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Review: Why Study Mathematics, by Vicky Neale

Vicky Neale on Twitter: "My new book "Why Study Mathematics?" is published  today! It's designed for students considering a maths degree, and their  teachers and families. @LPPbooks and I would love it

In fact, St Andrews offered a French for Scientists course, so I ended up doing Maths with French. A win all round.

I can pinpoint the exact moment it became clear I would study maths at university. Parents’ evening, year 12, I mentioned to my French teacher that I was thinking about a French degree. He looked at me as if I was stupid and said something like “you’re good at French, but you’re GOOD at maths. Besides, a French degree isn’t much use.” Alright, fine. Maths it is. He was spot-on. I never looked back.

Review: Immersive Linear Algebra

We invited guest author, Big Math-Off contestant and recent maths graduate Brad Ashley to review Immersive Math’s linear algebra textbook – a new take on the format.

Immersive Linear Algebra is an online interactive linear algebra textbook, created by mathematicians and computer scientists Jacob Ström, Kalle Åström, and Tomas Akenine-Möller. With their impressive collective knowledge of the field, and its applications within computer graphics, they seek to improve upon the idea of a textbook with the use of interactive diagrams.

Review: “The Theory of Everything”

A few days ago, friend of The Aperiodical James Grime contacted me asking if I would be able to review The Theory of Everything. Obviously I was flattered. In a past life I did some mathematics/physics in the same ballpark as Hawking’s celebrated black-hole work so guessed James was asking because he knew I used to know something about this. Or perhaps it was because he knew that Hawking ran over my foot in a bar at the 17th International General Relativity and Gravitation conference in Dublin back in 2004? Either way, James had given me a pass to go and watch the beautiful Eddie Redmayne for the evening!

Some more games to entertain a commutative mathematician

A while ago I collected a few of the mathsy games I play on my phone to while away my commute. I’ve found a few new ones since then, so I thought I’d do a new post to tell you about them.

Integer sequence review: A225143

The Online Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences contains over 200,000 sequences. It contains classics, curios, thousands of derivatives entered purely for completeness’s sake, short sequences whose completion would be a huge mathematical achievement, and some entries which are just downright silly.

For a lark, David and I have decided to review some of the Encyclopedia’s sequences. We’ll be rating sequences on four axes: Novelty, Aesthetics, Explicability and Completeness.

A225143
Primes from merging of 10 successive digits in decimal expansion of $\zeta(2)$ or $\frac{\pi^2}{6}$.

9499012067, 4990120679, 3040043189, 1896233719, 2337190679, 9628724687, 2510068721, 8721400547, 9681155879, 5587948903, 7564558769, 9632356367, 3235636709, 3200805163, 4445184059, 3876314227, 2276587939, 1979084773, 9420451591, 9120818099, ...

Matt Parker: Number Ninja

Matt Parker: Number NinjaBehold! Further evidence that maths is a thing which popular entertainment can be based on, and not the terrifying subject of horror and difficulty that its stereotype would suggest. Not only do we have a maths-based TV gameshow (now in its second series), and even a maths-based cop drama, but maths is also the topic of a UK-touring comedy show, performed by Aperiodical homie Matt Parker.

We sent Dave Hughes, of the Leeds MathsJam, along as a scout to one of Matt’s recent performances, and here’s what he thought of the show.

If you never thought maths could be made funny, you’ve never seen any of Matt Parker’s shows. Matt’s latest Number Ninja show takes a whirlwind trip through the everyday uses of mathematics in an accessible and fun way.  His friendly and approachable personality invites audience participation pretty much all the way through with demonstrations of concepts which may have been previously shrouded in mystery.

This show debunks a number of mathematical myths and shows the audience that maths is not to be feared. You will go away from this show with much to think and talk about. Just how much of everyday life is really down to coincidence? Ever wondered how barcodes work? Who did knit that scarf for Matt? All these questions and more are answered here – it’s designed to be appealing to all – you don’t have to be a complete number-brain to enjoy it!

There are still a couple of dates left on the tour, in Havant (Hampshire) and Barnstaple (Devon). For more details, visit www.standupmaths.com. If you can’t catch him on this run, Matt also does regular shows in London and occasionally tours as part of the excellent Festival of the Spoken Nerd.

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