From Monopoly to Yukky Choccy (Age 12+)
Games may be fun, but they also involve some of the most useful maths you'll ever need in adult life. In this highly interactive talk, the audience gets to play a variety of games involving strategy and luck, and in the process discover important principles in decision-making, game theory...and how to avoid being ripped off.
The Maths of TV Gameshows (Age 14+)
TV game shows are big business - indeed the success or failure of many TV companies depends on them. But behind the showbiz glitz there is probability at work. In this interactive talk, Rob analyses the maths behind some of the leading gameshows, looking at the tactics behind winning and the secrets of devising a good TV game. Find out the best tactics for everything from Deal or No Deal to The Million Pound Drop. There will even be a chance to play a version of The Weakest Link.
Ten Ways to Win a Maths Bet in the Pub (Age 16+)
What's the point of maths? To help you to win bets in the pub of course. The best bets are ones where your opponent thinks the odds are in his favour. Rob demonstrates his favourite examples, ranging from the newspaper bet to 'special' poker, and gives the audience a chance to win some money off him too.
When Maths Meets Psychology (Age 15+)
Thanks to TV shows like Derren Brown's Tricks of the Mind psychology is as popular as it has ever been. But when maths meets psychology, as it often does, the combination can be fascinating. This is a talk about human intuition, how it can sometimes lead you astray, and how maths can help you to think critically and behave more rationally. On the way you'll encounter a TV gameshow and some telepathy that is worthy of Derren Brown himself.
Maths on the Back of an Envelope (Age 15+)
Contrary to popular belief, Maths is not always about getting precisely the right answer - sometimes a rough answer will do. From quick and dirty calculations to work out the most efficient way to save energy, to quick method for answering a Who wants to be a Millionaire? question, Rob guides you through maths that can be done on the back of an envelope.
From Lampard to The Olympics - The Maths of Sport (Age 15+)
What is the best tactic for taking a penalty? Should a 1500 metre athlete lead the pack or hover at the back? Was Chris Robshaw right to go for the try in England's famous World Cup rugby defeat to Wales? And where's the best place to aim on a dartboard? Rob looks at the hidden maths behind a range of sports, with ideas for investigations that will provide great enrichment for sports fans in the classroom.
Numbers and Rumbas (Age 13+)
Will songwriters ever run out of tunes? What connects The Simpsons theme with even numbers? And which football fans chant to a tango? In this interactive talk, Rob and pianist/composer Richard Harris explain the many connections between maths and music, with live performance, improvisation and audience participation along the way. This talk works best in a banked theatre, and is aimed at 13-16 year olds. It has been performed at the Royal Institution, and at several schools.
How to Cheat at Mind-Reading (Age 12+)
From Uri Geller to Derren Brown, mind-reading has been captivating the public for generations. But some of the most mysterious 'mind-reading' of all comes from the world of maths. Rob demonstrates and then explains some of his favourite mathematical mind-reading tricks, some of which date back to the time of Leonardo da Vinci.
From Pepsi to Peace Deals (Age 15+)
A famous Coca Cola advertisement used the line "I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony". Yet Coca Cola and Pepsi have been competing viciously with each other for decades. Collaboration and competition are everywhere around us, and mathematics and game theory can tell us a lot about why peace, harmony and love are not quite as easy to achieve as the songs might suggest.