Wrong, But Useful: Episode 18

An interview special, featuring our favourite Abel Prize nominee, @samuel_hansen!

Sam is the brain behind Relatively Prime - which I consider some of the greatest maths radio journalism ever made1 and respectfully requests your donations towards it. It's the only thing he's ever done respectfully, so pay attention. You can donate here - he needs about £10,000 to make a full series, but he'll be grateful for anything you can spare.

But we start, as we always do, with @icecolbeveridge and an unusually quiet @reflectivemaths exchanging pleasantries.

  • Dave is not entirely happy about going back to school, and Colin is looking forward to some RI masterclasses he's giving in the autumn
  • Dave has a new pop-shield!
  • Interview time!
    • Sam has some exciting news for us: Relatively Prime is coming back, funding-permitting! Back it at http://relprime.com/kickstarter from September 17th
    • He need $15,000, or about £10,000 GBP, to cover his expenses
    • The new Relatively Prime will have (at least) eight themed episodes, including on mathematical metaphors, the maths of cities, and following a paper's citation branch
    • The previous RP also had eight themed episodes, including one on music, one on draughts2
    • Sam cites his main influences as RadioLab, On The Media, 99% Invisible and the rest of Radiotopia, among others.
    • RP is available under a Creative Commons Attribution, Share-Alike license, so you can remix it if you like (as long as you credit Sam and use the same license)
    • There are loads of rewards for donating
    • Sam has a puzzle! (Hint: it might not be a serious puzzle)
    • Did Sam condescend to Tim Gowers?
    • Sam's Road-To-Wembley plan for maths
    • We have a little dig at Dave, for the sake of form, and mention @peterrowlett and @stecks's new podcast
  • Dave volunteers to be on the TMF podcast
  • Dave's post with a triangular prism of advertising on it (Colin says circumference, corrects it to radius, but means diameter. Good work, Beveridge.)
  • Colin leaps to the defence of formula triangles
  • Colin squares 34 and 67
  • Dave talks about following rules
  • Colin gives the answer for last week (an upside down 87) and is annoyed that nobody explained why people say they're bad at maths.
  • Dave's question: how do you get someone to write 5,417,632 without showing them anything or mentioning the numbers?
  • Dave doesn't understand why we have a "What we don't understand" section. Any ideas?


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.

  1. I know, small pond []
  2. checkers, for our American cousins []


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