Monthly Archives: October 2015

A message from one of last year’s Year 13 Further Maths students, now studying maths at uni


“I never realised how hard actual mathematical proof would be. I’m currently studying different types of proofs in my calculus topic (which is insanely hard). I see what you mean by saying A-level maths does not teach you actual proofs, because the proofs they provide at uni are completely on another level than A-level”. Continue reading

Maths prize for 3 November 2015: weighing


You have a scale with two pans, so for example you can measure 2 grams exactly by putting a one-gram weight in one pan and a three-gram weight in the other. With what four weights can you measure any weight up to 40 grams? With what five can you measure any weight up to 121 grams?

(Hint: start with a simplified version of the problem. With which two can you measure any weight up to 4 grams? With which three can you measure any weight up to 13 grams?)

Prize: 200 Vivos and a Freddo for a successful answer and a good attempt at an explanation. Answers to Mr Osborn or Mr Thomas by Assembly on Tuesday 3 November. Continue reading

Maths prize for 13 October 2015: a Ramsey puzzle


If you have a group of four people, it’s possible to have no subgroup of three all of whom know each other, and simultaneously no subgroup of three none of whom know each other. If there are five people at a party, is it possible that the party includes no subgroup of three who all already know each other, and no subgroup of three all of whom didn’t know each other before the party? If there are six, is that possible?

The prize was won by Joan Onokhua, who produced the best partial solution. Continue reading