The next Piccadilly line train is leaving from ....

As of the 23rd May 2022 this website is archived and will receive no further updates.

was produced by the Winton programme for the public understanding of risk based in the Statistical Laboratory in the University of Cambridge. The aim was to help improve the way that uncertainty and risk are discussed in society, and show how probability and statistics can be both useful and entertaining.

Many of the animations were produced using Flash and will no longer work.

Kings Cross Station now not only has a platform 9$\frac{3}{4}$, but also a platform 0. And for the numerically challenged, there are repeated announcements that 'customers are advised that Platform 0 is situated next to Platform 1'

kings-cross.JPG

I suppose the Underground platforms will now have to be given complex numbers.

[That is an unofficial entry from the Department of Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics, University of Cambridge, for next year's Round Britain Mathematical Joke competition.]

Levels: 

Comments

"And for the numerically challenged, there are repeated announcements that 'customers are advised that Platform 0 is situated next to Platform 1' "

The station at Newcastle upon Tyne do not have a Platform 0, but the platform numbering is designed to challenge assumptions that it reflects the sequence passengers see as they walk from one side to the other. As platform 11 is the first platform, this is rather inconvenient when you don't know the system and have 1 minute to find your train.

"The station at Newcastle upon Tyne do not have a Platform 0, but the platform numbering is designed to challenge assumptions that it reflects the sequence passengers see as they walk from one side to the other. As platform 11 is the first platform, this is rather inconvenient when you don't know the system and have 1 minute to find your train." Yes and I suppose some might expect to find platform 10 or even 100 as the next one on from platform 11?

I really want to get this joke .... but at the moment I can't see why they'd be complex rather than negative. I always tell people 'the further you take maths, the further it will take you' .... and it looks like I didn't take it far enough. :(

If they started building platforms in York Road, these would be negative as they are the other side of 0. But the underground platforms are below platforms 0,1,2 etc, so they form a new dimension, and is analogous to mathematical idea of the complex plane. But after all this explanation the joke seems a bit weak, to be honest!

This is mysterious. Had the Platform 0 been at the adjacent St Pancras, then one might suspect an unfortunate Bourbakist infection brought over on the wheels of Eurostar.

  • That is an unofficial entry ... for next year's Round Britain Mathematical Joke competition.
  • Shouldn't underground platforms have negative numbers? ;)

    Here in the Netherlands the railways have adopted a flexible approach that allows operators to change train tracks at the last minute. Hence, announcements now say that train such-and-such will leave from platform 1... or 2. (The two platforms being next to each other, fortunately.) It is just a matter of time before they will start announcing expected values, I suppose.