Happy Birthday Nelson Piquet

Brazilian race car driver and former Formula One World Champion, Nelson Piquet was Born 17th August 1952. Born the son of a Brazilian politican, he had a brief career in tennis before losing intrest in the sport. Piquet took up karting and hid his identity to prevent his father discovering his hobby. He became the Brazilian national karting champion in 1971-72 and won the Formula Vee championship in 1976. With advice from Emerson Fittipaldi, Piquet went to Europe to further success by taking the record number of wins in Formula Three in 1978, defeating Jackie Stewart’s all-time record.

In the same year, he made his Formula One debut with the Ensign team and drove for Mclaren and Brabham. In 1979, Piquet moved to the Brabham team and finished the runner-up in 1980 before winning the championship in 1981. Piquet’s poor performances in 1982 saw a resurgence for 1983 and his second world championship. For 1984-85, Piquet had once again lost chances to win the championship but managed to score three wins during that period. He moved to the Williams team in 1986 and was a title contender until the final round in Australia. Piquet took his third and final championship in 1987 during a heated battle with team-mate Nigel Mansell which left the pair’s relationship sour. Piquet subsquently moved to Lotus for 1988-89 where he experienced his third drop in form. He eventually went to the Benetton team for 1990-91 where he managed to win three races before retiring. After retiring from Formula One, Piquet tried his hand at the Indianapolis 500 for two years. He currently runs his own company Autotrac, a company that supplies tracking equipment for transport and currently manages his son Nelson Piquet Jr.

Desperate Dan has certainly not eaten his last cow pie

The UK’s longest-running comic The Dandy will be printed for the final time on December 4th 2012 to mark its official 75th anniversary, and will include a reprint of first-ever Dandy, which was published in 1937.

At its height from 1950s to 1980s, The Dandy sold approximately 2million copies a week, and The decision to stop printing The Dandy, which best known for cartoon characters such as Desperate Dan, Bananaman, Korky the Cat, Cuddles and Dimples, and Beryl the Peril, was prompted by falling circulation numbers, with only about 8,000 copies of The Dandy being sold a week, down from more than 2million during its peak in the 1950s.

However don’t despair because the comic will still be available online and there are ‘exciting plans in the pipeline’ to take it in an exciting and different direction. All of The Dandy’s characters will get a new lease of life. There will also be A big 75th anniversary bash and Staff are working on some tremendously exciting things. DC Thomson have said that the Dandy Annual will continue to be printed and the 2013 edition is already on the shelves.

Following the news The Dandy Website was taken offline, presumably in an effort to keep the next move secret, or because the servers could not handle the sheer volume of traffic that arrived once the news broke, anyway what comes online then will set the tone for the next 75 years. A book celebrating the 75th anniversary of The Dandy has also been launched at the Edinburgh International Book Festival this week and the comic will also feature in exhibitions at the National Library of Scotland and the Cartoon Museum. A bronze statue of Desperate Dan stands in Dundee city centre,  alongside Minnie the Minx, from The Dandy’s sister title The Beano.

V Festival 2012

This years V Festival takes place between Saturday 18th August and Sunday 19th August at Weston Park Staffordshire & Hylands Park, Chelmsford.  Tickets for this years event sold out shortly after going on sale .

The idea for V Festival came in 1996 when Pulp’s front man Jarvis Cocker announced he would love to play two outdoor venues in two days. Pulp’s promoters got together and came up with the idea of putting the gig into Victoria Park Warrington and Hylands Park Chelmsford giving fans in both the North and South a chance to see the band. Then came the idea of adding more bands to the bill, putting on a second stage and letting people camp for the weekend. In the end Victoria Park was just too small for two stages and camping. So in August 1996 there was one day of artists in Victoria Park and two days at Hylands Park with camping. The northern leg of V97 was switched to Temple Newsam, Leeds to provide room for camping and three stages. In 1999 the Northern leg of the festival was moved to Weston Park in Staffordshire and has remained there since.

