MathsJam 2023 - Weekend of November 11th/12th

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Raw talk data for 2018


SESSION 1a : 14:10

Speaker : Phil Harvey Title : Initialistic Determinism Abstract : How you can improve your chance of success in life. Comment : Please could I ask to give my talk during the first session on Saturday.

Speaker : Alison Kiddle Title : Pastamathics Abstract : Spaghetti on toast is everybody's favourite quick and easy tea, but have you ever stopped to analyse the maths on your plate? Comment : Slight preference for Saturday if possible

Speaker : Mick de Pomerai Title : Mass of a Black Hole Abstract : Short history of ideas on orbits & gravity to introduce maths needed to calculate the mass of Sagittarius A* from Keck telescope data (animation) - available on internet. Essentially potted math history with added arithmetic (data to take away)! Comment : PowerPoint only

Speaker : Hugh Hunt Title : Chain on a Cone Abstract : A thin light chain with a heavy pendant is displayed in a jeweller's shop hanging on a smooth conical stand. What is the cone angle above which the chain will slip off the stand under the weight of the pendant down the slope? Comment : I will do this as a live demo. If there's a visualizer then I'd use it.

Speaker : Claire Cohen Title : How Lucky is the Bonus Ball Abstract : A brief look at the numbers people chose during a "bonus ball" competition, patterns in the numbers chosen and possible reasons for this. Comment : If my talk could be FAIRLY early in the programme (but not right at the beginning) that would be great as it's my first time and I'm super nervous!

Speaker : Laurence O'Toole Title : Guessing With Lies - A Magic Trick Abstract : A twist on an old Christmas cracker trick. With lying. For science! Comment : No restrictions, per se. But I would prefer to present on the first day, and earlier on the first day, if possible, please. This is partly because I won't have time to explain any specifics for how the trick works in the 5-minute slot, and I want to give people time to ask me for details afterwards, and partly because I'll be too nervous worrying about my talk to enjoy anybody else's.

Speaker : Adam Townsend Title : The coin distribution problem revisited Abstract : Why do self-checkout machines give the worst change? Are they better in other countries? Using real price data from the ONS, we ask: would getting rid of the penny fix this problem, or is there a better, more ridiculous solution? (Yes)

Speaker : Martin Harris Title : Pleasing Pictorial Proofs and Ptolemy's Ptheorem Abstract : A short discussion on the usefulness of pictorial proofs, and a new one for Ptolemy's Theorem of Cyclic Quadrilaterals. Comment : Would prefer to be on the first day, as the subject relates to a song I have submitted for the MathsJam Jam.

SESSION 1b : 15:25

Speaker : Samuel Hansen Title : The long tail of mathematical citations Abstract : In this talk I will explore how age and citation counts are related in highly cited mathematical papers with a specific focus on mathematical researches unique aging characteristics.

Speaker : Gavan Fantom Title : Doing trigonometry in your head while trying to land a plane Abstract : There's a lot of maths involved in flying a plane. Fortunately most of it can be done on the ground, but there are some calculations that pilots do while in the air. Imagine you're on final approach, less than a minute from the runway. Can you use trigonometry to decide if it's safe to land?

Speaker : Rob Low Title : A minus times a minus is a pain Abstract : We all learn quite young that a minus times a minus is a plus, and the reason given by the teacher is all too often some variation on "Because I (the book) say(s) so". Why should we believe it?

Speaker : Eleanor Doman Title : A needling problem from embroidery Abstract : Blackwork is a type of embroidery that traditionally that is supposed to look the same on the front and back of the material and is usually based off geometric patterns. But what kind of patterns can we use, and can we prove mathematically that they will look the same on both sides. Comment : No requirements.

Speaker : Kevin Houston Title : Where was that taken? Abstract : Can we use mathematics to determine where the photographer stood to take a photograph?

Speaker : Mike Frost Title : Piet Hein - Pirate Abstract : My day job in control engineering takes me to steel mills around the world. When I visited a mill in the Netherlands I was intrigued to find that the hotel conference suite was named for Piet Hein. Why did a dutch hotel have a room named for a danish mathematician much revered by recreational mathematicians? The answer was not what I expected. Comment : It's a PPT presentation, hopefully with really cheap pirate props. So no restrictions.

