# You're reading: Posts Tagged: Simon Singh

### Simon Singh wants someone to help with Top Top Set

Simon Singh, author of Fermat’s Last Theorem and The Code Book, among others, has for the last three years been running a project called Top-Top Set. It’s an enrichment project to stretch kids at non-selective state schools in the UK.

Now, Simon is looking for an experienced maths teacher to help him grow the project even further.

Responsibilities for the Top-Top Set Project Co-ordinator include:

• Developing the top-top set project to maximise its impact and cost-effectiveness.
• Supporting and visiting the schools currently
• Helping schools implement the top-top set model to full effect.
• Recruiting more schools to start in September 2020.
• Working with potential and existing funders.
• Teaching top-top sets or potential top-top set students.
• Developing resources for and managing the online Parallel Project.

If that sounds like something you’d like to do, find more information about how to apply at the Good Thinking Society website.

If that doesn’t sound like something you’d like to do, or just while you’re waiting to hear if you’ve got the job, check out Parallel, a set of free weekly maths challenges developed to support Top-Top Set, but available to everyone.

### Review: The Mathematics of Secrets by Joshua Holden

Any book on cryptography written for a more-or-less lay audience must inevitably face comparisons to The Code Book, written in 1999 by Simon Singh, the king of distilling complex subjects to a few hundred pages of understandable writing. While Singh’s book is a pretty thorough history of codes and codebreaking ((I will in this review unapologetically make no attempt to maintain any distinction between the terms code and cipher; cryptography, cryptanalysis and codebreaking, etc.)) through the centuries with plenty of the maths thrown in, The Mathematics of Secrets is tilted (and indeed titled) more towards a fuller explanation of the mathematical techniques underlying the various ciphers. Although Holden’s book follows a basically chronological path, you won’t find too much interest in pre-computer ciphers here: Enigma is cracked on page seventy, and the name Alan Turing does not appear in the book.

### Open Season: Pancake Flipping

In this series of articles, I’m writing about mathematical questions we don’t know the answer to – which haven’t yet been proven or disproven. This edition is a topical one, for Pancake Day (Shrove Tuesday, celebrated in the UK this year on 9th February).

Some of the best mathematical teasers are those which originate in a real-world problem – although the problem for pure mathematicians is that that happens much less often than it does for applied mathematicians, who are presented with interesting real-world problems all the time. That’s why it’s especially nice when a more pure one pops up, and that’s exactly what happened to mathematician Jacob E Goodman, back in 1975.

### 3.142: a π round-up

π pie by Robert Couse-Baker. Photo used under the CC-BY 2.0 licence.

‘Tis the season to celebrate the circle constant! ((Pedants would have me revise that to “circle constant”.)) Yes, that’s right: in some calendar systems using some date notation, the day and month coincide with the first three digits of π, and mathematicians all over the world are celebrating with thematic baked goods and the wearing of irrational t-shirts.

And the internet’s maths cohort isn’t far behind. Here’s a round-up (geddit – round?!) of some of our favourites. In case you were wondering, we at The Aperiodical hadn’t forgotten about π day – we’re just saving ourselves for next year, when we’ll celebrate the magnificent “3.14.15”, which will for once be more accurate to the value of π than π approximation day on 22/7. (Admittedly, for the last few years, 3.14.14 and so on have strictly been closer to π than 22/7. But this will be the first time you can include the year and feel like you’re doing it right.)

### Infinite Monkey Maths

The latest episode of BBC Radio 4’s Infinite Monkey Cage took “an irreverent and rational look at numbers, logic and mathematics” and is available to download for a length of time unbounded above in podcast form.