Browsing category in praise of…

Glittering like a Christmas tree

"It is like a cave that seemed to be absolutely sparkling with jewels. Maths glittered like a Christmas tree at me." - Amanda Spielman, at the Education Select Committee, October 30th 2017 What an image. What an image. Caves are dark, and cold, and slightly frightening, but buried deep within,

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In Praise of… LaTeX

The summer of 2003 was a glorious one in Fife: blazing sunshine, warm-but-not-too-warm, a lovely fresh breeze blowing in off of the North Sea. At least, I'm told it was glorious. I was stuck in room 226, preparing two versions of my PhD thesis as my supervisor had decided a

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Why I loved the MathsJam conference

Because, well, what's not to love? About 100 mathematicians gathered together to play with maths for a whole weekend. What, in all seriousness, could be better? There's something fantastic about there being, in one room, probably about as much mathematical brainpower as the Manhattan Project, and for all of that

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John Halpern’s TEDx talk on crosswords

This is an odd, out-of-sequence post, but I just saw this and thought it needed sharing. - John Halpern in real life - is one of my heroes. I'd rate him comfortably among the top five crossword compilers in the UK (possibly the world), and not just because he has

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Five things Mo Farah can teach you about maths (and other things too)

OK, I'll admit it. I have a bit of a man-crush on Mo Farah. However, I'm going to sully the purity of my man-love for super-Mo by cashing in on his success with a list post. 1. Train hard, race easy After his victory in the Olympic 5,000 metres final,

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Happy $\pi$ day!

Happy Pi Day! mu-tant cow pi by janemariejett In the American date format, today is 3.14 - a pretty good approximation to $\pi$, which (as any fule kno) is the ratio between a circle's diameter and circumference. It's also the focus of most of the jokes about maths, because -

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In praise of… watching football tournaments at exam time

or, why we need to show exams the red card Oh, Jesus wept. A study shows that in even years - when there's meaningful international football in the summer - boys' exam performances drop. The authors suggest starting the exams earlier so as not to disadvantage football-watchers. Let's leave aside

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