Browsing category ranting

A New Year’s Resolution For You (Only For Genius [sic])

Right, listen up, everyone. I know you've already made your new year's resolutions, and probably broken most of them by now, but I've got one for you to add to your list. It concerns images like this one: Anything with a picture of Einstein on it. Anything that says "only

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Quickfire reviews

As I happened to be in London last week, I took an afternoon to visit the Science Museum and, especially, the Winton Gallery exhibit on Mathematics. Maths! In the Science Museum! What a treat! Or so I hoped. The Winton Gallery: Mathematics There's a bit in Surely You're Joking, Mr

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Should you need a maths degree to teach maths?

A good friend, a brilliant maths teacher, was recently dissed on Twitter. And if there’s one thing I don’t stand for, it’s good friends and brilliant maths teachers being dissed on Twitter. There was an implication — perhaps inadvertent; I know I’ve fired off short messages too quickly and implied

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Why I can’t get excited about the new largest known prime

A week or two back, it was announced that computers had verified that $2^{74,207,281}-1$ was a 22-and-a-bit million digit prime number. Cue headlines on the BBC and silliness on Twitter and slight derailment of maths lessons across the country. But me? It leaves me cold, and here's why: because of

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Is applied maths less satisfying than pure?

A question, some time ago, from my favourite Egyptologist on Twitter: Is applied maths less satisfying than pure? @ColinTheMathmo @icecolbeveridge #mathcult — Liz Hind (@drbhind) April 14, 2014 There's a very simple answer to this question: it doesn't just depend on who you're asking, it may also depend on what

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Common sense v Mathematical accuracy

A few months ago, @reflectivemaths (Dave Gale in real life) tweeted the following: What do you think #mathschat? Should this student get a mark for part b? pic.twitter.com/v93sNYZjE6 — Dave Gale (@reflectivemaths) May 24, 2015 An excellent question, much as it pains me to give Dave credit for anything. My

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Sport, maths, twitter and hulk-smashing (a rant)

My dear readers, it is not often I become angry. Rage is not an emotion that frequently troubles Flying Colours Towers. A sharp word for a student who is trying to wind me up, perhaps once in a while, but rarely a rant. As the man says, you wouldn't like

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Leave poor Hannah alone!

Gosh, who would have thought it? 15,000 students (at the time of writing) have signed a petition to get EdExcel to change the grade boundaries for Thursday's non-calculator GCSE paper. Good luck with that. The boundaries will have been set using magic statistics, and either have been or will be

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Attack of the Mathematical Zombies: Five excuses that need a bullet to the head

"Where are they all coming from?" said the first, cocking the shotgun. "I don't know," said the second, "but I hope you're a good shot." "We haven't covered this yet." The first zombie lumbered into view, only instead of mindlessly saying "brains!", it mindlessly said "We haven't covered this yet."

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The Egoless Mathematician

I stumbled, recently, on a blog post about "Egoless programming", a feature of a book called The Psychology of Computer Programming. The points struck me as good general advice -- but also good advice for mathematicians at any level, so I thought I'd rework them here. I've made minor adjustments

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