Speaker : Peter Rowlett Title : Counting caterpillars Abstract : We bought a new toy for our three-year-old, a robot caterpillar. On its packaging, this promised its pieces could be arranged into “endless combinations”. Of course, I had to investigate a more sensible number! And it proved to be not a completely straightforward combinatorics problem.

Speaker : Tung Ken Lam Title : Action Modular Origami Abstract : This talk explains what action modular origami is and how it intrigues and delights. What are its origins and current developments? Briefly, action modular origami involves folding and joining paper together (without cutting or gluing) into sculptures that move or change shape. They can be put in six categories (ignoring things that you throw): sliders; flexagons; rotating rings; magic wallet models; spinners and wheels; 3D shapeshifters. Are they papercraft, practical geometry, kinetic sculpture, a source of mathematical learning or fun moving toys? Comment : I'd like attendees to be able to play with the action modular origami so it might be useful to be scheduled before a break. That way I can collect the models from attendees after the talk.

SESSION 1c 16:30

Speaker : Ben Sparks Title : Cat and Mouse ... Abstract : A puzzle for you ... will include GeoGebra (of course)... Comment : Will use own laptop, so could do with being at start or end of session

Speaker : Rachel Wright Title : An Unexpected Parallel Abstract : Pierre de Fermat was not the only person to make an off-hand comment that gave subsequent generations a thundering headache... Comment : Prefer Saturday.

Speaker : Derek Couzens Title : Using maths to solve a socially embarrassing situation Abstract : How mathematics helped me overcome a very embarrassing problem at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Comment : Nothing special not already provided.

Speaker : Alex Burlton Title : 180 ways not to model a darts player Abstract : What happens when you are mediocre at darts and have too much time on your hands? I discuss my attempts to generate an equally crummy opponent - with some surprising results.

Speaker : Christian Lawson-Perfect Title : Zeckendorf cup arithmetic Abstract : Having a baby hasn't been a complete distraction from maths. Comment : Going to play with some stacking cups.

Speaker : Steve Plummer Title : 42 Abstract : Not quite life, the universe and everything.

Speaker : Barney Maunder-Taylor Title : Collapsible polyhedra Abstract : A demonstration of various homemade polyhedra (all the Platonic solids and some of the Archimedeans) that fold flat. Comment : Set-up time is zero. But by the end of the talk I'm hoping to have approximately 12 pop-up 3D shapes on display, all roughly football sized. I can either pack them away (40 seconds approx) or would it be easier to schedule this talk at the end of a mini-session so delegates can come up and have a quick go? I'm attending both days. If this is a pain, do tell me and I'll incorporate packing them away into my 5 minutes!!

SESSION 1d : 17:40

Speaker : Louise Mabbs Title : Jacob's Ladders - fabric and paper experiments Abstract : In 2006 I developed a fabric version of the traditional Jacob's Ladder 2-strip fold for my fabric origami book. I realised there were lots of benefits of making it in fabric rather than paper, due to the stretch and distortion opportunities, but I wasn't entirely happy with the finished result. I returned to it this year for a poster presentation at 7OSME, finding a better solution to my fabric problem and also experimented with folding up to 8 strips together in different formats. The resulting techniques cover origami, braiding, weaving and several other skills and some fascinating structures. Comment : Will bring my Apple laptop and connecting lead incase needed. If you have a microphone I'm told my voice is quiet!

Speaker : Tom Reddington Title : Banach-Tarski: just make peace with it Abstract : I've had many arguments and several pub fights due to people's reluctance to accept the Banach-Tarski paradox. Here are the facts. Embrace them.

Speaker : Alison Eves Title : Magic magic squares Abstract : A quick introduction to magic squares, some interesting facts, and some links to magic squares in art and history.

Speaker : Sydney Weaver Title : The Sound of Silence Abstract : An exercise in the 4 memory types demonstrated by the Rubik's Cube and a parody of a well known song

Speaker : Alaric Stephen Title : Generating Hard Puzzles Using Graph Theory Abstract : I will highlight a method for making word based puzzles to an arbitrary amount of difficulty using a quirk of Hamiltonian graphs. Comment : I'll just be using a PowerPoint.

