Report on the 2020 Winter Weekend

This year we moved to Kents Hill in Milton Keynes instead of Nottingham University which had been home to the weekend for many years.

The move was a great success with favourable comments about the accommodation, food and our meeting rooms.

 About of us gathered on Friday evening and started with a session on mathematical magic led by Paul and Angela and some impressive tricks. The best trick they demonstrated used a modulo 4 code to discover a card picked at random by the audience. We then tried our hand at some simpler tricks with varying degrees of success.

John Hoskinson started Saturday with an introduction to figurative numbers followed by an increasing tricky set of puzzles to solve on the topic and then in the afternoon our visiting speaker Dr Katie Chicott talked about Codes and how to break them and then we tried to break some: mostly successfully. No-one had brought a quantum computer so we didn’t try cracking Public Key Encryption; maybe next year.

 Katie was going to talk about Infinity as well but we got too absorbed in code cracking so Infinity will have to wait for another year as well.

The evening quiz was a close-run affair with 4 out of 5 teams in the lead at some point. The result was a tie and both teams won the much coveted prize of an M500 mug for each member.

On Saturday Mel set us 8 problems some of which looked very very hard but having tackled some of the easier ones Mel showed us the way to crack all of them. Most impressive was the technique used to create a perfect square summing to any number provided you know this one

We ended with 10 teams doing the Schools Olympiad Mathematics challenge. No-one finished but then you are not meant to be able to.

Looking forward to the 2021 event!