March, 2015

Book review: Secrets of Creation (Volume I)

In honesty, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this book. As a general rule, press releases that come my way — unless they’re very tightly targeted — can expect to find their way into my ‘spam’ folder. Matthew Watkins’ Secrets of Creation was a little lucky to escape that fate. Maybe

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How high do things bounce on the moon?

“Things bounce six times higher on the moon!” James Corden, narrating Little Charley Bear I have some serious problems with the quality of the physics shown on CBeebies. I’m happy to accept anthropomorphised animals, the idea that all of the presenters live in the CBeebies house, and I’ll even entertain

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How to put your problems right

One of the many people I look forward to seeing at big MathsJam is @pozorvlak, Miles in real life, whose name means ‘beware of the trams’ in Czech. When he’s not coding, pursuing the horrors of category theory, or juggling, he enjoys making his way up icy mountains. That’s not

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My mocks were a disaster – what now?

A reader asks: I got an E in my mocks, but the universities I plan to apply for need at least a B – what do I do? PANIC! Next question. What’s that? Oh, OK. The Ninja says I have to write a proper answer. And if the Ninja says

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How I approximated $\pi$ for “Pi Day”

There was a post here, but it’s not here any more! Instead, it’s over at the Aperiodical, as part of their $\pi$ Day approximation challenge.

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Wrong, But Useful: Episode 24

In this month’s action-packed podcast: Number of the podcast: 381,654,729, the only zero-less pandigital number such that the number formed by the first $n$ digits is divisible by $n$ This is Episode 24, so next month is our second anniversary. If you have any audio clips for us to include,

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It’s the way they write the questions: a case study

The great @mathjem recently took advantage of snowy weather to post this question: I'll be using my favourite snowman-based maths question in my lesson on percentages tomorrow. #mathschat pic.twitter.com/EayP6KmaR3 — Jo Morgan (@mathsjem) January 29, 2015 On the one hand, it’s quite nice: using the weather and a popular culture

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Factorise or factor?

@onthisdayinmath asks: Is it just me or has “factorise” (with s or z) suddenly become much more common term for “to factor” recently? Before I went to America, I had never seen factor used as a verb, at least in a mathematical context: you don’t ration a denominator, so why

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Integrating $\sec^4(x)$

A student asks: How do you integrate $\int_{0}^{\frac{\pi}{4}} \sec^4(x) \d x$? Yuk. Let me say that again for good measure: yuk. That’s going to need a trigonometric identity and, I think, a substitution. But that’s ok: we can do that. Let’s roll up our sleeves. Step 1: get rid of

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Dividing by 63

At a recent MathsJam, @brownmaths — who really should have known better — showed up with a calculator. Dear oh dear. His excuse was that it was in his teaching satchel, and he sometimes needed it to work out trigonometric functions (the Mathematical Ninja rolled his eyes, but I said

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Where do you teach?

I teach in my home in Abbotsbury Road, Weymouth.

It's a 15-minute walk from Weymouth station, and it's on bus routes 3, 8 and X53. On-road parking is available nearby.

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