July, 2015

Ask Uncle Colin: a topological conundrum

Ask Uncle Colin is a chance to ask your burning, possibly embarrassing, maths questions — and to show off your skills at coming up with clever acronyms. Send your questions to colin@flyingcoloursmaths.co.uk and Uncle Colin will do what he can. Dear Uncle Colin, I’m having a topology crisis. I’ve been

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Common sense v Mathematical accuracy

A few months ago, @reflectivemaths (Dave Gale in real life) tweeted the following: What do you think #mathschat? Should this student get a mark for part b? pic.twitter.com/v93sNYZjE6 — Dave Gale (@reflectivemaths) May 24, 2015 An excellent question, much as it pains me to give Dave credit for anything. My

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Ask Uncle Colin: A Sticky Integral

Ask Uncle Colin is a chance to ask your burning, possibly embarrassing, maths questions — and to show off your skills at coming up with clever acronyms. Send your questions to colin@flyingcoloursmaths.co.uk and Uncle Colin will do what he can. Dear Uncle Colin, I’ve been trying to integrate $\int \frac{x^2}{x-1}

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My mathematical journey

@DrBennison (Tom Bennison in real life) recently posted about his mathematical journey and wondered what other people’s looked like. Happy to oblige. I almost didn’t study maths at university. Most subject teachers are thrilled when you suggest you might study their speciality, but I was extraordinarily fortunate that when I

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Ask Uncle Colin: These percentages don’t add up!

Dear Uncle Colin, I’m a bit confused! Someone told me that 40% of all Americans on welfare are black, which means that 66% of black Americans are on welfare. How did they work this out? I don’t get it, and it’s bothering me. — Always Back Equality Legistlation Hi, ABEL!

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Wrong, but Useful — Episode 27

In this month’s thrilling instalment of the nation’s #1 maths podcast1 , @reflectivemaths and I discuss… The recent leap second The number of the podcast, 999,999,999,998,999,999,999,999. Farey sequences – introducing the mediant of two fractions A couple of agreeable sequences, via @pickover The number of squares of any size on

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Ask Uncle Colin: These alcohol-related figures look a bit fuzzy

Dear Uncle Colin, I was recently on a tour of a whisky distillery where the guide told us about the ‘angel’s share’: every year, 2% of the alcohol in a bottle evaporates. He went on to explain that a 25-year-old single malt would have half the alcohol it did originally.

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A tennis puzzle

A puzzle that occurred to me watching Wimbledon this week: A tennis match goes to five sets. The number of games one of the players wins in each set forms an arithmetic series. Given that the two players won the same number of games in total, who won the match?

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Ask Uncle Colin: Is the Fibonacci series witchcraft?

Dear Uncle Colin, I read somewhere that if you work out $\frac{1}{999,999,999,998,999,999,999,999}$, you get the Fibonacci sequence. Is that really true? Is there witchcraft at work? — Feeling Inspired By Ordinary Numbers; Arithmetic Calculation Can Intimidate! Hi, FIBONACCI! First, to put your mind at rest, there’s no witchcraft at work

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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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