Two of our SwissMAP members, Nikita Nikolaev and Beatriz Navarro celebrated their wedding in January this year. They met while studying in Toronto and as both of them are mathematicians they decided to invite mathematics itself to their wedding. This unusual guest of honour appeared in different roles: in the form of a tailored made mathematically themed cake, as custom-made mobius wedding rings and with the important responsibility of usher at the wedding reception.
Indeed, as a gesture of gratitude and appreciation of their guest’s attendance, the bride and groom prepared a special memento for each one of them. Every guest was presented with a unique mathematical question which they had to solve in order to find their seat at the table. Needless to say, there was a lot of preparation and research involved as the level of difficulty and subject matter were adapted according to the mathematical knowledge of each of the 60 invited guests. Over half of them had a research-level mathematical background and their questions were drawn directly from their research papers or thesis. For guests with less mathematical background, personalised questions were prepared, often around an object associated to the person’s interests.
The carefully planned system ensured there was no room for error. Each question was presented with 3 multiple choice answers, and of the two incorrect answers one was made obviously incorrect. To avoid any possible confusion, people’s names were placed in the seats and also Important to point out, the seating plan with the names was also available in the hall at all times as additional security and mainly for any late arrivals.
All guests were delighted to participate and appreciated the thought, time and effort that was put in recognition of their attendance.
We wish Nikita Nikolaev and Beatriz Navarro all the best!
Nikita and Beatriz
custom-made mobius wedding rings
mathematically themed cake
Finding your table
Some of the guests statements:
"[showing his name card with question] This is the most beautiful thing. It's from my last paper! I am going to keep it, and I have to send it to my collaborator."
"When I opened it, I thought `oh wow, that's from mine and [my collaborator's] paper!' That's amazing, I sent it to [my collaborator] and said `look, someone has actually read our paper!'"
"I love this question! You know that I have an entire collection of Rubik's cubes and things, right? This is just so perfect, I love it!"
"My question, I read it and I was like `Oh my god! Nikita explained this to me in July, that is so cool!'"
“the math questions to find your spot at dinner was fun. I think everyone enjoyed it and every single question was customised. It's usually the case at weddings that absolutely everything is about the couple, but you two fully incorporated your guests into the wedding which is very special.”
Examples of two different level questions: