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Page last updated at 07:49 GMT, Thursday, 30 October 2008
Marcus' maths quiz


Marcus du Sautoy, the man who will succeed Richard Dawkins as professor for the understanding of science at the University of Oxford, has a mission to break down people's fear of maths. Don't be scared, but he has set a few questions for the Today programme.


1.) Question 1

A temple was built in 50 BC and burnt down 75 years later. In what year did it burn down?

  1. 24 AD
  2. 25 AD
  3. 26 AD

2.) Question 2

A mathematical biker decides to sell his bike. The advert says the bike costs £1000 + half its price. How much is the bike?

  1. £1500
  2. £1750
  3. £2000

3.) Question 3

Imagine picking up a cube with your thumb placed at one corner of the cube and your finger at the furthest corner on the other side of the cube. Now cut the cube exactly down the middle between your finger and thumb. You have two pieces each with a new face. What is the shape of that new face?

  1. Hexagonal
  2. Square
  3. Triangular

4.) Question 4

97 people enter a tennis tournament. How many matches do you need to arrange to find a winner?

  1. 48
  2. 96
  3. 97

5.) Question 5

What is the next number in the sequence? 10001, 122, 101, 32, 25, 23, 21 ...

  1. 20
  2. 18
  3. 15


  1. 26 AD. There was no year 0.
  2. £2000. Let B be the price of the bike. Then B = 1000 + B/2. So B-B/2 = B/2 = 1000. So that means B is 2000.
  3. A hexagon. You cut through all the 6 faces of the cube. Each face contributes an edge to the shape.
  4. 96. Each contestant loses once except for the champion.
  5. 18. This was a tough one. 18 is 17 in base 9. They are the prime number 17 in different bases. 10001 is binary for 17=1x16+0x8+0x4+0x2+1x1. 122 is 17 in base 3. 17=1x9+2x3+2x1 101 is 17 in base 4. 17=1x16+0x4+1x1.

How do you feel?

0 - 2 : Quaking in your boots

3 - 4 : Starting to enjoy it

5 - 5 : I love maths

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