Katie Melua and cosmology

1. Katie Melua and cosmology
2. Codes in London, Big Bang in the US & India
3. A Further Five Numbers
4. Kung Fu Science
5. Fantastic Illusion
6. Competition Winner
7. Puzzle Competition

1. Katie Melua and cosmology

I have now embarked on a new career as a lyricist, but not with any success. I won’t go into the details – it is a very long story – but it started with me writing an article for the Guardian newspaper criticising Katie Melua’s reference to the age of the universe in her song ‘Nine Million Bicycles’, and ended with Katie re-recording her record using my lyrics, which was then broadcast on Radio 4. The original article is contained on the website below and the broadcast can be heard at the second link.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,,1581445,00.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/today/listenagain/ram/today1_melua_20051015.ram

2. Codes in London, Big Bang in the US & India

My only lecture on cryptography this year will be on October 28 at the Royal Institution in London. It is one of their Friday Evening Discourses. My understanding is that this is such a formal occasion that (many years ago) one lecturer took fright and ran away just before the lecture was due to start. To avoid a similar disappearance, lecturers are now escorted to and locked into an ante-room fifteen minutes beforehand. The Royal Institution always has a wide range of interesting and entertaining lectures, but it is just about close down for renovation throughout 2006, so the next few weeks will be your last chance for a while to pay a visit.

Last month Big Bang was published in Swedish, which is why I have just returned from Gothenburg. This month it will be published in German, which is why I will be lecturing in Switzerland next week. I will also be lecturing in Canada & America in November, and in India in December. These lecture tours are to mark the paperback publication of Big Bang.

The details of all my lectures are, as usual, at: https://www.simonsingh.net/Simon_Lectures.html

3. A Further Five Numbers

My latest radio series, A Further Five Numbers, has now been broadcast on BBC Radio 4, but you can still hear it online. My favourite episodes were 6 & 1729. The most recent series and the previous series are available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/science/further5.shtml (2005) http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/science/another5.shtml (2003) http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/science/5numbers.shtml (2001)

4. Kung Fu Science

This is a terrific website that shows the physics behind martial arts. It has been developed by the Institute of Physics as part of Einstein Year, and it is a brilliant example of popularising science . as opposed to their Einstein ballet! http://www.kungfuscience.org

5. Fantastic Illusion

This is one of the most amazing illusions that I have seen this year, and it appears on Ian Rowland’s website. Prepare to have your mind boggled. http://www.ianrowland.com/MiscPages/Mrangryandmrscalm.html

. and I think that there was a temporary problem with the website for the optical illusion in my previous newsletter, so here are the links again just in case you missed Julian Beever’s anamorphic pavement. http://users.skynet.be/J.Beever/swim.htm http://users.skynet.be/J.Beever/wrongview.htm

6 Competition Winner

In the last newsletter, I set you a Nubble puzzle – using the basic operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, construct the answer 1 by using all the numbers 1, 1, 1 and 5. There are various solutions, such as 5x(1-1)+1=1.

I received hundreds of correct answers , and the winner was Stephen Krauklis from New South Wales, Australia, who has won a copy of “Backroom Boys” by Francis Spufford.

7 Puzzle Competition

Michael Belfrage and Steve Mulligan complained that the last Nubble puzzle was too easy, so they proposed a tougher one. This time .. again using the basic operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, construct the answer 24 by using all the numbers 1, 3, 4 and 6.

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 November 1. As it is Einstein Year, one of the correct entries will win a copy of the excellent “E=mc2” by David Bodanis.

And you can find out more about Nubble! at these sites: http://www.virtualimage.co.uk/html/nubble.htm http://www.virtualimage.co.uk/html/download.html (free demo)

Cheerio,

Simon.

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