October Highlights from the Naked Mathematician

By on 09/11/2017
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A round up of some of the highlights from the Naked Mathematician Tom Crawford from the month of October…

October has been a busy month for the Naked Mathematician as he embarks on a new role as a tutor at the University of Oxford. Fortunately, he has still found the time to answer your maths questions with the latest instalments including: What is the Gamma Function? And how many ping pong balls would it take to raise the Titanic from the ocean floor?

The Gamma Function appears regularly in probability and statistics, but what actually is it? And what does its graph look like? Tom introduces the definition of the function in terms of a factorial and an integral, before revealing some of its most interesting properties…

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Suppose the Titanic was still in one piece at the bottom of the ocean – how would you go about raising it from the depths? One theory put forward in the 1970’s was to use ping pong balls to act as a source of buoyancy, which when attached to the ship would lift it back up to the surface. This of course wouldn’t actually work as the ping pong balls would be crushed by the immense pressure deep underwater, but let’s imagine for a second it were possible… how many ping pong balls would we need?

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The latest episode in the Equations Stripped series looks at the Wave Equation. We live in a world of waves: we have light waves allowing us to see, sound waves allowing us to hear, waves travelling through the Earth in the form of earthquakes and waves on the water for surfers to enjoy amongst many other examples. The Wave Equation models allows us to model all of these phenomena which means its a pretty big deal in the world of maths and physics…

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You can find all of the material by the Naked Mathematician Tom Crawford on his website tomrocksmaths.com. You can also follow him on FacebookTwitterYoutube and Instagram @tomrocksmaths.

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