Recap for May 2013

2013-05-21 19.00.05 (Small)With several new members joining us this month (yay!), we began our MathJam with a few rounds of SET. Most of the newbies to the group had not seen this game before, so the regulars had a distinct advantage…well, at least for the first wee while! There were a couple of VERY quick studies to the game –  a promising start to the evening!

Next, we shared our favourite reads for the upcoming MathJam hiatus. We must have something to do when we are not meeting again until September! Favourite titles included, but were not limited to, 2013-05-21 19.46.29 (Small)the following:

The Housekeeper and The Professor, by Yoko Ogawa

Here’s Looking at Euclid by Alex Bellos

Is God a Mathematician by Mario Livio

My biggest smile of the night came with the display of Ian’s (our Ian, not the author) books.  They were all written by an Ian…the same Ian but a different Ian than our Ian…yes, it was confusing that night, too. In short, I think that Ian Stewart has a fan!

Some of the Ian Stewart books shared:

In Pursuit of the Unknown: 17 Equations That Changed the World

Another Fine Math You’ve Got Me Into

Does God Play Dice?

Book sharing came to an abrupt end with a question about vulgar fractions. That prompted several conversations around the table, including a lovely little problem shared by one of the newbies. It was from one of the books shown in the above photo – The Penguin Book of Curious and Interesting Puzzles, by David Wells. Problem: using the digits from 1 to 9 inclusive, write a fraction that has an equivalent to one-half. Once we found the first one, we decided that there had to be others. And there were. We just don’t know if we found them all. Being the last ones up and jamming, we didn’t tweet it out. Perhaps someone will read the problem here and offer up a solution. That would be sweet to tweet next time!

We found a problem on the MathsJam twitter feed, and got to it. One of our newbies found 2013-05-21 20.47.23 (Small)a lovely solution and quite quickly, too, I might add! It was the one about a square, side length one unit…and fitting in the largest semi-circle inside….what would the radius be of said circle. Fun problem – geometry is always a hit with this crowd!

We had a few more maths recreational puzzles and conversations, and we even did some model building, but the time was fast approaching 10 p.m. While I am sure we could have jammed all night, responsibilities 2013-05-21 20.14.58 (Small)beckoned, and we had to call it a night.

Great to see so many new members out this month. Here’s hoping that we left them wanting for more…

We didn’t get to the promised origami, as time ran short. Next time!

Which, by the way, is in a very long time. With most of the regulars out of town for the summer months, we have agreed to take a break until the September meeting. Looking to hearing about the great summer reads and other mathematical mischief at that time.

Posted by Sherri

Recap for April 2013

Guessing the recaps should be written shortly after the meetings…egads, my memory is not good enough to wait this long to post…I’ll know better next time.

We skipped the SET game this time and went straight into a Tantrix puzzle.Tantrix Puzzle We had misplaced the rules, so we made things up as we went along. We did this while waiting to hear from fellow Washington DC MathJammers.

We were anxious to try out our P-Engima machines with people not in the room…how exciting!

Well…we weren’t political enough to understand the “sequester” message DC sent our way…had to Google it for some insight. Seems like our poli-sci Mathjam members let us down with that one! We came up with a lame “Spring has sprung”. We’ll have to think of one better for the next meeting. 😉

Spent a fair bit of time making sonobe units to create cubes and octahedrons. Aren't they pretty?I was wanting to go for the icosahedron, but my partners were wanting to save it for the May meeting. Other MathJammers were making origami as well – we created Charlie’s Canadian cousin for our UK friends.Charlie

We had a fun time tweeting, coding, puzzling and folding. Can’t wait for our next meeting!

Posted by Sherri

Recap for March 2013

Our first ever meeting at The Round Table in Winnipeg was a great success! We book-ended the evening with two lively games of SET. I may have enjoyed it more than most as I came out the winner of said games. I am fairly certain that it was a fair bit of luck that had me win, but at present I will enjoy my championship.

Between card games we discussed enigma machines, origami, logic problems and proportional geometry.

mathjam2To get things started, we rolled up our sleeves and potato chip tubes to do some coding, paper-Pringle-style! It took some time, as we got hung up on the shaded grey bits for the second set of practice codes. We finally got into the swing of it and tried to decide on a message to send out to any MathJam folks who might be watching the twitter feed.

Yes, the UK folks were likely fast asleep, but we were hoping.

We were so engrossed with our Pringle-enigma machines that we almost missed the welcome and the geometry problem sent our way – the DC folk were up and in mathjam4our time zone! Yippee! Pringle machines and thoughts of origami were set aside as we went to work on the triangle area problem.

Given it was our first night out jamming, we felt a bit of pressure to solve the problem. Thankfully we arrived at the same solution as our fellow DC jammers. 315. Woo Hoo!

We went back to coding and decided to try sending something clever. What to send from the Great White North? Oh, of course! OQRZ (with initial settings of WPG along with Reflector B and Rotors I, II, and III in that order).

It was an exhilarating evening…math puzzles, games, twitter exchanges with DC folk and free samples of maple-drenched bacon and dark Guinness beer. It doesn’t get much better than that!

Looking forward to next month and actually exchanging messages via P-enigma machines with our fellow DC jammers. Before next meeting, we will have to find another good geometry problem to share.

Posted by Sherri