Maths in Action

On Monday 14th November the Mathematics Department took more than 30 Sixth Form Mathematicians to an A Level Maths in Action day at Warwick University.

Here the girls were treated to five excellent short lectures from career mathematicians on a range of topics.

Sara Jabbari from the University of Birmingham explained how she works with Biologists from around the world who require mathematical modelling to find solutions to problems, such as how to combat the increasing rise in antibiotic resistant bacteria. Colin Wright gave an insight into the game of Nim; an easy game to start playing and I’m sure lots of people will now be having a go at this in their spare time, for example while waiting for food in a restaurant!

The mathematicians were also shown how Binary numbers played a part in selecting the winning strategy. Sophie Maclean showed some of the current research into prime numbers and how these numbers are used for data encryption.

The final session of the day was by Dr Matt Pritchard, a magician and a member of the Magic Circle. His use of mathematics to create illusions and seemingly impossible tricks was very entertaining.

Mrs Sarah Sandys, Head of Maths at Headington, said: “Throughout the day we had an excellent insight into how mathematics can be explored and applied in a variety of ways. Students were encouraged to think creatively and inspired to think about how they might use mathematics in their future careers!”

The following day, 46 L5 and U5 pupils attended a GCSE Maths in Action day at the same venue.

The girls heard from Alison Kiddle, who showed the statistics which illustrate that one is more likely to be struck by lightening than win the lottery. Matthew Scroggs, from University College London, demonstrated how versatile polynomials are in the real world and Sophie Maclean explained how colouring can help solve some interesting mathematical conundra.

After lunch the volume was really turned up when Dr Mark Lewney, played his rock guitar to help answer the question, ‘Does maths really exist, or is it just something people do?’

The grand finale was from Harry Baker, poet, maths graduate and World Poetry Slam Champion, who entertained the audience with a Jay-Z Maths homage, an Ed Sheeran inspired piece and his prime number poetry. Below is a picture of his performance on the day.