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Zeckendorf cup arithmetic

My 5-minute talk at the big MathsJam conference this weekend was about some stacking cups that my daughter is too young to appreciate. Here’s the really quick version, in just over a minute:

I gave the answer at MathsJam, but the title of this post contains a big hint that should get you there with a bit of googling.

The competition I entered into the first MathsJam Competition Competition

A couple of weekends ago was the big MathsJam gathering (I might call it a recreational maths conference, but this is discouraged). Two of the delightful sideshows, alongside an excellent series of talks, were the competitions. The Baking Competition is fairly straightforward, with prizes for “best flavour, best presentation, and best maths”:

The first will reward a well-made, delicious item; the second will reward the item which has been decorated the most beautifully and looks most like what it’s supposed to be; and the third will reward the most ingenious mathematical theming.

You can view the entries from this year on the MathsJam website.

MathsJam talks now online


The talk summaries and slides from last November’s MathsJam conference are now online!

MathsJam is a monthly maths night that takes place in over 30 pubs all over the world, and it’s also an annual weekend conference in November. The conference comprises 5-minute talks on all kinds of topics in and related to mathematics, particularly recreational maths, games and puzzles.

The talks archive has now been updated with the 2015 talks – there’s a short summary of what each talk was about, along with any slides, in PPT and PDF format, and relevant links.



Spoof My Proof

At the Maths Jam conference, I was delighted to chair the first ever (and possibly only) edition of Spoof My Proof, a panel show devised by Colin Beveridge and Dave Gale as a special edition of their podcast Wrong, But Useful – the show that iTunes reviewer @twentythree calls an “unassuming, gentle and informative chat on mathematics”.

Registration for the 2015 MathsJam conference is now open

Photo credit: Dave Hughes

Photo credit: Dave Hughes

The MathsJam annual conference is a magical time when maths geeks converge on a conference centre in the middle of nowhere near Stone and spend a weekend sharing their favourite puzzles, games, and mind-blowing maths facts.

Registration for the 2015 weekend, taking place on 6-7 November, has now been opened. More information about the conference, and how to register, can be found on the MathsJam Conference website.

We’ll all be there: join us!

Thinking Mathematically

After this year’s Maths Jam weekend, Liz Hind said she wished she had a blog. Now she does! We welcome Liz to The Aperiodical and her new column, Thoughts of a Maths Enthusiast.

At Maths Jam I surprised several people when I told them I didn’t have a maths degree. Why was this surprising? They expected everyone at Maths Jam to have one? I’m not alone in not having a maths degree at Maths Jam and I don’t think that was the reason.

A good maths education is important because it teaches you how to approach a problem, think about it objectively and break it down. It turns out I’m good at thinking about Zombie Dice and with a glass of wine (and maybe a hint or two) I can solve difficult cube puzzles. It certainly demonstrates my mathematical thinking skills.

I’m also remembered for my talks on ancient Egyptian mathematics. While the mathematical content of these talks never goes much beyond GCSE level stuff, it does rely on a real understanding of what maths is and how it relates to being human.

Does that make me a mathematician? I’m not sure. I’m certainly a maths enthusiast with a lot of thoughts. I look forward to sharing some of them with you.