Living Proof: Timandra Harkness – How to make maths funny

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"What's a statistician's favourite sandwich filling?..."

Timandra Harkness – presenter, writer, Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society and comedian – told our friends Dan Aspel and Maha Kaouri her favourite maths joke in this episode of the Living Proof podcast from the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences.

Timandra brilliantly chaired several sessions of the Communicating mathematics for the public event at the Newton Gateway to Mathematics. In this podcast Timandra spoke about how to make maths funny, and how she came to fall in love with mathematics from an arts and humanities background.

Oh and the punchline to Timandra's favourite joke? You'll have to listen to the podcast to find out!

00:00 – Introduction
00:44 – Welcome, discussing Communicating mathematics for the public
03:38 – Origins of Timandra's interest in maths, understanding "enough to ask the right questions"
07:50 – Discussing Timandra's book Big Data – Does Size Matter?
11:10 – Other current projects and shows, writing another book about "why everything is personalised"
13:13 – Mingling an arts background with a mathematics focus, "coming out as a closet mathematician"
17:10 – How do you make maths funny as a comedian? … "What's a statistician's favourite sandwich filling?"
21:10 – Future projects

This podcast was inspired by the Communicating mathematics for the public event at the Newton Gateway to Mathematics in January 2023.

(If that joke tickles your funny bone – try this one!)

This podcast is part of our collaboration with the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences (INI) – you can find all the content from our collaboration here. The INI is an international research centre and our neighbour here on the University of Cambridge's maths campus. It attracts leading mathematical scientists from all over the world, and is open to all. Visit www.newton.ac.uk to find out more.

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You can listen to the podcast using the player above, and you can listen and subscribe to our podcast through Apple Podcasts, Spotify and through most other podcast providers via podbean.
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