Murderous Maths at Forest

The author of the bestselling Murderous Maths books treated us to an enjoyable trip through some surprising delights in the world of mathematics to a backdrop of impromptu piano playing.

We saw tricks using triflexigons, using probability to win at cards easily, that there are a trillion drops of water in three Olympic size swimming pools and about a quadrillion of ants in the worlds – enough to cover every human being three times over.

Other mind-blowing came in the form of Skewe’s number and Graham’s number which uses arrow notation and is to do with random patterns of points in space eventually and avoidably forming the vertices of a cube (or of a hypercube if we are in 4-dimensions and so on to higher dimensions.

How does a pure mathematician picture 12-dimensional space? The trick is to imagine n-dimensional space and then let n = 12). A nice result took advantage of key dates always falling on the same day in any year (last day in February, 12th December, 9/5, 5/9, 11/7 anf 7/11 among others). The 1089 was revisited and then a nice surprise when we saw 1/1089 and 1/9801 as decimals – this is left to the reader!

Kjartan has been praised for his humorous and engaging techniques while teaching topics such as algebra, geometry and probability. His audience included pupils from the Preparatory School, the Senior School and pupils from four local schools.

Alongside his popular books, he wrote the theme tune for the children’s program SMart and the title theme and music for the first two seasons of Brum.

Each year Forest School hosts an annual mathematics lecture for Forest pupils and pupils from local schools. Last year, Dr Katie Steckles was the guest speaker at the annual lecture.