has now moved to Manchester for a PhD. Not that it’s a competition or anything, but in your face Newcastle. In fact, the turnout was so large that I couldn’t even keep track of everything that was going on, and when I collected in all the scrap paper I found people had written down several things I wasn’t aware we talked about, including the method for cube rooting large numbers used by Maths Busking.
This month was a small group, but MathsJam is serious business so we got through loads of fun in the time allotted for fun. To start with, we hacked away at Leeds’ tweeted starter for ten:
LDS : As I am alone, starting w/ simple one ; don’t know the answer yet.Is it possible to cut unit square into 3 triangles w/ areas in GP?
— Maths Jam (@MathsJam) August 21, 2012
Having discovered this wonderful design for a paper Enigma machine, which uses a standard size crisp tube and does a pretty good job of encoding things like an Enigma machine, I decided it was worth trying it out. What better opportunity to use something which can encode secret messages than to send messages between two monthly Maths Jam events via the medium of Twitter? The public sending of the messages would be incomprehensible to anyone not willing to get their hands dirty with a crisp tube and scissors. Unless they’ve got an actual Enigma machine.
This month we had two new attendees, as well as some regulars. We talked about lots of different things, although one recurring theme was the Crisp Tube Enigma machine, which we were using to send coded messages to Newcastle MathsJam. There will shortly be a video chronicling our achievements, and I’ll post a link to the video and writeup here once it’s ready.
Having been absent from the May MathsJam, I have been promised a writeup by Manchester MathsJam regular and sometime Aperiodical article-writer Andrew Taylor. This has not yet arrived, and in the interests of making things as temporally confusing as possible, I’m going to post the June writeup now and let that one happen whenever it happens.
June’s MathsJam coincided with one of England’s games in the Euro Football Time 2012 Soccer Cup, or whatever it’s called, but luckily the pub we use for our MathsJams is one of the few locations in Manchester not showing the game, and instead we were treated to some live jazz from the other room.