Colin Wright’s Talk ‘Juggling Theory and Practice’


Our guest speaker is Dr Colin Wright who will speak on ‘Juggling Theory and Practice‘. We are welcoming back Colin for the second year.

The connection between juggling and mathematics comes from a remarkable mathematical way to specify juggling patterns, called site swap notation. The idea is this: encode each throw by its height.

A throw of height 3 gives enough time for two more throws before the ball comes back down, and generally, a throw of height n gives time for n-1 throws before the ball has to be caught. If hands alternate it follows that throws of odd height are from one hand to another, while throws throws of even height are thrown and caught by the same hand.

For example 33333 is five throws of the three ball cascade, the most basic juggling pattern. The Wikipedia article linked to above gives more examples.

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