Moonlighting agony uncle Professor Dirichlet answers your personal problems. Want the prof’s help? Send your problems to email@example.com.
I’ve recently had the good fortune of winning three pigs at the village fete. However, I’m not sure whether my triangular garden is big enough for them as well as my collection of metal, wooden and other deckchairs. The pigs are of substantial size and my tape measure is not long enough to measure the longest side of the garden. I’ve also heard that pigs are very intelligent and would like to hear suggestions for entertaining them.
— Pearl among swine, Lower Brailes
It seems as though you have an issue with these pigs hogging your space. If your garden is right-angled, you can use Stythagoras’ theorem. Otherwise, I recommend pigonometric functions: the swine and coswine rules will be helpful. I shan’t boar you with the details. If they are math-ham-atically inclined, perhaps you could introduce them to Porkdust. Maybe skip the article about the ham sandwich theorem. My Bacon number is 2.
After a thrilling winter Olympics, I have been inspired to take up competitive sport. However, my previous interests lie mostly in multivariable calculus and I have no clue how to follow a sporting lifestyle. It’s completely different from anything I’ve done before. Do you have any experience in this area?
— Mr Kim, Pyongyang
Congratulations on your change of variables. On the surface, it might just seem a bit of fun and games, but exercise is integral to a healthy life. I recommend heading down to the gym to see if you can join a combined aquatic and winter sports team. Once a member, you can expected to be $\nabla$ed on your $\nabla\times$ing and $\nabla\cdot$ing.
Thanks to your helpful advice in Chalkdust issue 06, I am now the pope! The first ever pope, in fact, to also understand finite element methods. Unfortunately, I went for a stroll the other day to purchase some badger feed and, being new to the area, I got completely lost. How can I get home?
— Benedict Cumberpope, Location unavailable
Never fear! If you’re lost in Italy, just speak to Anna (my pal-in-Rome). She cannoli point you in the right direction. For future sojourns, however, I have one pizza advice. The Rome-bus will take you directly to St Peter’s Square. From there, it’s a short hop to the numerical-analysistine chapel. Make sure you get off at the right stop though — otherwise you’ll be pasta point of no return.
After the excesses of the festive season, I decided to participate in the trend known as Veganuary. For 31 days I forewent all animal-based products, in search of acceptance on my Instagram page. Now that the month is over, I have decided to permanently adopt a vegan lifestyle, and am looking to diversify my cooking. Would you happen to know of any good recipes?
— Paul Metcalfe, Winchester
My dear child, it seems you are limiting yourself to s-kale-r products as you are cross with yourself. I consulted on this matter with my friend William Hamiltomatoes and my work colleague Henri Poincarrots, with whom I commute. I am afraid to report that your choice of ingredients will be limited to vegetabelian groups. Furthermore, you will no longer be able to eat duck a Lagrange (as we have realised that Lagrange is an animal). If you decide to weaken your constraints, there are stiltons of vegetarian options. I myself enjoy macaroni cheese, or for something actually Italian, ris-8. If you can’t find rennet-free parmigiano-reggiano, my briemann hypothesis is that any other hard cheese is a goudapproximation.
Heed Professor Dirichlet’s previous advice:
You might also like…
- A podcast for the mathematically curious
- Ride a phantom parabola into our latest issue. Billiards, maths, tiles, mistakes, plus all your favourite regulars.
- Coffee, Brexit and badgers are among the topics of discussion in this issue's Dear Dirichlet advice column
- Mystic mug has some predictions for you...
- The definitive chart of the best Chalkdust regulars
- Your guide to creating the optimal homepage