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Maths in a minute: Euclid's axioms
... Euclid of Alexandria Euclid of Alexandria was a Greek mathematician who lived over 2000 years ago, and is often called the ... also the earliest known systematic discussion of geometry. In it Euclid laid down the rules of geometry. Euclid was interested in all ...
Marianne  13 Dec 2016  14:53  2 comments

Maths in a minute: Not always 180
... years ago the Greek mathematician Euclid came up with a list of five postulates on which he thought geometry should be built. One of ... to a statement we are all familiar with: that the angles in a triangle add up to 180 degrees. However, this postulate did not seem as ...
Marianne  8 Dec 2016  15:37  1 comment

Maths in a minute: Trisecting the angle
... divide an arbitrary angle into three equal parts using only a ruler and straightedge? One of the most famous problems in the history of mathematics is how to divide an angle drawn on a piece of ...
Marianne  8 Dec 2016  15:18  1 comment

Maths in a minute: Triangle central
... of a triangle on a pencil? Trial and error is one way, but maths can save you lots of bending down and picking it up. Take the pencil and ... opposite corner. You'll find that the three lines intersect in a single point, which lies exactly a third of the way from the midpoint of ...
Rachel  23 Nov 2016  11:53  1 comment

Maths in a minute: What's average?
... to illustrate this by imagining there are only five people in the world with one of them having only one ear. The average number of ears ... What's the best way of measuring a population's income? The average (technically called the ...
Marianne  29 Nov 2016  15:03  2 comments

Maths in a minute: Bayes' theorem
... By Rachel Thomas Suppose that a particular type of cancer affects 1% of the population. There is a test for ... probability is the probability that one thing is true (in this example, that you have this type of cancer) given another thing is true ...
Rachel  29 Nov 2016  14:38  1 comment

Maths in a minute: Tiling troubles
... regular polygons there are only three you can use to tile a wall with: the square, the equilateral triangle, and the regular hexagon. All ... each other. You could also try to make a tiling in which a corner of the polygon does not necessarily meet the corner of a ...
Marianne  29 Nov 2016  12:34  3 comments

Maths in a minute: How many primes?
... many primes was already known to the ancient Greeks. Here's a proof, attributed to the most famous Greek mathematician of them all, ... Now, if is itself a prime number (as it is in our example), then clearly it can’t be one of the primes in our list: ...
Marianne  28 Nov 2016  10:23  0 comments

Maths in a minute: The prisoner's dilemma
Suppose you and a friend have been arrested for a crime and you're being interviewed ... you confess and your partner doesn't, then you get 2 years in jail (as a reward for talking), while your partner gets 10 years. If you ... to the dilemma is an arms race between two countries, in which both countries increase their military might when it would be better ...
Marianne  23 Nov 2016  14:01  0 comments

Maths in a minute: Clever sums
... adding up all the integers from 1 to 100? Tap them into a calculator? Write a little computer code? Or look up the general formula for ... how he did it. Notice that you can sum the numbers in pairs, starting at either end. First you add 1 and 100 to get 101. Next it's ...
Marianne  23 Nov 2016  10:11  2 comments