Calendar Calculation Made Simple

Published on Sunday, December 28, 2014 in , , , , ,

DafneCholet's Calendar* photoAs we wrap up the year, it's natural for thoughts to turn to the calendar.

Yes, I've talked about calendar calculation many times before, but I'm always on the lookout for better methods and better teaching. MindYourDecision.com's Presh Talwalkar, whom you may remember from last week's post, is back this week with some great calendar calculation lessons!

Let's face it, calendar calculation can sometimes seem daunting. One of the best approaches to learning such a skill for the first time is to ease yourself into it. Presh's starting approach is to teach you how to work out New Year's Day for any date from 2000 to 2099:

Try practicing this skill for yourself. First, use Wolfram|Alpha to get a random year in the 2000s, workout the day of the week for New Year's Day as above, and then verify your answer with Wolfram|Alpha.

It's not difficult, and once you get the hang of this skill, you're ready to move on to the next step.

Using the New Year's Day skill as a starting point, Presh then introduces you to John Horton Conway's well-known Doomsday approach to calendar calculation:

Once again, practice is the key here. You can use Wolfram|Alpha to generate a random date in the 2000s, work it out using the above method, and then verify the correct date using Wolfram|Alpha again.

If you're interested in calendar calculation in general, I not only have several posts about it here on Grey Matters, but numerous lessons, including quizzes, about calendar calculation over in the Mental Gym. Once you get the knack, it's amazing where you can take this skill!

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