Somerset Times

101. Phi Nite was a Phinomenon of Inphinite fun!

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Somerset Times Edition

Week 5, Term Three, 2017

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The Somerset Mathematical Society (ΣMΣ) hosted a celebration of (phi) last Phriday in the Senior Learning Centre. An evening of mathematical entertainment ensued commencing at phive o’ phive and with SMS captains, Zara Smith and Maya Hobley in charge of the evening, things ran very smoothly.

Jason Adams was first up with a mathematical trick that even confounded the present Maths teachers. Those that stayed with the 24 steps needed in the trick were amazed to see the number phi (1.6180339887….) appear on their calculator screens. There was a visible sigh of relief from the audience when Jason’s next Maths trick only required three steps.

Matthew White (or is it Phite?) and James Guy (Phy?) guided the audience through Phi swatting and celebrity Phi-ces, with Signor Ham emerging as the teacher possessing features closest to the Golden ratio. George Clooney, Amber Heard and even Donald Trump’s hair also featured in this segment, although it has to be stated that beauty is dephinitely in the phi of the beholder.

Tanishq Khurana had the audience on its feet with the ever popular Graph dancing (also known as Philates). This involved a human demonstration of the Cartesian plane illustrating an assortment of functions, described with arms in a variety of angles and shapes.

Michael Phy, I mean Guy, then delivered an interesting biography on Swiss mathematician Johann Bernoulli (not to be confused with Bertolli margarine) who was a member of the extensive Bernoulli family of mathematicians. Johann celebrated his 350th birthday on Sunday 6 August. Michael and Jason Adams continued with a demonstration of mathematical ‘High Phives’ and the audience was back on its feet greeting their neighbours in the same way. These salutations ranged from tangential to asymptotic and from sinusoidal to Roman.

Mr Wrigley then reflected on the ‘Life of Phi’, tracing its roots from Euclid’s Elements up to a recent discovery on Golden Triangles. Some of the facts on phi, also known as the Golden Ratio, were separated from the fiction and even Sponge Bob Square pants got a mention (his pants are cuboid and certainly not square). Calculators were needed to evaluate phi in a variety of different ways but no one managed to complete that task. Phi, like its cousin Pi, is irrational and its decimal expansion goes on forever, without repeating.

Zara and Maya led the audience through the Phi quiz which still left some questions unanswered. Did the Egyptians use Phi to build the pyramids? Why did the Roman Colosseum never make any money? – was it because the lions ate all the prophits?

Phi reciting was next on the agenda and organised by Tanishq, Michael and Jason with 25 digits reached by Isaac Rogers, 35 by Momoe Gondo and 70 by Yuvi Chauhan who was awarded the SMS cup for 2017.

The school record set last year by Callum Moffat was 220.

August 4th 1834 is John Venn’s birthday so a special Venn diagram was constructed to celebrate this anniversary. Refreshments were served in the aftermath including phies, phizzy drinks and phibonachos. In the words of one SMS member “It was a phine, phun - philled night for phree”.

Mathonyms were ordered (and still can be) from Mitchell Hamilton with the proceeds going to ‘Jeans for Genes’. Mathonyms come in a range of electromagnetic waves (colours), are laminated and immortalise your name in Maths.

The next SMS experience on the event horizon and will be the ‘Mathstroll’ in Surfers Paradise in November. Everyone is welcome to participate in the stroll which will take you from infinity to beyond (and back again).

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