The Flying Colours Maths Blog: Latest posts

Wrong, But Useful: Episode 71

In the 71st episode of Wrong, But Useful, we’re joined by @nookiedv, who is Anouk de Vos in real life. We discuss: Number of the podcast: 1729, a fairly uninteresting number. Sums of cubes updates: 33 42 3 is also interesting as there are two solutions but it’s unknown if

Read More

Ask Uncle Colin: Multiple solutions

Dear Uncle Colin, I just solved $2\cos^2(4x)=1$ between 0 and $2\pi$ and found four solutions: $\frac{1}{16}\pi$, $\frac{3}{16}\pi$, $\frac{5}{16}\pi$ and $\frac{7}{16}\pi$. The answer scheme says there are sixteen solutions! Where have I gone wrong? Have You Perhaps A Trig Identity Answer? Hi, HYPATIA, and thanks for your message! Looking at your

Read More

A double tangent

A puzzle via @CmonMattTHINK (Matt Enlow): There is a line that is tangent to the curve y = x^4 - x^3 at two distinct points. What is its equation? (Can you find it without calculus?) #iteachmath #math #maths #mathchat #mathschat — Matt Enlow (@CmonMattTHINK) December 21, 2018 (I think we

Read More

Ask Uncle Colin: A Pair Of Birds

Dear Uncle Colin, I have a little problem. You see, there’s this bird, A, in its nest at time $t=0$ - the nest is at $(20, -17)$ - and it travels with a velocity of $-6\bi + 7\bj$ (in the appropriate units). But there’s another bird, B, whose nest is

Read More


My cunning plan, back last August, was sadly foiled: @christianp refused to rise to the bait. I'd written a post about finding the smallest number such that moving its final digit to the front of the number doubles its value. It turned out, to my surprise, to be 17 digits

Read More

Ask Uncle Colin: Meeting Graphs

Dear Uncle Colin, I’m told that the graphs of the functions $f(x) = x^3 + (a+b)x^2 + 3x -4$ and $g(x) = (x-3)^3 + 1$ touch - and I need to express $a$ in terms of $b$. Can you help? - Can’t Understand Basic Introductory Calculus Hi, CUBIC, and thanks

Read More

Dictionary of Mathematical Eponymy: Ivory’s Theorem

I… I… I… *Looks up Ito’s Lemma* *Reaches for bargepole, then doesn’t touch it.* I… I… I… Oh! It says here, there’s a thing called Ivory’s Theorem1! What is Ivory’s Theorem? Despite the main paper I could find about it calling it “the famous Ivory’s Theorem”, it was fairly tricky

Read More

Ask Uncle Colin: An Area To Find

Dear Uncle Colin, I need to find the area between the curves $y=16x$, $y= \frac{4}{x}$ and $y=\frac{1}{4}x$, as shown. How would you go about that? Awkward Regions, Exhibit A Hi, AREA, and thanks for your message! As usual, there are several possible approaches here, but I’m going to write up

Read More

The Mathematical Ninja and the Unknown Powers

The Mathematical Ninja peered at the problem sheet:   Given that $(1+ax)^n = 1 - 12x + 63x^2 + \dots$, find the values of a and n   Barked: “$n=-8$ and $a=\frac{3}{2}$.” The student sighed. “I get no marks if I just write down the answer.” Snarled: “You get no

Read More

Ask Uncle Colin: A Missing Digit

Dear Uncle Colin, A seven-digit integer has 870,720 as its last six digits. It is the product of six consecutive even integers. What is the missing first digit? Please Reveal Our Digit! Underlying Calculation Too Hi, PRODUCT, and thanks for your message! There are several approaches to this (as usual)

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