## Can You Solve This Puzzle?

I saw this puzzle the other day.

You have two fuses. Each fuse is a piece of string, that burns for exactly 1 minute. However, the fuse doesn’t burn evenly, so cutting the fuse in half doesn’t give you two 30 second fuses.

## Educational Experiments

If you’ve ever been cured of a stomach ulcer, you can be thankful for the work of an Australian scientist, Dr Barry Marshall. As a young researcher, he and a colleague developed the idea that stomach ulcers were not just caused by stress, but by a bacterium that somehow managed to survive the hydrochloric acid in our digestive system.

## Does Math Make You Seem Smarter?

Often movies include scenes showing math. Often, the math is on a blackboard or whiteboard in a character’s room or office, or in the background of the credits roll at the end of the show. The intended effect is, I guess, to tell the audience “this character is a genius of some sort, he or she is going to provide the hero with some amazing invention or information that will help defeat the villain”.

## No More Money for British Maths

The EPSRC, or “Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council” is the body in the UK that decides what kinds of research in the physical sciences will get government grant money. Grant money is needed for advanced research in mathematics for the following reasons :

• This kind of research produces amazing benefits down the track, however
• The benefits come too slowly for the private sector to be interested in funding research