## Neckties and non-linearity avoidance

If you tie a knot in a necktie, you may have noticed that (in general) there are three major probabilities regarding the outcome. Sometimes the thin end is longer than the wide end, sometimes the wide end is longer than the thin end, and sometimes they are (roughly) equal. In 2010, Tomoyoshi Motohiro of the […]

## Knitting a recursive sweater

“Knitting is usually considered a female activity and females are usually not considered to be inclined to mathematics, or to science in general. Nevertheless mathematical skills are necessary for knitting, because they help to realize symmetries, inversions, scalings and proportions; good abstraction capabilities are indeed needed to figure the final result out and to map […]

## Bicycle tracks – still being covered

As Sherlock Holmes aficionados will know, in the 1903 story ‘The Adventure of the Priory School’, Holmes determined the direction in which a bicycle was travelling simply by observing the tyre tracks which it had made – asserting that the deeper of the two wheel marks must have come from the heavier rear wheel … […]

## Further Physics of Tumbling Toast

It was back in 1844 that the Victorian poet and satirist James Payn wrote :     “I’ve never had a piece of toast     particularly long and wide,     but fell upon a sanded floor,     and always on the buttered-side.” Depending on whether you are an optimist or a pessimist this poetic generalisation may […]

## The mathematics of somersaults on the trampoline

Very few researchers have attempted to describe a biomechanical model for numerical simulation of front and back somersaults, as performed on the trampoline (without twist). But there are exceptions – take for example Wojciech Blajer (Department of Mechanics, Institute of Applied Mechanics, Technical University of Radom, Poland) and Adam Czaplicki  (Department of Biomechanics, Institute of […]

## Bubbles, balloons and maths clowns—oh my! (she says)

Investigator Patricia Jonas sent us this note: I was directed to a web site that says: “Imagine making maths fun using soap bubbles, balloons and a Maths Clown.” I do not want to imagine making maths fun using soap bubbles, balloons and a Maths Clown. I enjoy maths. But I find clowns disturbing. Very disturbing. […]

## Improbable Mathematics issue

The special Mathematics issue (vol. 16, no. 4) of the magazine (the Annals of Improbable Research) is now online. The pleasing-paper version was mailed to subscribers a while ago. Click on the magazine cover (below) to download a free PDF, or buy a high-quality PDF. Or subscribe to the paper version. Mel (right) says it’s […]