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07 July 2017
Greetings, weary internet traveller, and a hearty welcome to the colourful spectacle of wonder that is the Carnival of Mathematics 147. If you’ve never seen such a delight before, rest assured that you may ride as high on the fairground rides of maths as you wish; equally you can bob along contentedly on a carousel horse and then go on your merry way. What is the Carnival, I hear you ask – why, it’s a monthly celebration of mathematical blogs, whether they are explanations of serious mathematics, puzzles, writing about mathematics education, mathematical anecdotes, refutations of bad mathematics, applications, reviews or anything else maths-related you can think of (and plenty you can’t), brought to you by the Aperiodical. So grab your toffee apple and your tickets and enter the funfair!
It is customary to begin with a romp around the current edition number, so, ladies and gents, may I introduce 147: a mysterious and beautiful creature, fascinating in her many accomplishments; known by several interchangeable pseudonyms:
Base 36: 4336
Binary: 10010011 (which contains all the possible two-digit pairs)
Roman numeral: CXLVII
147 ‘s digits, in order, form the left-hand column of a standard numeric keypad.
147 = 142 -72
147 is the maximum break in snooker, as shown above, which means it even has a film in its honour (147-Break ) and a Playstation game (Snooker 147).
Here is a diagram showing the proportion of 147s by player (credit: The Telegraph).
And finally, 147 months ago was June 2005, in which Axel F from Crazy Frog plagued us all at number 1 in the charts for a whole four weeks of frog-related earwormery.
To the blogs and articles: Andrew Masterson writes about using mathematical modelling to combat complex crop viruses in sub-Saharan Africa. “A team, led by Nik Cunniffe of the University of Cambridge in the UK, set out to construct a detailed mathematical model that incorporates most possible variables for both contributing diseases.” Also discussed is the idea that the model only needed to consider extremely big and extremely small farms, reasoning that anything in between would be relatively predictable.
There’s an inspirational story from Kevin Hartnett at Quanta that means there may be hope for us all; how June Huh climbed an extraordinary mathematics peak in an unlikely manner. “That Huh would achieve this status after starting mathematics so late is almost as improbable as if he had picked up a tennis racket at 18 and won Wimbledon at 20.”
Did you know the Telugu used to write fractions in base 4? They had seven special symbols for doing this (what? why not four?) How could anyone not want to know more about this? Speaking of fractions, some exploration of finite continued fractions as part of a piece from Joshua Bowman at Thales Triangles on addition: it is a function of two variables, but it is not linear in either variable; so how could it be bilinear? Read on!
For those whose boats to float are flying more of an educational flag, Benjamin Leis’ blog on a year of running a maths club might be enjoyable, along with several others: firstly, with September seeing the first teaching of reformed A-level qualifications in the UK, Colleen Young presents an index of essential stuff to help teachers get started – a veritable treasure trove of mapping documents, resources and key information. Secondly, taking an entirely different tack, Belle Cottingham reports back from her trip to Tokyo participating in the IMPULS lesson study program. “Possibly the single biggest lesson for me today, outside of observing lesson study in action, was the recognition and appreciation of an education system that respects all of its moving parts, and allows for input from each.”
If you’re after maths teaching resources, take a look at Darren Macey’s set of two blogs on using R, a free piece of stats software. Here’s a great maths activity from Matthew Oldridge that could be used at a variety of grade levels - a good example of a problem with a low floor but a very high ceiling that could lead to further exploration of deeper ideas. It also introduces the idea of BYOM (bring your own math/s), which is an idea to spread far and wide!
An interview with the extraordinary Professor Paul Glaister appears as part of the Cambridge Maths ‘7 Questions With’ series – see which problem Paul would ‘love to crack’, and listen to his expertise on the future on post-16 mathematics in England.
And finally: it’s the London Pride march this weekend, so what better time to celebrate LBGT+ mathematicians with the American Mathematical Society. “While things have improved dramatically in the past thirty-five years, we ought to keep in mind that it’s still a big step for many people with nontraditional identities to be open about their personal lives in a professional setting.”
If your blog or suggestion didn’t make it in this time, or this is your first visit to the Carnival – do join our celebration of maths large and small and you can write or nominate for next month’s edition, brought to you by Karthik at Comfortably Numbered – see you there!