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UCLan calls for young people to take part in global maths challenge

20 October 2014

Lyndsey Boardman

University to participate in worldwide experiment

Young people from Preston are being invited to participate in a global maths challenge to make a never-ending pattern created from over a million business cards.

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) will host a Maths Megamenger event on Wednesday 22 October as part of a worldwide experiment and wants secondary school age children to help build a level two Menger Sponge – a three-dimensional fractal which can be made from cubes attached together.

A fractal is a never-ending pattern. Twenty single cubes made from business cards can be joined to make a level one Menger Sponge, twenty level one sponges make a level two sponge, and twenty level two sponges make a level three. UCLan is calling for volunteers to help the University build a level two sponge and join people around the globe in an effort to collectively build a giant level four sponge made of 8,000 cubes.

UCLan maths lecturer Charlotte Kestner commented: “We’re keen to get as many young people as possible involved in this exciting maths challenge which is taking place in cities across the globe from New Zealand to Finland.

“The Maths Megamenger is designed to make maths fun and engaging and will certainly be a visual spectacle once the sponge is complete.”

Anyone wanting to participate in the event can come along to UCLan anytime from 2.00pm on Wednesday 22 October in Maudland Foyer to help build the level two sponge. A talk on fractal curves will also take place at 4.00pm with the event due to finish at 6.00pm.

For more information please contact Charlotte Kestner on 01772 895163 or email ckestner@uclan.ac.uk To find out more about the global Maths Megamenger visit www.megamenger.com or follow the Twitter handle @megamenger

The whole project will use around 1.5 million business cards and will produce a world-spanning fractal of global proportions, in over 20 locations.

A Menger Sponge is a three-dimensional fractal, which can be made by taking a cube and cutting out a square section through the centre in each of the three directions; then each of the resulting smaller cubes is cut out in the same way, and so on until infinitely many pieces have been removed. Each Menger Sponge is made from twenty identical-but-smaller Menger Sponges. This results in an object which has zero volume but infinite surface area.