November, 2014

A baseball with your name on it

At the 1939 World’s Fair, San Francisco Seals catcher Joe Sprinz tried to catch a baseball dropped from the Goodyear blimp 1,200 feet overhead. Sprinz knew baseball but he hadn’t studied physics — he lost five teeth and spent three months in the hospital with a fractured jaw. - from

Read More

Proving a nice pattern

Over on reddit, noncognitivism posted a nice sequence s/he had come across: $4 + 1 = 5 = \sqrt{ (1)(2)(3)(4) + 1 }$ $(4+6) + 1 = 11 = \sqrt{ (2)(3)(4)(5) + 1}$ $(4+6+8) + 1 = 19 = \sqrt{ (3)(4)(5)(6) + 1}$ $…$ $(4+6+ … + (2k+2)) + 1

Read More

The Mathematical Ninja takes on the Wall Game

For the first time anyone could remember, the Mathematical Ninja trembled with fear. He’d pulled his scary face, and it hadn’t worked: Victoria Coren Mitchell had simply said “you don’t scare me” and he had no idea what to do next. “It’s time for the wall game,” she said. “Right,”

Read More

How big a lead can a football team have?

A reader asks: What’s the biggest lead a football team can have in the table after $n$ games? In a typical football league, teams get three points for a win, one for a draw, and none for getting beat. After, for example, one game, if one team wins and all

Read More

Radians (and why they are better than degrees)

The brilliant @dragon_dodo has written a cartoon to explain - as if explanation were needed - of why radians are the correct way to measure angles.

Read More

HOW much rice?

There's a legend, so well-known that it's almost a cliche, about the wise man who invented chess. When asked by the great king what reward he wanted, he replied that he'd be satisfied by a chessboard full of rice: one grain on the first square, two on the second, four

Read More

Wrong, But Useful: Episode 20

Recorded LIVE at Big MathsJam Apologies for the variable sound quality in this episode; the problems of recording live. The Wrong, But Useful tag team are joined by @peterrowlett (Peter Rowlett) Colin concedes that Dave's talk was quite clever Dave mentions the 1, 3, 2, 6 sequence (a talk by

Read More

That pesky constant

A student asks: I've got to work out: $\int \cosec^2(x) \cot(x) \d x$. I did it letting $u = \cosec(x)$ and got an answer -- but when I did it with $u = \cot(x)$, I got something else. What gives? Ah! A substitution question! My favourite -- and it sounds

Read More

Why does $x^3 e^{-x}$ go to zero as $x$ goes to infinity?

A student asks: I know that $x^3 e^{-x}$ approaches zero as $x$ approaches infinity - I can see it from the graph - but I don't really understand why? Can you help? Of course I can! However, it's going to take us into the murky depths of analysis, and we'll

Read More

Sign up for the Sum Comfort newsletter and get a free e-book of mathematical quotations.

No spam ever, obviously.

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.

On twitter