Friday 30 September was the last day of employment at the University of Prof. Adam C. McBride, OBE. Throughout his academic career, in addition to important contributions to fractional calculus, special functions, integral transforms, and semigroup theory, he has been an inspirational teacher to generations of Strathclyde students and far beyond, motivating and amusing high school pupils and teachers alike, in Scotland and down south. He has done a lot for the UK’s success at the International Mathematical Olympiads, and of course the wonderful November trips to the Burn will never be the same without his leadership (although we understand he may be tempted to come along as a participant…)
I would like to give you a puzzle he’s often presented to warm up the audience at the Burn.
Suppose you have a three digit number which is not a palindrome. Turn it around. So if you started with 723, now you have 327. Subtract the smaller number from the larger one. Call the result x. Turn it around. Call the new number y. Now add x and y. If your result is anything but 1089, you cannot add or subtract or both (Adam would never have said that!), but if you do obtain 1089, explain why.
DoF wishes Adam a long, healthy, productive, and enjoyable retirement!
If anyone wants to share any other anecdotes or mathematical trivia from Adam’s career at Strathclyde, please use the comments below (but bear in mind that Adam can read this blog too!)