Maths Jam in May

What a blissful atmosphere at Maths Jam Antwerp yesterday, full of respect, encouragement and acceptance. It’s an international monthly meet-up taking place every second to last Tuesday of the month, simultaneously at many locations in the world, three hours of maths fun! This was Simon’s first time. He solved two difficult geometry problems and showed some of his current work to the math enthusiasts who attended. Was hopping and giggling all the way home.

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Simon talks about Boring Numbers

Inspired by a Numberphile video. It was Simon’s idea to record this on the go, it’s fun to watch him talk about math while making his way through the vibrant city center. I guess this video makes a good tribute to Antwerp that has given Simon the freedom to pursue his passion.

At MuHKA

Visited the reopened museum of contemporary art in Antwerpen MuHKA this afternoon. Simon enjoyed a few graphical pieces, especially when allowed to take photos of them with my mobile.

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Three pictures taken by Simon:

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Definitions of “the Truth”:

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In the children’s “Salon”, we loved the survival-on-the-Moon game: you had to answer the questions about which items would help you survive on the Moon.

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Sinterklaas

An unexpected encounter in the Dutch Bergen op Zoom. Simon was so shy he went hiding nearly the whole time.

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Singing Sinterklaas songs with his sister Neva

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Neva asked Simon to read the letter Sinterklaas left her. It was written in difficult cursive, I was surprised Simon could read it well.

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Waiting for Sinterklaas on the Grote Markt square in Antwerp on Sunday

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Mixing spices and making the traditional pepernootjes (spicy cookies that resemble nuts)

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Saturn calling?

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This weekend we were at the Urania observatory again. We had been looking forward to finally seeing Saturn’s rings through a telescope (had observed Saturn in Southern France but didn’t have our telescope with us, and weren’t even 100 percent sure it was Saturn). But alas, after a month of clear weather the skies drew their curtain the very night we had been planning to poke them with a serous telescope. They said that if we don’t hurry up Saturn won’t be visible (at a time that the observatory is open) again until 2023. They said they might give us a call for an extra attempt, very sweet of them. Meanwhile, Simon enjoyed a Solar System film instead, where he found a couple mistakes (the film, not the Solar System).

The way to the Aquarium

Simon’s eternal love for invertebrates made sure he actually  enjoyed spending a short while at the Antwerpen Zoo this afternoon. He was glued to the aquariums with sea anemones and corals, going on and on about the overwhelming percentages of invertebrates among the animals, the echinoderms and the crustaceans. What surprised me was that he knew the way to the Aquarium after studying the map for just a couple of minutes. We’ve got a year-long pass to the zoo now, will try to keep it short every time as he gets exhausted easily and wants to get back home to his studying.