Inspiring mathematical minds

QE mathematicians from all sections of the School drew fresh inspiration for the new academic year from a host of extra-curricular activities during the summer.

  •  – The Year 7 Maths Fair, which featured a morning of events inspired by the national UK Mathematics Trust (UKMT) Team Challenges, but organised as a House competition;
  •  – That was followed by a visit by thirteen boys from Year 12 (now in Year 13) to the Institute of Education for two lectures organised by the London Mathematical Society (LMS);
  •  – The final days of last term saw all of Year 8 involved in a Creative Maths Workshop;
  •  – Yuta Tsuchiya, a pupil now in Year 12, took advantage of a coveted invitation to join the National Mathematics Summer School. 

In the Year 7 Maths Fair (pictured below right), the boys took part in a carousel of activities; some that were familiar mathematical problem-solving activities (A Question of Maths, Cross Numbers) and others that were more practical (Origami, Tangrams).  Then all teams took part in a relay which combined speed in movement about the room with speed in solving a mathematical problem. Each team was supervised by a Year 12 Mathematics student and Sixth-Formers helped with the logistics of the whole event, giving them an opportunity to interact with the youngest boys in the School. All six houses were also required to create a poster on What is Mathematics? for the fair.

""The overall winners were Underne, with 713 points, second was Broughton, with 705, and third Stapylton, with 689.  Underne have subsequently been presented with the Scarisbrick Shield in assembly. The award for best poster went to Harrisons’.

“It was amazing to win the Maths Fair and I’m very proud to be Underne’s captain,” said Nilash Ambihapathy.

This year’s annual LMS Popular Lectures were on:

  • The mathematics of randomness, Professor Martin Hairer, University of Warwick (pictured top)
  • How many…?  Estimating Population Sizes, Dr Ruth King, University of Edinburgh

Prof Hairer, who is one of the world’s foremost experts in the field stochastic partial differential equations, gave a lecture describing how the probability distribution of particles (as observed in Brownian motion) and the probability distribution of stock prices can both be linked to Fourier’s heat equation. Dr King’s was about estimating hidden population sizes using incomplete observational data and applying ratios and proportion using the Lincoln-Peterson estimator and Bayes theorem.

The lectures provoked an enthusiastic response from the QE contingent. “I was amazed by how Brownian motion can be applied to finance,” said Rohan Haldankar.  “The applications of randomness were really interesting,” said fellow Year 12 pupil, Keerthanen Ravichandran, while Akshat Joshi found the explication of how statistical processes can be applied and misused “fascinating”.

""In the Year 8 Creative Maths Workshop, the aim was to discover who had attempted the murder of Michaela Maths, a (fictional) top female footballer. Boys were put into teams of five to solve mathematical clues and thus eliminate the suspects. They also had to create shapes, such as a referee’s whistle and a lion, using only their bodies and whilst listening to more clues.

Yuta’s (pictured above right) invitation to the National Mathematics Summer School, held at Woodhouse Grove School in Leeds, followed his excellent performance in the Intermediate Mathematical Olympiad. He joined around 40 of the UK’s most talented young mathematicians.

Sponsored by the UKMT, the six-day event included whole-group masterclasses, small group work and team competitions. However, there was also time for relaxation, with evening events such as bowling and a mathematical mélange in which participants could display their musical, dramatic or juggling ability.