Skip to content

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

Holiday Puzzle Sessions:

November holiday puzzle session

10am-2pm, THURSDAY 23 November

Level 4 Hub Central

Facebook event

December holiday puzzle session

10am-2pm, Wednesday 13 December

Level 4 Hub Central

Facebook event

January holiday puzzle session

10am-2pm, Wednesday 17 January

Level 4 Hub Central

Facebook event

February holiday puzzle session

10am-2pm, Wednesday 14 February

Level 4 Hub Central

Facebook event

Discussion

  • MLC lecturer David occasionally writes about the puzzles we do at One Hundred Factorial on his blog. Check out the posts at the One Hundred Factorial blog category.
  • MLC lecturer David gave a seminar on One Hundred Factorial at the MASA Annual Conference in April 2017. Check out the details over on the Seminars tab.
  • 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.

Space-Filling/Mind-Filling

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)
  • Prime Climb Cards -- cards to use as a board for the game Prime Climb. Print 32 to a page to create a deck of small cards that you can arrange on a table. Print one to a page and put on the ground to make spaces for a board you can walk on. (Prime Climb originally designed by Dan Finkel and published by Math4Love.)

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.

  • One Hundred Factorial: Playful and Joyful Maths

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

    Abstract

    In this session, we'll explore what it means and what it feels like to engage in joyful play in maths, and how to encourage the atmosphere that allows for it. I'll describe what I have learned at the puzzle and games group "One Hundred Factorial" over the last ten years, and give participants a chance to experience a bit of what I do there for themselves. Come prepared to play with some puzzles together.

    Prezi

    To view the prezi from the seminar on Prezi.com, follow this link: One Hundred Factorial: Playful and Joyful Maths on Prezi.com

  • The Queen of Hearts Plays Noughts and Crosses

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

    Abstract

    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.

    Resources

  • ⌊ n!/e ⌉

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

    Abstract

    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.

    Prezi

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

  • Eigenvalue Magic Tricks

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

    Abstract

    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.

    Prezi

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

    Handout

    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

    Prezi

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

    Video

    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
THE UNIVERSITY OF ADELAIDE
SA 5005 AUSTRALIA

Contact

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

Find Us Online

Maths learning Centre on Facebook    Maths Learning Blog