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. This is a talk about Fermi questions, the art of working things out when you aren't given any data.  From working out the most efficient way to save energy, to a quick method for answering a vintage Who wants to be a Millionaire? question, Rob guides you through maths that can be done on the back of an envelope.

From Monopoly to Greed - the Maths of Money Games

(Age 13-16)

If you think games are just for fun, then think again.  Games contain some of the most important maths you'll ever need in daily life, from managing money to out-thinking competitors. In this highly interactive talk in which the stakes get ever higher, your students will be on the edge of their seats as they discover the unlikely usefulness of probability, permutations and percentages.  And they may even win something.  (This talk is ideal for mixed ability Year 9/10/11).

The above talk can be adapted to: From Monopoly to Yukky Choccy (Age 12+)

Hey – That’s Not Fair!! (Age 14+)

Everyone - even a chimpanzee - has a sense of whether something is fair or not. But making things fair is another matter altogether. That’s where mathematicians can help. From sharing cakes to penalty-shootouts, Rob Eastaway explains the maths behind how to keep envious tantrums to a minimum.

Decisions, Decisions (Age 15+)

Life is full of decisions: Which university should I apply to? What mobile network should I choose? Should I get up or lie in? Rob Eastaway takes an entertaining look at what makes a good decision and how maths can help - using examples from TV gameshows, international sport and the high flying world of stockmarket investors along the way. (Oh, and this all matters whether you study 'Decision Maths' or not).

I Wasn't Expecting That! - Maths and Intuition (Age 16+)

As humans we depend on our intuition to make many of our decisions. And most of the time it works. But when intuition doesn’t work it can go spectacularly wrong. Rob Eastaway reveals some of his favourite examples, including several that relate to everyday situations, and explains why mathematicians so often seem to delight in the counter-intuitive.  Brace yourself for some surprises…., and be prepared to get things wrong!

Pick a Card, Any Card (Age 13+)

Once upon a time, GCSE probability and combination questions were allowed to feature packs of playing cards. These days - because so many teenagers are unfamiliar with playing cards - we have to make do with contrived stories about Hannah and her sweets. This workshop is a reminder that a simple deck of 52 cards is one of the best self-contained maths kits you can get.  You'll encounter a range of games, puzzles, tricks and curiosities that contain a multitude of mathematical ideas, but with a magical twist.

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.

The Hidden 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.

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.

Are You Nice or Nasty? (Age 15+)

(AKA Cheating, Competing and Coca Cola)

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.

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.