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Maths: back by popular demand

CleverClogs, NCE's brain-teasing maths challenge, returns next week by popular demand. Question master Antony Oliver explains.

Nine months of competition involving over 1,000 engineers highlighted last year just how passionately interested civil engineers are in mathematics.

CleverClogs grew from a debate on the pages of NCE over whether or not A level maths was still a basic requirement for professional civil engineers. Your reaction reinforced that engineers still value mathematics ability hugely as one of the most important fundamentals of the profession.

Which is precisely why we are bringing it back.

While the weekly questions gave engineers across the UK a common challenge each week, it was the live final of CleverClogs 2004 that provided the greatest insight into the truly stunning mathematical ability in our midst (see profile of the 2004 winner, Mouchel Parkman's Ben Gibson on page 50). People providing accurate solutions to mathematical problems against the clock and with an audience looking on was amazing to witness.

The CleverClogs 2005 live final will be held at Civils 2005 at Olympia, London, on 24 November. Ahead of this we will have dozens of questions to challenge you, entertain you and, we hope, reinforce the profound importance of the mathematical skills that define our profession.

As in 2004, a tie breaker will be employed to select the finalists.

Take part in the competition, either individually or as a team.

But if not, simply sit back and enjoy the questions.

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