Speaker : Colin Wright Title : e's in a twist Abstract : Square roots, simple algebra, a step in an odd direction, and maybe we can find interesting connections.

Speaker : Elevator Pitches Title : For Saturday night tables Abstract : We'll allow anyone running a table of activities on the Saturday evening a chance to explain what their activity will be, so you can choose how to spend the evening.


SESSION 2a : 09:00

Speaker : Katie Steckles Title : The Unwanted Solid Abstract : You may have heard of Archimedean solids - a category of thirteen 3D shapes with particular properties. But did you know that there's actually a fourteenth Archimedean solid? I will argue the case for allowing the Pseudorhombicuboctahedron to join the club. Comment : Probably slides, and a webcam bit + will use my own laptop to make switching easier if that helps.

Speaker : Martin Chlond Title : The Travelling Salesman Problem: A couple of whimsical applications Abstract : A couple of quirky uses of TSP algorithms Comment : Powerpoint required

Speaker : Jonathan Welton Title : Platonic Moboids Abstract : Using paper, scissors and glue, platonic moboids knot together two familiar mathematical concepts, and produce a third. Comment : For a preview of what this is about see:!As8wPyHllbdCiAZmVf0IeX7Ei3B9 An assistant to do some cutting might be fun (but not essential).

Speaker : Callum Mulligan Title : Ray casting and Rabbits Abstract : Ray Casting is used in a multitude of ways to solve intersection tests. One of my students did something brilliant and used it in an alternative way. This got me thinking, So in this talk we will look at some fun uses for Ray Casting [Including how it can be used to spawn Rabbits in a videogames!] and the mathematics behind it.

Speaker : Tim Chadwick Title : Something about Shells Abstract : Something about shells. My 2nd favourite part of Robert McNeill Alexander's book, Animals, is about the formation of shells. Biomechanics stuff. So I thought I'd share some of it.

Speaker : Tarim Title : Snake Bridges Abstract : How canal engineers used topology before the term was even coined Comment : Easy setup - only a couple of pictures - anytime you like

SESSION 2b : 10:05

Speaker : Adam Atkinson Title : Conspiracy of Silence Abstract : Many textbooks and courses say nothing about a certain topic. Sometimes there are almost amusingly dark hints along the lines of "There is another possibility. But we shall speak no further of it." This description is hinting darkly but the talk itself will break the conspiracy wide open. Comment : I will want to show two short (30s) videos as part of my talk. I have them as .mp4 files which should be playable with smplayer or vlc or whatever. May need to verify that default presentation laptop has suitable software on it or can use mine if absolutely necessary but appreciate helps fast changeover if I don't.

Speaker : Will Kirkby Title : Digital Art and Distance Functions Abstract : A brief exploration of signed distance functions and their use in real-time computer graphics. Comment : Most likely would be presenting from a Mac laptop - I'm able to provide all necessary hardware and cables.

Speaker : Jo Morgan Title : Changing Contexts Abstract : A quick look at how the contexts used in school mathematics questions have changed over the years

Speaker : Pedro Freitas Title : Ubiquitous Permutations Abstract : Last year I presented a card trick which relied on a certain way of mixing cards. On the train to the MathsJam gathering, I learned more about the permutations that made the trick work.

Speaker : Alistair Bird Title : The four-and-a-half colour theorem Abstract : Spoiler: The truth of the famous 4-colour theorem immediately implies that the 4˝-colour theorem is also true. But how can you have half a colour? And why bother investigating a theorem when we already know the answer?

Speaker : Michael Gibson Title : A New Trick for Old Dogs Abstract : The "well known" Five-Card-Trick involves a volunteer choosing 5 cards and giving them to Magician A who looks at them and arranges them with 4 cards showing and one hidden. Based on this Magician B can then say what the hidden card is. I will describe and perform a new version of this trick in which only 1 card is showing and Magician B has to say what all 4 of the hidden cards are. Comment : It would be better (but not essential) if this could be done on the Sunday so that myself and my glamorous assistants can have a bit of time to practice the trick on the Saturday! ALSO: Michael is happy to compere and could do this during the session he's compereing.

