Tag Archives: maths

Ghost Peloton

For reasons which I suspect have more to do with wrangling Provinces than anything else, the Tour de France traditionally starts in another country entirely. This year: Yorkshire (which is a country, yes. Obviously).

To kick off the celebrations marking the event, this weekend saw a mad spectacle of an arts performance, Ghost Peloton. 36 illuminated riders choreographed to a backdrop of music and a film featuring more cyclists and dancers. It was glorious. You missed it, sorry.

Continue reading Ghost Peloton

Domino Computer

Stand-up mathematician Matt Parker and a team of volunteers build a functioning calculator out of dominoes, because… er… well, because they worked out how they could.

This has been festering in my pile of ‘unfinished hobby projects’ for longer than I’d care to admit, but just before I gadded off on holiday last month Matt prodded me with a very pointy stick. I’m delighted the film is finally seeing the light of day.

The film follows the domino computer build weekend at Manchester Science Festival with all its up and downs, and while we did try to explain how it works… well, turns out that’s quite tricky with hundreds of people milling around and thousands of dominos ready to fall over at a moment’s notice. So you might also want to check out this Numberphile film in which Matt explains the circuit with a little more care:

The team have also put together some worksheets, and can provide schools’ workshops (and dominoes!): think-maths.co.uk.

Elin also has a great bunch of stills of the weekend over on Flickr. Here’s one now. Note the breaks in the circuit during building, so an accidental fall doesn’t destroy the whole thing. There was a heap of work and expertise involved in building this thing, it really was a remarkable effort.

Set up

Group theory and Rubik’s Cube

We can talk about maths here, right? Well hey, I guess it’s me that makes the rules, so: yes, we can talk about maths here.

You’ll have to crank up the volume, but it’s worth it: Katie Steckles‘ description of group theory and Rubik’s Cubes is as good as any I’ve seen. Better, in fact, in that for the first time in 30 years of cubing I think I understood it this time.

…and believing you understand something is the same as understanding it, yes? Oh no, wait: this site draws the line at philosophy. Drat.