Top 10 emoji for use in mathematics

Maths loves symbols. Everyone loves emoji. It’s 2017 and time we brought the two together. To get you started, here are our top ten emoji for use in mathematics!



Don’t leave home without one: it’s the nifty 45° set square. What better reminder is there that
$$\sin\left(\frac{\pi}{4}\right) = \frac{\sqrt{2}}{2}, \qquad \cos\left(\frac{\pi}{4}\right) = \frac{\sqrt{2}}{2}, \qquad \tan\left(\frac{\pi}{4}\right) = 1$$ 📐



Perfect for popping over a letter to make it a vector, it’s the bow and arrow:

a.b = ab cos arrow

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What’s your least favourite number?

Mathematics doesn’t always involve working with numbers, but they crop up frequently enough for us to have developed some strong emotional responses to specific ones! Throughout the pages of Chalkdust Issue 5 we shared some of the numbers that we really dislike, and here we’ve collected them together. Do you have a least favourite number? Let us know at the bottom of this post.

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Prize crossnumber, Issue 05

Our original prize crossnumber is featured on pages 58 and 59 of Issue 05.


  • Although many of the clues have multiple answers, there is only one solution to the completed crossnumber. As usual, no numbers begin with 0. Use of Python, OEIS, Wikipedia, etc. is advised for some of the clues.
  • One randomly selected correct answer will win a £100 Maths Gear goody bag. Three randomly selected runners up will win a Chalkdust t-shirt. The prizes have been provided by Maths Gear, a website that sells nerdy things worldwide, with free UK shipping. Find out more at
  • To enter, submit the sum of the across clues via this form by 22 July 2017. Only one entry per person will be accepted. Winners will be notified by email and announced on our blog by 30 July 2017.

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On the cover: dragon curves

Take a long strip of paper. Fold it in half in the same direction a few times. Unfold it and look at the shape the edge of the paper makes. If you folded the paper $n$ times, then the edge will make an order $n$ dragon curve, so called because it faintly resembles a dragon. Each of the curves shown on the cover of issue 05 of Chalkdust, and in the header box above, is an order 10 dragon curve.

Left: Folding a strip of paper in half four times leads to an order four dragon curve (after rounding the corners). Right: A level 10 dragon curve resembling a dragon

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Dear Dirichlet, Issue 05

Dear Dirichlet

Moonlighting agony uncle Professor Dirichlet answers your personal problems. Want the prof’s help? Send your problems to

Dear Dirichlet,

I personally have a very deep, long-held belief in free-market capitalism and the value of hard work, but I was recently shocked to discover when I switched subjects that most people in my new research area are staunch followers of Karl Marx! I’ve had many arguments with my new colleagues on this. I can feel my energy slowly draining with every passing debate. How do I resolve this?

— Feeling blue, Surreyv

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