Wrong, But Useful: Episode 57


Owing to a spotty connection, the sound quality is a bit patchy on this one. Apologies.

In this month’s installment, we are joined by Belinda Keir. We discuss:

  • Belinda convenes the Sydney MathsJam and is on the committee for the Celebration of Mind
  • What makes a mathematician?
  • Why Belinda is in a car on a ridge above a scout camp
  • How to get non-mathematicians to engage with maths
  • Tensegrity structures
  • Number of the podcast: 12,288
  • When will I ever use that in real life?
  • Why @robjlow does maths:
  • Colin mentions Cortex Craftworks:

  • Belinda mentions math circles, Julia Robinson Maths Festivals, and Celebration of Mind
  • Dave asks: is sudoku maths?
  • Colin mentions hyperboloid quilts:
  • Art, maths and things growing slowly
  • Dave’s campaign to treat maths as art and not useful
  • Persistence and solo vs. connected mathematics
  • Adam Atkinson found a 24-hour clock in Brescia, Italy. There’s also one at the Piazza San Marco in Venice and one at the Duomo in Florence, which runs counterclockwise and strikes 24 (at the bottom) at sundown/curfew.
  • Adam also points to the Italian Superenalotto, in which you pick 6 balls from 90, giving odds of one in 622 million.
  • Dave asks: what’s a face and what’s a vertex?
  • Puzzle feedback: No gold stars to give out this time; numbers that reverse when you double and subtract one include 1, 37, 397, 3997. (If you’d like to prove that, it’s a nice enough proof.)
  • Puzzle: from Dick Hess via @colinthemathmo. “I have a fish pond. Flat bottom, vertical sides, some water. I have three identical cubes and I want to immerse them to make an underwater platform. First cube goes in, water rises by less than 12 inches. Second cube, water rises by exactly 12 inches. The third, the water again rises by exactly 12 inches. How far under the surface is the platform?”

* Edited 2018-06-13 to correct spelling of superenalotto (thanks to Adam.)


Colin is a Weymouth maths tutor, author of several Maths For Dummies books and A-level maths guides. He started Flying Colours Maths in 2008. He lives with an espresso pot and nothing to prove.


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