This week, it was announced that from October the UK’s National Lottery, currently operated by Camelot and already providing a veritable Merlin’s cave of probability lessons for maths teachers, will be changing the rules for its main ‘Lotto’ draw. The main changes are that a new £1m prize will be added to the raffle element you didn’t know already happens, and that matching two balls will win a free ‘lucky dip’ ticket in the subsequent draw. The fixed £25 prize for matching three balls remains on the round table (even though it sometimes causes hilarious number gaffes).
But the Sword of Damocles hanging over Camelot’s changes is that there will be an extra ten balls to choose six from (59 instead of 49), dramatically lengthening the odds of winning all of the pre-existing prizes. This is our round-up of the media’s coverage of this mathematical “news”.
Next week, Cheltenham takes a break from being the home of horse racing and literary and music festivals, and generally being a regency spa town, to put on their amazing Science Festival. There’s a decent amount of maths in the programme, so here’s a round-up of the maths on offer (leaving aside, of course, the fact that all science is maths, there’s also a bunch of science events you might be interested in too).
People with an interest in date coincidences are probably already getting themselves slightly over-excited about the fact that this month will include what can only be described as Ultimate π Day. That is, on 14th March 2015, written under certain circumstances by some people as 3/14/15, we’ll be celebrating the closest that the date can conceivably get to the exact value of π (in that format).
Of course, sensible people would take this as an excuse to have a party, so here’s my top $\tau$ recommendations for having a π party on π day.
Since you’re here reading this, you probably know that on October 30th, Matt “Friend of the Site” Parker released his book, Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension. If you’ve gone one further and read it, you might have seen the occasional reference to the website, makeanddo4d.com. If that website is the book’s DVD extras, this is the website’s extras. We’re going to peek behind the scenes and see how it all works. (Spoiler alert: the maths is powered by maths. It’s recursive maths, all the way down.)
This is a nice short documentary by student filmmaker Damiano Petrucci about mathematics and mathematicians, why they do maths and how they communicate it. It’s got a load of names you’ll recognise, including Oxford’s Ben Green and Aperiodipal Matt Parker.
Manchester Science Festival takes over the city from 23rd October – 2nd November this year, and it’s got a great selection of mathematical events. If you’re based locally, or thinking of heading over there for any of the time, here’s The Aperiodical’s guide to where to get your factorial fix.