Friday, January 18, 2008


Two short flights, Trondheim to Oslo to Haugesund. Ingvill and I swapped math problems on the way. Here's one I quite like:

Candle Two-Distance Puzzle: Arrange 4 candles on a table (2D arrangement) so that the distances between any two candles are only one of two lengths. For example, arrange 3 in an equilateral triangle and place one in the center. Measuring from one candle to another, there are only two different lengths: the edge length of the equilateral triangle, and the length from a point of the triangle to the center. How many arrangements can you find that satisfy this two-length requirement?

I've found 5 so far, I'm told there's another.

We stayed at a nice hotel on the water, and in the morning the rektor of Skudeneshavn Skole picked us up and we drove to the island of Karmøy. Off the southwest coast of Norway, this is quite a beautiful place. Rolling rocky hills covered with mossy grass and sheep, old houses and picturesque old farms, the road winding along the coast. I forgot to bring my camera (curses!) so I stole this picture from Wikipedia:

Finally we reached the school. And wow! What a school! The playground on this school won an award as the best in Norway. There are play areas surrounding the school, each quite different. The crown jewel is a huge area known as "The Jungle," made primarily from tires. Ropes and rope ladders hang all around, and kids swing and climb in all directions. Here's a picture that doesn't do the area justice at all:

I've been invited back in April so I'll be sure to have a camera then and show many of the wonders of the school, both inside and out.

In the morning we met with a team of 7 math specialists, working on advanced math topics. This was all in Norwegian, and I was delighted to be able to follow most of the discussion. Math is easy to understand. After lunch we met with 20 local teachers and had an afternoon of math activities which I helped facilitate.

Afterwards, Einar (the rektor, or principal) took us to the old town, which is the best preserved in all of Europe. It is a harbor town with 225 buildings which date to the 1700s. It felt like a trip back in time.

Here's a few pics Ingvill took:

[insert ingvill pics here]

Finally, back home again, arriving 27 hours after departure.. More puzzles on the plane trips... my brain is very full and happy.

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