When: Thursday 16 August 2012
Where: The Guild Bar, QUT Gardens Point
Organised by: QUT as part of National Science Week

I made the rookie error of mentioning to my colleagues that I was heading to a comedy show about maths. That’s when the calculator jokes started (rDrr).

Once the laughter had subsided I was able to grab my maths buddy (who would also serve as interpreter at this particular event) and make my way across the river to QUT’s Guild Bar.

Within two minutes of comedian Simon Pampena taking the stage, it was obvious the composition of this particular audience. The opening question was ‘who loves maths the most?’, which quickly led into a chant of ‘Aussie Aussie Aussie – maths, maths maths!’. Yes, as a marketing and media major, I was going to feel pretty out of place on campus tonight.

But I quickly settling into an enjoyable routine of being amused, impressed, and baffled (possibly not in a 1:1:1 ratio). Pampena managed to rewrite this classic (think, I like big sums…), recite π to about 40 decimal places, justify why Australia actually topped the Olympic medal tally in Beijing (hint: it had to do with Jamaica and murder statistics) and pitch an entirely plausible episode of Neighbours around Pythagoras’ theorem.

When it came to the Fame Algorithm itself, Pampena presented a case evidenced through 80s rock music (looking at the ratio of sex : drugs : rock’n’roll), and then examined elements such as talent, money and sex to prove that all fame isn’t the result of the former.

So, summing up, what did you miss? The opportunity to discover who mathematicians pay out (physicists) and the chance to have a good nerdy chuckle over a nice cold beer.

For Simon’s upcoming performances, keep an eye on his website or Twitter account, @mathemaniac.