At Right Angles | August 2017

Azim Premji University,


Volume 6 Issue 2: It is a pleasure to share with you, our readers, the collection of articles in this, the July 2017 issue. The (un)popular view of mathematics being a terrifying subject takes a completely new twist with the first article in which a mathematician takes on a terrorist threat! The hunt for answers to a mathematical problem is usually an absorbing one, at least to aficionados of the subject but Arun Vaidya’s fascinating story I M Code makes it a matter of life and death.

Following this, we have an article on another application of mathematics: Interpolation by Sankaran Viswanath. You will see again how mathematics is a tool for prediction, and how data can be fitted into mathematical expressions which then provide a mathematical model. From here, we move on to card tricks; yes, fun and mathematics can go together — and At Right Angles shows you how in Suhas Saha’s Ternary Base Magic Trick. A quick peek behind the magic reveals patterns based on the ternary base, it’s not as complex as it sounds, read on to find out. Our Features section ends with Shailesh Shirali’s exposition on Quadrilaterals with Perpendicular Diagonals, a nice bouquet of Arithmetic, Algebra and Geometry for you.

In ClassRoom, we have the second part of the Inequalities series started in the March 2017 issue, again, both Algebra and Geometry are used to first prove the arithmetic mean- geometric mean inequality and then apply it in several situations to illustrate the power of this relationship and also view its implications in graphs, geometric figures, functions􀀿􀀿􀀿.the list of connections seems endless! Moshe Stupel and David Ben-Chaim appear next with their article Three Elegant Proofs, the name says it all, we promise it lives up to its title. CoMaC, as usual, provides an indepth analysis of an often-asked question, now increasingly appearing even in WhatsApp forwards: What’s the next number? Is the answer really unique as the question implies it to be? More on numbers with Swati Sircar and Sneha Titus, writing on the Sums of Consecutive Natural Numbers; mental mathematics becomes visual all of a sudden, and this Low Floor High Ceiling activity is sure to appeal to a variety of learning styles. Vinay Nair takes up the theme of Divisibility by Primes and provides some powerful tests using an osculator’. Students are sure to be intrigued. ClassRoom concludes with a Proof Without Words on a property of the Orthocentre of a triangle.

For some time now, we have been featuring articles by students and we are particularly happy when they write in with their own discoveries. So much so, that from this issue onwards, we have devoted space to Student Corner in the ClassRoom section. Featured this time are Bodhideep of class 6 and Parthiv of class 11, you are sure to be impressed with their discoveries.

Our cover this time, features Golden Quadrilaterals and the illustrations have been provided by Michael de Villiers, who continues his series on constructive defining. These beautiful quadrilaterals have been defined by investigation and are an interesting activity for students who believe that everything in mathematics is pre-defined and that there is nothing new in mathematics to be discovered.

Problem Corner has seen some changes over the last few issues. In a deliberate attempt to avoid a camp’ approach to problem solving and to make this section more inclusive, we have a wide variety to interest our readers. Prithwijit De sets the ball rolling with his article on ProblemPosing. This is followed by Middle and Senior Problems addressed to different age groups. CoMaC presents a theorem about a triangle and a problem about a rational number; the titles are deliberately bland but these are as fun as Shailesh Shirali’s Adventures in Problem Solving.

The Review this time will certainly have you leaping to order this book: The Cartoon Guides to Calculus and Algebra, a series whose name says both all and nothing. Can such a serious subject be illustrated with cartoons? With mathematical rigour? Read the Review and I’m sure you’ll be convinced.

Our issue concludes with the PullOut — Padmapriya Shirali focuses on Large Numbers and how students can grasp this concept. I am sure that adults too will enjoy this refresher course and pick up tips on how to make this topic child- friendly and approachable. So it’s over to you now! Happy reading.…