SESSION 2c : 11:00

Speaker : Matthew Scroggs Title : Mathsteroids Abstract : I will talk different ways to represent a sphere as a flat surface using Mathsteroids (, an asteroids-style game in which you can play on a sphere with different representations. Comment : I'll need to run off my own laptop (for animations to work), so being before/after a break would reduce the number of laptop swaps.

Speaker : Stefania Delprete Title : MathsJam in Python Abstract : How our group solved one or two MathsJam challenges using Python, after trying and trying. We wanted to resist using our laptops but... "resistance is futile".

Speaker : Stuart Eves Title : Do the planets fit between the Earth and the Moon? Abstract : Is there room between the Earth and the Moon to fit all the planets in the solar system? Possible answers are "yes", "no", or "sometimes". Find out which answer is correct... Comment : Only able to present on Sunday

Speaker : Francisco Albuquerque Picado Title : A Comic, a Painting, Triangles, and Squares Abstract : A comic leads to a painting, which allows us to discover a connection between triangular numbers and sums of squares. Comment : I'll only need a computer and a projector to show a presentation.

Speaker : Pat Ashforth Title : Extending Tables Abstract : Looking at patterns in tables

Speaker : Tiago Hirth Title : From Pebbles do Nimbers and Stars Abstract : Quick run through 500 years of history related to the game of Nim and invitation to participate in Recreational Mathsmatics projects.

SESSION 2d : 11:50

Speaker : Colin Beveridge Title : A proof without words Abstract : 1^2 + 2^2 + 3^2 + ... + n^2 = n(n+1)(2n+1)/6. But who can remember that? Comment : This should be very short - it's more of a mime with slides than a talk.

Speaker : Robie Basak Title : Measuring sticks Abstract : Using measuring sticks to perform arithmetic Comment : I intend to use the "visualiser" ie. the live camera view thing.

Speaker : Andrew Macdonald Title : So, about Ghandi Abstract : Addition, subtraction and negative numbers in binary computing

Speaker : Sam Hartburn Title : Battle of the slinkies: paper vs plastic Abstract : Can an origami slinky outperform a cheap plastic one? Probably not, but I'll give it a try anyway.

Speaker : Announcements Title : Competition results Abstract : The results of the MathsJam Bakeoff, and the Competition Competition, and each of the individual competitions within the Competition Competition, will be announced.


Speaker : Daniel Griller Title : William And His Words Abstract : A selection of puzzles, some of my own invention, others gems from around the world.

Speaker : Alexander Bolton Title : Factor Graphs and Unsupervised Joke Generation Abstract : I will introduce the concept of factor graphs and describe an application of them to joke generation.

Speaker : Nicholas Jackson Title : Political catastrophe theory Abstract : Catastrophe theory, a branch of bifurcation theory in dynamical systems, is concerned with the study of discontinuous behaviour in continuous systems. In the late 1960s, while Head of Mathematics at the University of Warwick, Christopher Zeeman used a novel application of catastrophe theory in the debate over whether the Students' Union should have their own building.

Speaker : David Bedford Title : I have problems... Abstract : I will share some problems which are accessible and fun to play with - perfect for those periods between MathsJam talks. Comment : If accepted I will present 3 problems which anyone can play with - for example, which numbers can be written as a sum of consecutive integers (I may not use that one). If chosen it would work better being early in the programme as I hope some people would play with them during the conference. If you need to turn talks down I won't be offended.

Speaker : Geoff Morley Title : Neosemimagic Rectangles Abstract : A generalisation which includes both semimagic squares and perfect squared squares brings new challenges. Comment : Alison Eves's talk is 'a quick introduction to magic squares'. I'll also mention magic squares but there'll be no duplication of content that warrants either talk to be withdrawn or changed. It might be prudent to schedule Alison's talk before mine but this is not essential as my talk won't assume prior knowledge of magic squares.

Speaker : Andrew Taylor Title : A Mathematical Gem Abstract : How many ways are there of expressing a positive integer n as a sum of two integral squares? Not in general, not for some specific value of n — just, on average? The answer came out of nowhere and surprised me, and then the proof did exactly the same thing.

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