I’ve always been something of a fan of Dara O’Briain, both on stage and as a t.v. host, so when I heard he had a new show on Dave I had to check it out.
So what’s the show about? Well, simply put, it’s about Dara and a celebrity guest using mathematics to solve every day problems. Episode 1 featured David O’Doherty attempting to solve 3 problems, based on the theme of the week ‘The Mathematics of Positioning’, in a practical way, while Dara attempted to solve the same problems in an abstract/formulaic way, all closely monitored by mathematician Marcus du Sautoy. Doesn’t sound like the makings of a particularly entertaining show does it? However it is surprisingly funny in moments, no doubt thanks to the jovial interactions between David, Dara and Marcus. There is a clear sense that the maths is the main focus of the show, at least for O’Briain, who’s a self proclaimed ‘nerd’. But I see potential for the non-nerdy mainstream audience to enjoy the series, so long as future guests are as willing to poke fun at their own lesser understanding of maths as O’Doherty was in last weeks show.
I have to admit I wasn’t immediately filled with a love for maths after watching the show but I did find myself doing the homework teaser (see below!) and was impressed to have learned an interesting fact or two without leaving the comfort of my couch (did you know the first number with just rotational symmetry and no reflectional symmetry is 69? I certainly didn’t!). I am definitely intrigued enough that I plan to go and watch episode 2 this evening and see if I can figure out the solutions to the problems this week faster than new guest Alex Horne does. If you want to check it out and test your mathematics skills while having a little giggle, you can watch Dara O’Briain: School of Hard Sums tonight on Dave at 8pm/tomorrow on Dave at 11pm.
Homework Teaser from Episode 1:
using only 4 straight lines,
without lifting your pen off the paper
or going back over yourself?
(The answer can be found at joindave.co.uk)