Matt Parker – The Number Ninja

On the face of it a whole show dedicated to numbers and mathematics night not sound great entertainment, unless you are interested in numbers and mathematics that is. Oddly enough, I am interested which is why I was at Matt Parker’s show on Friday evening.

Matt Parker is the self-styled Number Ninja, and he is one of the people on The Infinite Monkey Cage. That should place him in the scientific spectrum…he is a mathematics nerd, and proud of it, he revels in it. Such enthusiasm for numbers and maths. It’s highly infectious.

I went with my friend Janie who probably wouldn’t describe herself as a number nerd, but the show was pitched so precisely that there was an enormous amount of maths entertainment for the whole range of the audience, both Janie and I enjoyed the show immensely despite our different numerical backgrounds.

Matt did some quick number tricks, introduced us to barcode and check digits, showed off his new scarf which has a binary pattern, but which also contains a message when converted, and is good enough to recover from a knitting error where one of the 1s has been knitted as a 0, because the pattern repeats and so it’s a self-correcting binary scarf. How cool is that.

Non-transitive dice, huge numbers leading up to the Graham number, lots of jokes about meta data…very nerdy at times yet oddly inclusive. Some members of the audience had brought calculators…it was that sort of crowd.

Matt is a great entertainer. He has such enthusiasm for the subject it’s infectious. He could have gone on for hours I am sure. With luck he’ll be back in the area on tour again soon.

Oh, and he has a website which sells some of the toys he demonstrated. The non-transitive dice and a must-have and I shall be looking out for the binary scarf…patterns are already on the internet, just need a knitter to make one…


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