There looks to be a great line-up this year and Among the acts performing this year are:

  • The Stone Roses
  • The Killers
  • Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
  • Snow Patrol
  • Nicki Manaj
  • David Guetta
  • Example
  • James Morrison
  • Ed Sheeran
  • Tom Jones
  • Keane
  • Madness
  • Nero
  • Emeli Sande
  • Friendly Fires
  • Happy Mondays
  • Inspiral Carpets
  • Shed Seven
  • Noah & the Whale
  • Rizzle Kicks
  • The Enemy
  • Dappy
  • Pixie Lott
  • The Human League
  • The Proclaimers
  • The Stranglers

Tribute to Pierre de Fermat

Pierre de Fermat was born tis date  17th August in 1701. He was a French lawyer at the Parlement of Toulouse, France, and an amateur mathematician who is credited with early developments that led to infinitesimal calculus, including his adequality.  He is also recognized for the discovery of an original method of finding the greatest and the smallest ordinates of curved lines, which is analogous to that of the then unknown differential calculus, and his research into number theory. Fermat also made notable contributions to analytic geometry, probability, and optics, andis best known for Fermat’s Last Theorem, which he described in a note at the margin of a copy of Diophantus’ Arithmetica.

Fermat’s pioneering work in analytic geometry was circulated in manuscript form in 1636, predating the publication of Descartes’ famous La géométrie. This manuscript was published posthumously in 1679 in “Varia opera mathematica”, as Ad Locos Planos et Solidos Isagoge, (“Introduction to Plane and Solid Loci”).

In his books “Methodus ad disquirendam maximam et minima” and”De tangentibus linearum curvarum”, Fermat developed a method for determining maxima, minima, and tangents to various curves that was equivalent to differentiation. In these works, Fermat obtained a technique for finding the centers of gravity of various plane and solid figures, which led to his further work in quadrature. Fermat was also the first person known to have evaluated the integral of general power functions. Using an ingenious trick, he was able to reduce this evaluation to the sum of geometric series. The resulting formula was helpful to Newton, and then Leibniz, when they independently developed the fundamental theorem of calculus.
In number theory, Fermat studied Pell’s equation, perfect numbers, amicable numbers and what would later become Fermat numbers. It was while researching perfect numbers that he discovered the little theorem. He invented a factorization method – Fermat’s factorization method – as well as the proof technique of infinite descent, which he used to prove Fermat’s Last Theorem for the case n = 4. Fermat developed the two-square theorem, and the polygonal number theorem, which states that each number is a sum of three triangular numbers, four square numbers, five pentagonal numbers, and so on.

Although Fermat claimed to have proved all his arithmetic theorems, few records of his proofs have survived. Many mathematicians, including Gauss, doubted several of his claims, especially given the difficulty of some of the problems and the limited mathematical tools available to Fermat. His famous Last Theorem was first discovered by his son in the margin on his father’s copy of an edition of Diophantus, and included the statement that the margin was too small to include the proof. He had not bothered to inform even Marin Mersenne of it. It was not proved until 1994, using techniques unavailable to Fermat.

Although he carefully studied, and drew inspiration from Diophantus, Fermat began a different tradition. Diophantus was content to find a single solution to his equations, even if it were an undesired fractional one. Fermat was interested only in integer solutions to his Diophantine equations, and he looked for all possible general solutions. He often proved that certain equations had no solution, which usually baffled his contemporaries.

Through his correspondence with Pascal in 1654, Fermat and Pascal helped lay the fundamental groundwork for the theory of probability. From this brief but productive collaboration on the problem of points, they are now regarded as joint founders of probability theory. Fermat is credited with carrying out the first ever rigorous probability calculation. In it, he was asked by a professional gambler why if he bet on rolling at least one six in four throws of a die he won in the long term, whereas betting on throwing at least one double-six in 24 throws of two dice resulted in him losing. Fermat subsequently proved why this was the case mathematically.

Fermat’s principle of least time (which he used to derive Snell’s law in 1657) was the first variational principle enunciated in physics since Hero of Alexandria described a principle of least distance in the first century CE. In this way, Fermat is recognized as a key figure in the historical development of the fundamental principle of least action in physics. The term Fermat functional was named in recognition of this role.

Fermat’s Last Theorem

states that no three positive integers a, b, and c can satisfy the equation An + Bn = Cn If any integer value of n is greater than two. This theorem was first conjectured in 1637, famously in the margin of a copy of Arithmetica where he claimed he had a proof that was too large to fit in the margin. No successful proof was published until 1995 despite the efforts of countless mathematicians during the 358 intervening years. The unsolved problem stimulated the development of algebraic number theory in the 19th century and the proof of the modularity theorem in the 20th Century. It is among the most famous theorems in the history of mathematics and prior to its 1995 proof, it was in the Guinness Book of World Records for “most difficult maths problem”.