Thanks for the MathsJam Conference 2016 at Yarnfield Park near Stone, Staffordshire

I’ve only just discovered MathsJam, which may be meeting at a pub near you on the last but one Tuesday of each month, with Tuesday 13th.December 2016 a pre-Christmas exception. Here’s the MathsJam twitter site and a list of cities and other places where MathsJam is probably currently active; my personal centre is Nottingham, meeting at the Crafty Crow, opposite the Castle gateway.

Aberdeen, Antwerp, Auckland, Bangkok, Bath, Baton Rouge, Berlin, Birmingham, Bombay, Brighton, Brisbane, Brunei, Cambridge, Canterbury, Cardiff, Cheltenham, Chicago, Delhi, East Dorset, Edinburgh, Ghent, Guelph, ON, Guildford, Kolkata, Lagos, Leeds, Leuven, Leicester, Lincoln, Lisbon, London, Lund, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich, Nottingham, Oshawa, Oslo, Oxford, Peterborough, Phoenix, Portsmouth, San Antonio, Sheffield, Stockholm, Swansea, Sydney, Tacoma, Winnipeg  and York

Each month, Katie Steckles co-ordinates and issues a MathsJam SHOUT – a page of problems and puzzles to break any ice at your meeting. Here is a recent example and here is another. (Those two links are to dropbox – they did eventually appear for me without attempts to sign in with mis-remembered details and I did manage to print them off as A4 sheets.) The October sheet occupied me happily for an hour or more on a broken-down train to Nottingham for a meeting I consequently never made.

The annual MathsJam Conference at Yarnfield Park, Staffordshire, was  a great treat. More than fifty talks were presented over the two days – each limited to just FIVE MINUTES after which escalating audio penalties are applied, and with just ONE MINUTE set-up time. After a batch of six or seven talks there is a coffee break during which the recent lecturers remain available to talk to. Delegates seat themselves at round tables, many strewn with mathematical games and puzzles, which makes for a very sociable time. Under the windows were arrays of free books, craft exhibits, a T-shirt competition, mathematical cakes competition, activities and puzzles competition,a competition for the best competion breaking the competition rules and arching over all a competition for the best competition. Next year we are threatened with a competition for the best best of competitions competition.

I think I’ve got that right. There was lots of laughter, generated by a very un-nerd-like array of stand-up mathematicians of all ages.  After an excellent serve-yourself and seat yourself dinner there was an evening of activities, a quiz and mathematical musical jam session..

Scalene, scalene, scalene, scaleeeen, of triangles you’re my favourite one.                    Scalene, scalene, scalene, scaleeeen, all your angles have a different tan.        and

Hark the herald angels sing                                                                                                           Trigonometry is King

give you a flavour of that. Summaries and slides of the talks at the 2015 conference are already online and those for 2016 will be posted soon. Here are a few pictures from 2016, including the answers to an anagram (or was it an acronym) competition.

wp_20161112_14_07_41_pro wp_20161112_14_09_10_pro  wp_20161112_23_08_19_prowp_20161112_16_19_18_proThanks to the organisers, presenters, moderators, lift-givers, microphone-fitters and all who made MathsJam 2016 go so far as I know without a serious flaw. Finally, of course, here are my tessellations for the two days of the conference, November 12th. and 13th., Chinese Labyrinth (11,12) and Serpentine Labyrinth (13,11) each constructed via non-standard missing-links graphs in a quest for more intricate and less swastikoid forms. In the second example the illustrated missing links graph is itself swastikoid. Finding such graphs that work is helped by some experience and requires some “tweaking”.


serpentine-1311-mathsjamThe Lattice Labyrinths workbook  is available from the publisher or you-know-who , or from a good independent bookshop or via Google





About davescarthin

After terminating academic and local government careers, long an independent bookseller/publisher at Scarthin Books, Cromford, Derbyshire, UK. An antiquarian bookseller in two senses, I now have more time to be an annuated independent post-doc, developing the long dormant topic of lattice labyrinth tessellations - both a mathematical recreation and a source of compelling practical tiling and textile designs. Presenting a paper and experiencing so many others at Bridges Seoul 2014 Mathart conference was a great treat, as were the spirited MathsJam Annual Conferences in November 2016 and 2017. I'm building up to a more academic journal paper and trying hard to find practical outlets in graphic design and landscape architecture. I submitted 8 ft square tiling designs to the Wirksworth Festival Art and Architecture Trail in 2016 and 2017. I love giving illustrated talks, tailored to the audience. Get in touch to commission or to collaborate.
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