Magazine article Mathematics Teaching

Maths Fest

Magazine article Mathematics Teaching

Maths Fest

Article excerpt

Let me introduce myself, I am Thomas, a seventeen-year-old A level mathematics student, who is particularly interested in number theory and primes. I have appreciated mathematics from an early age and remember first coming across the delight of mathematics puzzles when I was 12. After my A levels, I plan to continue my study of mathematics at university.

Do you think that maths cannot get any more exciting? If so, you are wrong, because Maths Fest was the most stimulating mathematical experience I have ever had. It was, as advertised, a daylong mathematical extravaganza. The event was organised by the brilliant and hilarious YouTube sensation Matt Parker aka the stand-up mathematician and best selling author Rob Eastaway. The day started with an introduction from Matt that was more like a comedy show than a mathematics lecture. The first speaker, Hannah Fry, spoke about hidden connections before Rob explored counterintuitive puzzles, including his own version of the Monty Hall puzzle.

The day offered us lots of problems to work on. My personal favourite from the day explored the following.

If you had to tie your shoelace at an airport, should you do it on a travelator or on the ground?

It is actually quicker to tie your laces on the travelator and I can prove this. Suppose there are two separate universes containing the same travelator. In the first universe you tie your laces the instant before you get on the travelator and in the second, you tie your laces the instant after you get on the travelator. In the second universe, while you tie your laces you are moving on the travelator, whereas in the first you are not moving. This means the person in the second universe will be ahead of the person in the first and he [sic] can never catch up. Therefore, you always arrive quicker tying your laces on a travelator. …

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