# Maths Jam 2017 talks summaries

Here is a brief summary of individual talks from the Maths Jam annual conference. Thanks to Rob Lowe for writing the bulk of this and allowing me to share it.

There is a write up on its way from Maths Jam themselves and also this one from Chalkdust.

Colin Beveridge and I discuss it and have various guests comment on Wrong but Useful episode 50.

*Saturday* – Session 1a: 14:00 – 14:47

· *Colin Wright, Matt Parker and Katie Steckles: Welcome to the MathsJam Gathering*

Pretty much “what it says on the tin”

· *Tom Button: All about the base (no trebles)*

Using base 10 to prove a neat result about primes. (OK, that’s 10 in duodecimal.) Introduced the concepts of Threven for numbers in the three times tables.

· *Matt Peperell: Logical deduction games*

Introducing games where the aim of the game is to work out the rules. Sounds like a lot of fun and something I’ll be looking into more!

· A*lison Kiddle: Alison talks crap*

Alison presents and interprets the results of a fundamental poll: in fact, many fundaments were involved. Correlating number of sheets of toilet paper used with the Bristol stool scale. Used a linear correlation and log one too.

· *TD Dang: The maths in Mean Girls*

When is a limit not a limit? There’s no end to the possibilities. Looked at the mathlete’s activities in the film.

·* Noel-Ann Bradshaw: Digesting the indigestible*

On the importance of presenting data well and informatively. Wondering about the best way of presenting information about students to busy teachers.

**Session 1b: 15:10 – 15:57**

·* Zoe Griffiths: A discourse on e*

A heartfelt narration of the relationship between e and their x. You can listen to this on episode 50 of Wrong, but Useful.

· *Phil Chaffe: Maths Jammin’ – Writing a song for the Maths Jam Jam*

Hints and tips on how to write a song for maths jam. Essentially, a whole lot can be forgiven if there’s a really good line!

*· Matthew Scroggs: Big Ben Strikes Again*

How can you hear Big Ben strike 13? Why does Scroggs like Captain Scarlet so much?

· *Andrew Russell: Diabolo as a picture*

The title was an outright lie. Instead, he explained why balloon animals were semi-Eulerian graphs, and provided a counter-example. This was a talk that appealed to my inner clown.

· *Angela Brett: Mathematical poetry*

In which were reminded that it isn’t just giants whose shoulders we stand on. Available on Etsy here.

· *Adam Townsend: Stop! (or, using maths to pass your driving test)*

Where did those weird stopping distances come from? Are they even correct? (no) What should they be?

· *Elizabeth and Zeke: rat with an e*

What is 3^(1/ln 3)? More to the point, why?

**Session 1c: 16:20 – 17:07**

· *Rob Eastaway: Thinking Outside the Outside of the Box*

On drawing lines through all the dots in a grid: how far can you go? The classic puzzle of 9 dots in a 3-by-3 array. Can you join them with 4 straight lines? What about if it’s a 4-by-4 array with 6 lines? How far ‘outside the box’ can you go?

· *Rachel Wright: In A Spin*

Between sheep’s back and your back, the wool undergoes various transformations. Some of it’s a bit confusing.

· *Alex Burlton: Bags of Palindromes*

What are the chances of getting palindromes out of bags of numbers?

*· Alexander Bolton: Winning the Chalkdust Coin Game*

Why it’s a good idea not to have too similar a name to any of your peers, and why it’s a good idea to take a risk if you think you’re going to lose.

· *Vincent Van Pelt: Thank you, Mrs Holcombe*

Homophones. And, by a happy accident, an introduction to mediaeval French poetry.

**Session 1d: 17:30 – 18:17**

· *Dan Hagon: Double Negation and the Excluded Middle*

Some people aren’t happy with ¬¬P=P. Dan gives a constructive explanation of how logic works – or ought to.

· *Ben Pace: Building Successful Intellectual Communities*

Working towards a way of ranking web pages by reliability, using the Page rank algorithm (named after Larry Page and not because it ranks pages) and karma.

· *Alison Clarke: Stupid Units*

Pressure in mmHg? Volume in Acrefeet? Temperature in Fahrenheit? What were they thinking?

·* Belgin Seymenoglu: Donald in Mathmagic Land*

Half a century ago, Donad Duck starred in a cartoon introducing some mathsy fun.

