Mathematics Talk

   
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In addition to the Juggling Talk, Colin also gives various talks on mathematics, covering topics such as geometry, Graph Theory, Infinity, Optimsation, codes and ciphers, and others. On this page I am gathering information about each talk - title and abstract.

If you would be interested in such a talk then please fill in the Talk Request Form and put a message saying what interests you, or simply send us email.

We'd be delighted to hear from you!

Scroll down to see
more about the talks
on offer ...

http://www.solipsys.co.uk/images/GeneralMaths2.jpg


Calculating the Distance To The Moon

(with Pythagoras, a
stopwatch, and pendulum)

When the astronauts went to the Moon they left behind a reflector so we can measure the distance with incredible accuracy. In this talk we use simple ideas, simple maths, and a whole lot of clever thinking to measure how far away the Moon is from a closed room, using nothing but a stopwatch, a pendulum, and a lot of clever thinking.


Maritime Maths

In the 18th Century the race was on to find a way of knowing for sure exactly where you were at sea. The winner would gain control of the oceans, and save countless thousands of lives. In this talk we see how simple maths, elegantly applied worked to solve the greatest puzzle of the time, and how the same techniques are still used today.


Bigger than Infinity

We're used to thinking of "Infinity" as meaning "As big as you can get". In this talk we find that when we think carefully about "going on forever" we discover that there are different types of infinity, and, even more puzzling, and defying all expectation, different sizes of infinity. Prepare to have your mind blown.


Patterns Fail

This talk starts with some seductively obvious patterns that seem successfully to predict the future, but then goes on to show that not all patterns are trustworthy.

It's all too common to try a few examples, find a pattern, try a few more examples, see that the pattern continues, and then leap to the conclusion that the pattern continues forever.

Beware!

This talk gives some examples of patterns that look solid, but which fail, often spectacularly. It goes on to explore the notion of proof in mathematics, and why there are times when we need to be certain.

 

Maths In A Twist

Many students are introduced to the idea of the Moebius Strip, that wonderfully perplexing strip with a half twist that has only one side and one edge, and which when cut in half doesn't do what you might expect.

In this workshop we don't just stop there, but explore what happens with other possible twists and turns, and try to find some way of understanding how this works, what else is possible, and whether we can make sense of it all.


Getting lost in 1000 dimensions

Some people find it hard enough to navigate around in two dimensions, and have trouble thinking about moving around in three. In this talk we look at what dimensions are, how we work in them, and how some problems in the real world can best be thought of as going hill-climbing in 1000 dimensions (whatever that means!)


Juggling: Theory and Practice

Juggling has fascinated people for centuries. Seemingly oblivious to gravity, the skilled practitioner will keep several objects in the air at one time, and weave complex patterns that seem to defy analysis.

In this talk we'll see a selection of the patterns and skills of juggling while at the same time developing a simple method of describing and annotating a class of juggling patterns. By using elementary mathematics these patterns can be classified, leading to a simple way to describe those patterns that are known already, and a technique for discovering new ones.


The Nature of Proof

The one thing that distinguishes mathematics from all of science, art, and the humanities, is the question of "Proof". In this talk we examine what proof is, why it's important, and how we can know something is true for ever, even when we can't check every example for ourselves.


Other talks have included:


Abstracts


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  • Maths, Design, Juggling, Computing,
  • Embroidery, Proof-reading,
  • and other clever stuff.

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