The Flying Colours Maths Blog: Latest posts

A Harmonic Conundrum

This one came from user_1312 on reddit with a heading “This is a bit tricky… Enjoy!”. What else can we do but solve it? Let $m$ and $n$ be positive numbers such that $\frac{m}{n} = 1 + \frac{1}{2} + \frac{1}{3} + \dots + \frac{1}{101}$. Prove that $m-n$ is a multiple

Read More

Wrong, But Useful, Episode 73

In this month's episode of Wrong, But Useful, we talk to @AJMagicMessage, who is Andrew Jeffrey in real life, and one of the driving forces behind Maths Week England, which in 2019 is November 11th to 15th. Apologies for a few issues with feedback in this episode. Dave takes full

Read More

Ask Uncle Colin: How many draws?

Dear Uncle Colin, I’m trying to figure out how many possible draws there are for the Champions’ League quarter-finals. There are eight teams involved, and let’s assume first leg home advantage doesn’t matter (so A vs B is the same as B vs A) and there’s no restriction on which

Read More

Dictionary of Mathematical Eponymy: The Kovalevskaya Top

When I was about eight, my parents bought, as a Christmas gift for my brother and me, a “Jungle Gym”, plastic tubes and connectors that fit together to make whatever the imagination came up with, a sort of large-scale Meccano. My brother went out into the garden to build castles

Read More

Ask Uncle Colin: Missing Planes

Dear Uncle Colin, I’m told that 70% of the aircraft that go missing in a certain country are subsequently rediscovered. Of those that are recovered, 60% have an emergency locator, and 90% of those that aren’t recovered, don’t have a locator. Supposing an aircraft has disappeared, what’s the probability it

Read More

Summing Products

Some days your mind wanders into an interesting puzzle: not necessarily because it’s a difficult puzzle, but because it has familiar result. Then the puzzle becomes, how are the two things linked? For example, I had cause to add up all of the numbers in the times tables - let’s

Read More

Wrong, But Useful: Episode 72

In this month's podcast, we're joined by @CoreMathsCat, who is Catherine van Sarloos in real life. We discuss: Number of the Podcast: 179 (balloons) Maths Week England is mid-November (11-16th). Catherine is involved in running a contest for it! Via Peter Rowlett: Women’s names Via Adam Atkinson: rounding up or

Read More

Ask Uncle Colin: A Curve

Dear Uncle Colin, I’m given that a curve has equation $y = ax^3 + bx^2 + cx + 1$. It has a turning point at $\left( -1, \frac{11}{3} \right)$ and an inflexion point when $x=2$. How do I find the missing constants? - I’m Not Feeling Like Evaluating Constants, Thanks

Read More


“Do the hotplates heat the food through properly?” “Oh yes, they come out of the oven at 200 degrees and the temperature drops by a degree every minute.” To @dragondodo’s credit, she did not launch into a lecture on Newton cooling. But she did grumble about it to me -

Read More

Ask Uncle Colin: A Partition Enigma

Dear Uncle Colin, In reading Sir Dermot Turing’s XY&Z, he states that the number of species of cycle is 101 - and after a bit of thought, I figured out that that’s the number of partitions of the number 13. However, I couldn’t work out how to get 101! Can

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