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Mathematical Art & Play

The MLC believes that students and staff should not just learn and use maths, but also enjoy it. So we engage in a lot of mathematical art and play.

To find out more about any of these activities, please contact us.

One Hundred Factorial is a gathering of staff, students and friends to solve puzzles and play mathematical games together, both online and face-to-face. We have face-to-face games and puzzle sessions on campus regularly during teaching weeks, and monthly at other times. You can also follow our puzzle-solving on social media.

Favourite Puzzles

Regular Puzzle Sessions

12noon-2pm, Level 4 Hub Central

Wednesdays during Semester 1 & 2 Teaching Weeks

Holiday Puzzle Sessions:

April holiday puzzle session

10am-1pm, Wednesday 19th April

Level 4 Hub Central

Facebook event


MLC lecturer David occasionally blogs about the puzzles we do at One Hundred Factorial on his blog. Check out these posts at the link below:

You can join in with the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag #100factorial.

MLC Lecturer David Butler creates mathematical artworks, usually of a collaborative constructive nature. See photos of past artwork here, and find out more about each below.


This artwork is being constructed across 2016 and 2017, and features the 3D shape called a "silver rhombic dodecahedron". They are built from an origami unit folded from A4 paper. To find out more, follow the link to the Space-Filling/Mind-Filling page.

My Piece of Pi

This is a collaborative artwork designed by David K Butler (one of the MLC lecturers). We plan to draw more than 1000 digits of the number pi on the North Terrace campus of the University of Adelaide Adelaide on International Pi Approximation Day 22nd of July. To find out more, follow the link to the My Piece of Pi page.

Random Journeys

Used AdelaideMetro public transport tickets were be glued together according to simple rules to construct a random cellular automaton, creating tree-like patterns as more tickets are added. To find out more, follow the link to the Random Journeys Page

The Sierpinski Sponge

Several thousand paper pyramids were made and stuck together to build a model of a 3D fractal known as the Sieprinski Sponge, in 2011 and in 2015. To find out more, follow the link to the Sierpinski Sponge Page

The MLC lecturers like to create and collect puzzles and games. Here are some that you might find interesting:

  • 16 Sudokus -- a set of 16 sudoku puzzles with a connection
  • Quarter the Cross -- an open-ended puzzle with a creative flair (also check out the Twitter hashtag #QuarterTheCross)
  • 4-Dimensional Noughts and Crosses -- a two-player game that requires spatial thinking in four dimensions
  • Which Number Where -- a two-player game that is a bit like battleships and a bit like Guess Who.
  • Giant SET -- cards for the game SET that can be printed on A4 paper to make giant cards (SET originally designed by Marsha Falco and published by SET enterprises)

Occasionally, the MLC lecturers give seminars on maths or maths-related topics, where the focus is on the fun or interest of the maths. Find out more about the past seminars here.

The Maths Learning Centre occasionally provide seminars and workshops about the joyful and playful aspects of maths, both at university and elsewhere.

  • The Queen of Hearts Plays Noughts and Crosses

    This workshop was given by David Butler at the MASA Annual Conference in April 2017.


    In this session, we'll explore the fascinating world of finite geometry through the medium of noughts and crosses and a deck of cards. The ideas here would be useful for extension of students at many different year levels and levels of maths skill.


    Here is a PDF version of the handout, which has templates for the three types of noughts and crosses games.

  • ⌊ n!/e ⌉

    This seminar was be given by David Butler as part of the School of Mathematical Sciences Undergraduate Seminar Series in September 2014.


    What is this formula? Why does it use those strangely mismatched brackets, and why does it use both factorial and the number e? What is it supposed to calculate? And why would someone love it so much that they put it on a t-shirt? In this seminar you will find out the answers to all of these questions, and also find out what derangements have to do with Taylor's theorem.


    To view the prezi from the seminar on, follow this link: n factorial on e on

  • Eigenvalue Magic Tricks

    This seminar was given by David Butler as part of the School of Mathematical Sciences Undergraduate Seminar Series in August 2013.


    Eigenvalues are awesome, but students rarely get the chance to see just how supremely awesome they are. In this talk I’ll tell you some awesome truths about eigenvalues that you don’t get to see in first year, and show you their proofs, which happen to contain some of the most clever magic tricks in the whole of maths.


    To view the prezi from the seminar on, follow this link: Eigenvalue Magic Tricks on


    To download a pdf version of the handout, which contains more cool eigenvalue proofs than in the seminar, follow this link: Eigenvalue Information and Proofs handout

  • Secrets of Alice in Wonderland

    This live streaming show was presented by David Butler and Cobi Smith at the Royal Institution of Australia as part of Science Week 2012 and the Great Big Science Read project. To find out more about the show, check out the page on the RiAus website


    To view the prezi from the seminar on, follow this link: Secrets of Alice in Wonderland on


    To view the video of the seminar on YouTube, follow this link: Secrets of Alice in Wonderland on YouTube

Maths Learning Centre
Level 3 East, Hub Central

North Terrace Campus


Telephone: +61 8 8313 5862
Facsimile: +61 8 8313 7034

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