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The conference for all 11-19 mathematics teachers

29 June - 1 July 2017

Keele University

Making Mathematical Braids

Matthew Scroggs

14:15 - 15:15 Friday 30th June


A few years ago, I came across a method of braiding seven strands of wool together using a cardboard octagon. Being a mathematician, I was not happy just making pretty bracelets and started looking to generalise the method to make braids with different numbers of strands. In this session, we will be making these seven strand braids and looking for other braids that do and don't work. I will prove to you that some numbers don't work and leave you with some unsolved questions about the braids.

Assumed knowledge

Either the session has no mathematical content or, if there is any, there will be no expectation that delegates are already familiar with it.

About the speaker(s)

Matthew is a PhD student at University College London studying finite element methods and boundary element methods. When not working, he writes puzzles and articles for Chalkdust Magazine, including the infamous £100 crossnumber, and reads Martin Gardner books.