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EngageU Recognition of Distinction for Maths Busking

Maths Busking, Leeds City Centre (photo by Kevin Houston)The Maths Busking project recently won a Recognition of Distinction at the EngageU awards. As one of the Maths Busking team, I’d like to shout about this, so here’s a quick interview I had with the project’s director Sara Santos about the award and the project.

What is Maths Busking?

Sara: Maths Busking is a new form of mathematics communication via the medium of street performance.

Math/Maths 92: Put Alan Turing on a Buckliball

A new episode of the Math/Maths Podcast has been released.

A conversation about mathematics between the UK and USA from This week Samuel and Peter spoke about: Thomas M. Rodgers (3 Aug 1944 – 10 Apr 2012); Racism in academic mathematics; Buckliball; What sank the Titanic?; Physicist Uses Math to Beat Traffic Ticket; Best and Worst Jobs of 2012; Numerical prodigy sets Guinness record for subtraction; e-petition: Put Alan Turing on bitcoins; Bedtime Math; Minds of Modern Mathematics iPad app; Turing-Tape Games; BAMC writing prize; Maths Busking at Engage U; Mathematicians Take a Stand; 3D printed Sierpinksi tetrahedron, Mobius strips loaded with ball-bearing; Sophie’s Diary; Amelia and the Mapmaker; Carnival of Mathematics 85; America’s struggle to make math fun; Spammers are targeting mathematicians; and more.

Get this episode: Math/Maths 92: Put Alan Turing on a Buckliball

Maths Busking enters university outreach & public engagement competition

Maths Busking has been entered for ‘Engage U’, a “European Competition for Best Innovations in University Outreach and Public Engagement”. A detailed entry makes the case for Maths Busking, including the following description:

Maths Busking aims to show the public the surprising and fascinating side of mathematics through the medium of street performance.

The EngageU competition seeks:

to identify the most innovative outreach and public engagement activities that have been carried out by European Universities. We define outreach and public engagement in the broadest sense to incorporate all forms of interaction with individuals and organisations outside the university… The three winning entries will each receive a 5000 EUR prize for their institution… The three winners will be announced on 23 April 2012.

As well as being a competition, “all entries will be made public on the website, forming part of an online repository of good practice in outreach”.

You are encouraged to vote for entries and no registration is needed to do so.

A full list of entries, rules and further information is available via the EngageU website.

On Disreputable Numbers

One would be hard put to find a set of whole numbers with a more fascinating history and more elegant properties surrounded by greater depths of mystery — and more totally useless — than the perfect numbers.

— Martin Gardner

There are countless ways to classify integers. Happy, perfect, friendly, sociable, abundant, extravagant, cute, interesting, frugal, deficient, hungry, undulating, weird, vampire… the list goes on. But how useful are such classifications, beyond their inherent interestingness, and as a hook to get people into number theory?