We all have that one friend who, for want of a better word, is a bit of a maths nerd... When it comes to their birthday, as with any other obsession, a mathematical present is an easy win. However, if unfortunately, you do not share their passion for all thing’s numbers, shapes, and formula, it can be a daunting task to delve into this strange world of symbols. But fear not! Here is 5 simple maths gift ideas that your Pythagoras passionate pal is sure to love! (Verified by our own maths enthusiasts).
1. Math T-Shirts
A classic, everyone loves a new tee featuring something special to them and your maths mate is no different. The tricky part is what to feature... Even though you have probably never discussed it, your friend will definitely have a favourite equation, graph, or simply a number. Just ask them about it and whether you follow their 5-minute monologue about how beautiful Euler’s identity is or not, you have got your answer!
2. A good notebook
Scribbling your way through a 99p Wilko square paper is common practise for most mathematicians and so a high-quality math notebook is a luxury they are sure to appreciate. As long as you stick to squares or plain thick paper, you can’t go wrong!
3. Puzzles (Not necessarily like the ones your Gran does)
Think Rubix cube vibes, but not a Rubix cube... confusing but trust us. A famous practical puzzle, like ‘the Tower of Hanoi’, will entertain as they crack solving it but will bring even more joy as they spending hours pondering the mathematics in their methods, such as calculating why the optimal solution can be performed in exactly 2n−1 moves. Other famous brain teasers include ‘Danish Solitaire’, ‘Burr Puzzle’ or the ‘Yuxin Pyraminx puzzle’.
It’s no great surprise that academics enjoy reading but it’s not all textbooks and papers. ‘The Man Who Knew Infinity’ by Robert Kanigel, ‘Four Colours Suffice’ by Robin Wilson and ‘The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy’ by Isaac Newton are all great reads that will inspire and entertain any maths enthusiast.
“The traditional Japanese art or technique of folding paper into a variety of decorative or representational forms” has many links to mathematics, most obviously in Geometry, and thanks to this is extremely popular amongst the mathematical community. As a present, an origami guide and some colourful paper is all they’ll need to get started. If this first gift ignites a passion, then Christmas is sorted too, they’re sure to enjoy reading an explanation of the mathematical theory behind the pretty paper models with a book such as ‘How to Fold it: The Mathematics of Linkage, Origami, and Polyhedra’ by Joseph O’Rourke.