Maths at: The Martian

I recently joined the Maths at team to dissect the maths featured in the movie ‘The Martian’. We had a lot of fun and even learned a few things including:

  • Everyone’s links to Countdown;
  • Ancient Greek Mathematicians;
  • How to tell the difference between Jeff Daniels and Jeff Bridges.

So, put your feet up, get comfortable, get naked (if you so wish) and listen to the full episode here.

You can try the Martian’s maths problems for yourself here and find out more about NASA’s mission to Mars with the Opportunity Rover by watching the video below.

Ancient Greek Mathematicians

A new feature from Tom Rocks Maths – a weekly maths puzzle for you all to enjoy! Answers will be posted when the next puzzle is released so remember to check back and get your thinking hats on…

Below are portraits of three famous mathematicians from Ancient Greece. Your task is to give me the name of each of them along with one of their mathematical discoveries… Send your answers in on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or via the contact form on my website. Good luck!

WARNING: answer below the picture so if you want to attempt the puzzle please scroll slowly to avoid revealing it!

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(a). Archimedes – most famous for running naked down the street exclaiming “Eureka!” after discovering what is now called Archimedes Principle. It relates the buoyancy of an object to the weight of water and allows you to easily work out whether or not something will float.

(b). Plato – involved with many things, but mathematically best known for his interest in shapes. The 5 Platonic Solids bear his name and are also my favourite shapes. Plato thought that they were so beautiful the entire universe must be built out of them…

(c). Pythagoras – perhaps the most famous mathematician to have ever lived due the triangle theorem named after him that we are all taught at school. It tells us that the length of the diagonal side of a right-angled triangle c is related to the length of the other two sides a, b by a very neat relationship a2 + b2 = c2.

Funbers 5

As well as being a hit(?) boyband from the 90’s, five is also a number. We have five human senses, five rings in the Olympic symbol and five Platonic Solids. These are my favourite shapes and were believed by the Ancient Greeks to be the building blocks of the universe…

You can listen to all of the Funbers episodes from BBC Radio Cambridgeshire and BBC Radio Oxford here.

Funbers 4

The number 4 is a symbol of balance and stability: tables and chairs have four legs, as do most animals, and humans have four limbs. We also like to divide things up into fours – four parts of the day, four points on a compass and four seasons for example. And then there’s the four horsemen of the apocalypse, wreaking havoc and causing death and destruction everywhere they tread. Maybe four isn’t so stable after all…

You can listen to all of the Funbers episodes from BBC Radio Cambridgeshire and BBC Radio Oxford here.

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