LOOP world championship: in pictures!

 The tournament was held in the Round Room at Port Eliot, Cornwall, on July 31 and August 1, 2015. The room,  designed in 1804 by Sir John Soane,  is one of the architectural highlights of Port Eliot. British artist Robert Lenkiewicz spent 30 years on and off painting the mural and it is considered his masterpiece. With so much British architectural and artistic heritage in the room it seemed the perfect venue to make sporting history with the launch of LOOP. The pocket was positioned directly underneath the centre of the chandelier. Picture: Michael Bowles.

The tournament was held in the Round Room at Port Eliot, Cornwall, on July 31 and August 1, 2015. The room, designed in 1804 by Sir John Soane, is one of the architectural highlights of Port Eliot. British artist Robert Lenkiewicz spent 30 years on and off painting the mural and it is considered his masterpiece. With so much British architectural and artistic heritage in the room it seemed the perfect venue to make sporting history with the launch of LOOP. The pocket was positioned directly underneath the centre of the chandelier. Picture: Michael Bowles.

 I introduced the table with a short explanation of the ellipse from Apollonius to today, demonstrating the unique geometry of LOOP and setting out the rules. Many in the audience were grateful that in addition to seeing the launch of a new sport they were given a maths lesson too.  Picture: Alex Bellos.

I introduced the table with a short explanation of the ellipse from Apollonius to today, demonstrating the unique geometry of LOOP and setting out the rules. Many in the audience were grateful that in addition to seeing the launch of a new sport they were given a maths lesson too.  Picture: Alex Bellos.

 The first match was between Fred Wobus (in the top picture) and Mat Connolley (this picture). Six other people took part in a knock-out tournament on the first day: Mark Davey, Paul Illingsworth, Simon Bray, Quin Kirwan, Alex Demaunay and Simon Burr. Simon Burr defeated Fred in the final, making him Day 1 champion and winning him a place in the play-off for the world title. Picture: Michael Bowles. 

The first match was between Fred Wobus (in the top picture) and Mat Connolley (this picture). Six other people took part in a knock-out tournament on the first day: Mark Davey, Paul Illingsworth, Simon Bray, Quin Kirwan, Alex Demaunay and Simon Burr. Simon Burr defeated Fred in the final, making him Day 1 champion and winning him a place in the play-off for the world title. Picture: Michael Bowles. 

 Eight more contestants took part on the second day: David Spiegelhalter (above), Gavin Pretor-Pinney, Lucy Cooke, Jamie Brisick, Ali Macloed, Paul Kirkby, Girma Tadele and Barney Shepherd. Spiegelhalter won the knock-out and played Simon Burr in the grand final. Picture: Alex Bellos.

Eight more contestants took part on the second day: David Spiegelhalter (above), Gavin Pretor-Pinney, Lucy Cooke, Jamie Brisick, Ali Macloed, Paul Kirkby, Girma Tadele and Barney Shepherd. Spiegelhalter won the knock-out and played Simon Burr in the grand final. Picture: Alex Bellos.

 David Spiegelhalter, Winton Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk at Cambridge University, has an OBE and is a Fellow of the Royal Society. His most recent, and possibly most cherished laurel, however, is the LOOP world title. Spiegelhalter skilfully defeated Burr in the grand final to gasps and cheers from the audience. Here he is with the world championship trophy, the Golden Cone. Picture: Alex Bellos.

David Spiegelhalter, Winton Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk at Cambridge University, has an OBE and is a Fellow of the Royal Society. His most recent, and possibly most cherished laurel, however, is the LOOP world title. Spiegelhalter skilfully defeated Burr in the grand final to gasps and cheers from the audience. Here he is with the world championship trophy, the Golden Cone. Picture: Alex Bellos.

The Golden Cone

The ellipse is the curve you get when you slice through a cone so that the knife comes cleanly out the other side. For this reason the ellipse is known as a "conic section". 

The cone therefore seemed the most appropriate shape for the Loop World Championship trophy.  

Here it is: the Golden Cone. 

Best of luck to all who take part at Port Eliot this weekend! The tournament starts tomorrow.

First LOOP World Championship announced

 The Round Room at Port Eliot, Cornwall. Photograph: Fiona Campbell

The Round Room at Port Eliot, Cornwall. Photograph: Fiona Campbell

LOOP will be officially launched at the Port Eliot Festival in Cornwall on July 31 and August 1, 2015. The stunning and historic Round Room at Port Eliot will be the geometrically satisfying arena in which contestants compete in the First Loop World Championship. More information on the Port Eliot Festival 2015 website.

An eccentric project

Unlike circles, which all have the same shape, ellipses can be one of an infinite number of shapes. You can make them long and thin, like a surf board, or almost circular, like, um, a circle.

 Eccentricity is 0.91

Eccentricity is 0.91

 Eccentricity is 0.67

Eccentricity is 0.67

 Eccentricity is 0.33

Eccentricity is 0.33

Ellipses are classified according to their ECCENTRICITY, which is a measure of how far they are from being a circle. Eccentricity is calculated by dividing the distance between the focus points by the distance of the longest, or major axis. The further apart the focus points, the higher the eccentricity is. The closer the focus points, the smaller it is. 

The eccentricity of an ellipse will be between 0 and 1.

 
 Eccentricity is 0.43 

Eccentricity is 0.43 

 

I chose an eccentricity of 3/7, or 0.43, for LOOP. I didn't want to go higher than that since the table becomes too narrow, and I didn't want to go lower, since you can't clearly see the elliptical shape.