A Further Five Numbers

1. A Further Five Numbers
2. Big Bang in Paperback
3. Theatre of Science
4. Free Books…
5. The plural of anecdote…
6. Puzzle Competition
7. Competition Winner
8. Incredible Scottish Illusion

1. A Further Five Numbers

I am disappearing to the Edinburgh Festival for much of August, so here is some advance notice about my new radio series, “A Further Five Numbers”. I will be taking a look at numbers such as 6 (as in six degrees of separation) and 1729 (Ramanujan’s taxicab number). The series starts on BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday 23 August at 9.30am, and you can listen online at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/

Radio 4 is the world’s greatest radio station, so if you live outside the UK then I would encourage you to visit the website and listen to some of the archived programmes. The comedy and science sections are great, and in the A-Z section you can access my previous series, namely “Five Numbers”, “Another Five Numbers” and “The Serendipity of Science”.

2. Big Bang in Paperback

“Big Bang” is out now in paperback in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. I am cutting down on my lecturing, but I will be talking about the Big Bang in Edinburgh and Dublin, and you can find more details at: https://www.simonsingh.net/Simon_Lectures.html

3. Theatre of Science

I have just finished a sell-out run of Theatre of Science with Richard Wiseman at the Soho Theatre. We extended the run, sold out, extended the run, and sold out again. Thanks to everyone who came along and helped make the show a success. Richard and I are working out how to take the show outside London and I will let you know our future plans via the newsletter. In the meantime, you can see me getting zapped by a million volts and find out more about the most recent show on the pages below:
https://www.simonsingh.net/ToS_Simon_Zapped.html https://www.simonsingh.net/2005_Show.html

4. Free Books …

… as long as you can read Serbian. I have six editions of “Fermaova Poslednja Teorema” by Sajmon Sing to send to the first six people who email me at freebooks@simonsingh.net with subject “Serbian Fermat” and giving me your address in the body of the email. If you do not receive a book within the next 14 days then you were unfortunately not one of the names out of the hat.

5. The plural of anecdote …
… is not data.
(Roger Brinner, economist)

6. Puzzle Competition

This puzzle is based on the new maths game Nubble! The game gives you 4 numbers and you have to derive a target number using the basic operations ofaddition, subtraction, multiplication and division. For example, how do you make the number 40 from 1, 3, 4 and 6?

The answer is (6 + 4) x (3 + 1) = 40.

Your challenge is to make the number 1 from the numbers 1, 1, 1 and 5, and you MUST use all four numbers.

Send your answer to nubblepuzzle@simonsingh.net – put your formula in the subject header and your address in the body of the email. The closing date for entries is 8 August. One of the correct entries will win a copy of the excellent “Backroom Boys – the Secret Return of the British Boffin” by Francis Spufford.

And you can find out more about Nubble! or download a free demo version on these webpages:

7. Competition Winner

In the last newsletter, I asked you to tell me how many strokes of the razor I made when shaving that morning. The answer was 150 strokes, but I accepted any answer between 100 and 200 strokes.

Apologies to those who were unable to enter due to lack of facial hair or an abundance of it. Some people were concerned that it was a pointless and impossible question, but I wanted to show that our intuition and memory can mislead us. Most people initially guessed that the answer was about 25 strokes, but 24 hours later I received lots of correct entries, because people had conducted an experiment. I suppose I was trying to show the power of experiment over guesswork, memory and intuition.

The winners, who will receive copies of my books, are Jimmy Sprague in Washington, Cristian Stefan from Romania, Peter Selmeczy from Hampshire, Fraser Crosbie from Reading, Eric Nelson-Melby from Arizona and Jany Sabins from New Jersey.

8. Incredible Scottish Illusion

As I am going to be spending most of my summer holidays in Scotland, I thought I would leave you with an incredible optical illusion created in Glasgow by the artist Julian Beever. It is an example of anamorphic pavement art and you need to view it from two sides, so you will need to visit both of the pages below. http://users.skynet.be/J.Beever/swim.htm http://users.skynet.be/J.Beever/wrongview.htm

Have a great summer,


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