· *Douglas Buchanan: Lowering the Tone*

Puzzles. I nearly fell of my perch at the resolution of the parrot puzzle. Possible the worst pun of the weekend, and there was no lack of competition.

· *David Mitchell: The Thereom of Trythagoras (Pythagoras is for Squares)*

Extending Pythagorean triples in triangular ways.

·* Dave Gale: Catchphrase and Coffee*

What do the ‘strength’ indicators on ground coffee mean? Why do some go from 3 to 7?Also, an (as yet) unsuccessful attempt to get the host of Catchphrase to stop calling rectangles “squares”.

*Sunday* – Session 2a: 08:50 – 09:37

·* Joel Haddley: Angle Trisection*

What are the rules? What counts as a trisection?

*· Katie Steckles: Sheeran Numbers*

What numbers can you make using (all) the operators used as titles of Ed Sheeran albums, and numbers used as titles of albums released during Ed Sheeran’s lifetime.

*· Ken McKelvie: A little ado about ‘nothing’*

Looking at where zeros occur in decimal expansions of certain numbers.

*· Tony Mann: The mathematics of competition*

Where on the beach should you put your ice cream van to maximize profit?

*· Will Kirkby: Life Beyond Binary*

Generalizing cellular automata, and some very pretty pictures.

·* Peter Rowlett: Fermi problems*

The kinds of estimating you have to do (in ‘real’ life), and the Approximate Geometric Mean as a useful tool crying out for a better understanding.

·* Kathryn Taylor: Adventures in modular origami*

How to make wonderful models, and why not to take them on the train.

**Session 2b: 10:00 – 10:47**

*· Marcin Konowalczyk: Unrolling the rolling shutter*

Trying to train a neural net to recover the original image. The dangers involved in choosing the training data.

*· Miles Gould: How Mountaineering is like Mathematics*

In every possible respect, it turns out. You can watch a video of the talk here.

·* Samuel Ball: Fake It Till You Make It*

Markov processes for constructing tweets. Also, helping people learn to code.

*· Wendy Foad: Context vs content*

Transferable skills?

· *Nicholas Korpelainen: A production line may need an arbitrarily large number of machines*

Satisfying constraints is sometimes hard.

·* Robert Woolley: Making board games fit – Numbers & Space*

How to fit several board games into one box. Clever use of the space available on playing cards.

**Session 2c: 11:15 – 11:48**

· *Glen Whitney: The Hole Truth*

Holes in a handlebody, Euler characteristic, and why a topologist is somebody who can’t tell a steering wheel from a T-shirt.

· *Sue de Pomerai: The life and times of Ada Lovelace*

The briefest of introductions: and a class in delivering a one hour talk in four minutes. Sue will hopefully be appearing in Wrong, but Useful episode 51.

· *Pedro Freitas: A programmed deck*

Programming a deck of cards to solve simultaneous equations.

· *Matthew and John Bibby: Boring log and geometrical tables*

A father and son team show us where woodwork and seaside rock meet mathematics.

· *Geoff Morley: Irrational Bases*

Looking at some of the richness of the behaviour when an irrational number is used as a base instead of an integer.

· *Adam Atkinson: Mathematics and Art: A Real-World Problem*

On the challenges facing a sculptor who wants to put a statue on top of the nearby mountain for residents of Catania to enjoy.

**Session 2d: 12:06 – 12:39**

*· Elaine Smith & Lynda Goldenberg: Multiplication: Magic or Madness*

Multiplication methods, and the ‘new’ grid method is several centuries older than the ‘traditional’ column method. Also Napier’s bones.

*· Robert W. Vallin: Maverick Solitaire and Three-Card Poker*

Probability inspired by an episode of Maverick.

*· Robert Low: Why knot?*

What do you mean, I can’t tie a knot in a piece of string without letting go of the ends? You’re not the boss of me!

·* Philipp Reinhard: From a tweet to Langnaus 4th problem in < 5min*

How to get from a relatively innocuous looking puzzle to some really deep stuff in a few steps.

*· Oliver Masters: The Fibonacci Matrix*

Coding the Fibonacci sequence in powers of a matrix, and some surprises arising.

**Whew – that’s all there was. Just a mere 49 talks!**

Thanks again to Rob for the comments. I’ll expand on some of the talks in future posts.