Oxford Online Maths Club
Oxford Online Maths Club
Welcome to the club! The Oxford Online Maths Club is a weekly livestream from the University of Oxford with maths problems, puzzles, mini-lectures, and Q&A. It’s free, interactive, casual, and relaxed, and the livestreams are recorded so that you can watch back afterwards if you can't make it to the live broadcast on Thursday afternoons. The club is mostly aimed at people about to apply to university or about to start a Maths course, but everyone's welcome and there's no registration needed. Whether you’re the only person you know who’s interested in mathematics, or if you’re an entire sixth-form maths club looking for more maths content, we’re here for you.
Our regular host is Dr James Munro (admissions and outreach coordinator for Maths at Oxford), and we often have current Oxford students answering questions in chat and appearing on the livestream to talk about maths. In some of the episodes we tackle tricky maths problems, in some of them we explore one maths topic in more detail, and in some of them we have a current Oxford student or member of staff on the livestream to talk about a bit of maths they love.
(Almost) every episode comes with some further reading notes for you to explore the topics we cover in the livestream in more depth. If you're looking for super-curricular mathematics (perhaps you're looking for an EPQ topic, or you're trying to explore maths beyond the classroom before applying to university), then this should be a good place to start. Click on "Further Reading" under any episode on this page to see these notes.
If you’d like to ask us anything about anything we've covered on OOMC, send an email to oomc [at] maths.ox.ac.uk.
We'd love your suggestions for Maths topics, or feedback or comments on the livestream, which you can also send to the email address above.
Here's what some anonymous participants have said about the club;
"Thank you for being a constant and giving me a way to enjoy maths without having to leave the house or having to feel bad if I miss it. I honestly love this" - Anonymous participant
"Thank you! I'm both confused and more interested." - Anonymous participant
"How does that make any sense :D" - Anonymous participant
You can watch previous episodes and access all the further reading with the links below. There's no need to watch the episodes "in order"; choose one with a title that sounds interesting to you!
Powers & Patterns
Symmetry & Asymmetry
An equilateral triangle with side length 1 fits inside a square box; what's the minimum possible side-length of the box? What's the best way to cover a disc with circles? We explore both problems in this episode!
What's your favourite triangle? This episode introduces patterns in Pascal's triangles, with a detour to look at cellular automata.
In this episode, we've got a pack of cards with maths facts or puzzles on every card. We talk about a few random cards before dropping the link where you can get all of them for free.
It's something different in this episode of the Oxford Online Maths Club; maths that you've shown us! We've recently met lots of people at open days and some of you showed us maths that you're interested in; here are some of the things people have told us about.
Heads or Tails?
In this episode, the people in the live chat choose a sequence of three coin results; heads or tails, then James chooses a sequence. Which sequence will come up first? Let's find out!
This episode had serious tech issues - the audio is OK but the video is very laggy, and everything breaks after half an hour. Don't worry, it's back to normal next week! James tries to draw a curve using only straight lines.
Spirals with Vectors
What happens if four dogs start at the corners of a square and each run towards the next dog around? In this episode, we try to find out with pencil and paper, and then with computer code, and then with vector calculus.
Sums and Integrals
In this episode, we use integrals to approximate sums and deduce some facts about the harmonic sum (one plus one-half plus one-third plus...).
In this episode, the cabbage problem. A farmer needs to get across a river with a sheep, a fox, and a cabbage; we solve the classic problem and chat about some variants.
Three people are wearing red or blue hats; they can see each others' hats and they have to work out the colour of their own hat. We find out how in this episode.
Liars & Tigers
What's the shape of water falling from a tap? We investigate in this episode. There's also time to revisit a problem with squares from a couple of weeks ago.
Ioana shows us how to find a differential equation for a hanging chain, and solve it too!
Bridges & Tea Cups
In this episode, James works on two problems from the NRICH website.
What's a good way to describe the points inside a circle? What about ellipses? In this slightly unusual livestream, James investigates.
Max is on the livestream to explain what a Fourier series is, how to find one, and what to do with it once you've found it.
Snakes & Ladders with Jacques
Jacques has been simulating Snakes and Ladders with Python, and comparing the results with theoretical Snakes and Ladders speedrunning strategies.
Measure Theory with Flora
Inequalities with Ittihad
Double Integration with Lucy
Groups, bosons, and monsters with Jonah
A few more things
Interview Question with Tom
Prime Time with Ittihad
Do you like prime numbers? Do you like complex numbers? We've got both! In this episode, Ittihad explains the theory behind Gaussian Primes, which is a theory of prime numbers which are also the complex numbers. We also prove a theorem about writing real primes as the sum of two squares.
PDEs with Jonah
More Curve Sketching with Deepak
After Season 1, James and Deepak met up to do some more curve sketching!
Season 1 wrap-up
James, Deepak, Flora, Francesca, and Ittihad met up again to discuss Season 1 of the Oxford Online Maths Club.
Olympiad Problems with Ittihad
Topology with Flora
Epidemic Maths with Francesca
The Chain Rule
Fantastic Graphs with Deepak
Pigeons with Christian
Unseen MAT with David
Cubes and other shapes
The STEP support programme is a great set of maths resources, even if you're not going to take the STEP exams. Start here and then work through these; if they're too easy for you, then try these or eventually these. Dr Stephen Siklos's book Advanced Problems in Mathematics: Preparing for University is great, and free.
NRICH has lots of maths problems, investigations, games, and activities.
The Maths department at Oxford has written practice problems and material to help with bridging the gap, which some colleges send out to students to look at over the summer before starting the Oxford maths degree. The Bridging the Gap material has been expanded into the book "Towards Higher Mathematics: A Companion" by Dr Richard Earl.
The maths departmental prospectus has more information about the Oxford maths and joint honours degrees.
Full details of the courses currently offered as part of the Maths degree are available here. Please note that the courses offered may change year-on-year, and course details may change. Links to courses in specific years of the Maths degree;
Note that the courses are sorted by term (Michaelmas, Hilary, and Trinity are Oxford's names for the three terms).
University College at Oxford has compiled a list of other resources, Staircase 12.
You might be interested in another Maths livestream hosted by Kyle D Evans with bestselling science author Simon Singh and Countdown champion Junaid Mubeen.
They stream on Mondays at Parallel Circles.