Review of the year 2017

What have we been up to this year?

Beautifully packed mathematical socks

Adam’s socks

It’s been another big year for Chalkdust, and it started strongly with Adam’s review of the mathematical socks he got for Christmas. The socks had some really nice maths on them—including a proof of Pythagoras’ theorem—and some nonsense, such as $\int(x)=\tan x$.

Shortly after this, TD told us about the maths in the film Mean Girls. Later in the year, this blog post was transformed into TD’s five minute MathsJam talk. But that’s enough about MathsJam for now…

In February, Simon Allen showed us an interesting property of twin prime numbers: the digital root (or repeated digital sum) of the product of every pair of prime numbers is 8. If you’re wondering why this is true, then talk a look at the proof in Simon’s post.

Issue 05

In March, we released our fifth issue, and dragon curves appeared all over our website. Highlights of issue 05 included an investigation of Fermat’s last theorem with complex powers, graphical linear algebra, and an interview with Bernard Silverman.

A few weeks after our launch party, Hugo interviewed Lluis Masanes. Lluis was recently an author on the paper A general derivation and quantification of the third law of thermodynamics, in which it was shown that is it impossible to reach absolute zero.

After his excellent article explaining insects dynamics in issue 05, Atheeta went on in April to tell us whether it’s better to run or walk in the rain.

In May, Sean and Rafael met Marcus du Sautoy and talked about science communication, teaching maths, and making group theory sound sexy. Some more highlights from this interview appeared in issue 06.

In June, Adam picked the top ten emoji for use in maths. ?. Later in the month Rafael, Nikoleta and Pietro took an interactive experiment about migration within Africa to a festival at Greenwich University. This formed part of an article in July that explored different models for migration, and argued for a data driven approach to this sensitive and important topic. There was also this lovely article about factorising quadratics, written by everyone’s favourite agony uncle Prof. Dirichlet…

August saw Chris analysing different bidding strategies for an auction, to find out whether it’s possible to mathematically manoeuvre your way around an art-loving billionaire. Then, in September, Paula showed us one of the ‘most mind-boggling maths facts’; the Banach-Tarski paradox.

Dr Nira Chamberlain at the closing ceremony of Black Mathematician Month.

October was certainly one of the busiest months in Chalkdust’s history. We launched issue 06, featuring three-fingered counting, pretend numbers and an interview with Cédric Villani. Alongside this we also celebrated Black Mathematician Month for the first time, where we interviewed 6 black mathematicians from around the world and hosted several articles about what can be done to improve diversity in our community.

In November, Alison provided a nostalgic look back at Beghilos — probably the best reason to stick with an old-fashioned calculator. There was also the annual MathsJam weekender, featuring lightning talks, mathematical cakes, songs, games and gentle, subliminal, advertising for certain popular maths magazines.

Finally, all this month we have been giving away fantastic prizes as part of our Chalkdust Christmas Conundrums. In fact, you have until tomorrow (Friday 29th) to enter our fourth and final competition

See you next year!

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