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December 10th 2019

An Inspirational maths trip for Year 12

On Thursday 5 December, girls from our Sixth Form in Year 12 taking Maths A Level had the opportunity to attend a Maths Inspiration lecture in London. The lecture consisted of three fun, interactive and engaging talks about how maths is used in many different aspects of life. 

The first talk was presented by Rob Eastaway, who taught us the importance of estimation and maths on ‘the back of an envelope’. It made us realise the importance of using your own brain and not just relying on our calculators.

We had a challenge in which we had to calculate the number of seconds that had passed since January 1 1970. This prompted us to test our estimation skills. Our tactic was to use figures we already knew to make the estimation easier. Did you know that there are 525,600 minutes in a year?!

The next talk, by Hannah Fry, who is soon going to present the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures on TV, was about probability and made us think about statistics we see and what they really mean. She also gave us an insight into how robots are programmed and how it is sometimes more effective to let the robot practice and find out itself what it is looking for. Hannah used an example of how robots can detect eye diseases where doctors struggle simply by using past data. Amazingly these robots can now even determine the patients’ gender with 97% accuracy by just the scan. This is impossible for even the most senior doctors to do!

The final talk was very entertaining as Colin Wright demonstrated his secret talent for juggling which he then revealed was all just maths and patterns. The different juggling tricks all depend on the number of balls you have and how high you throw them. The ability to predict juggling tricks has given Colin a skill that he now uses in his day job as the director of a global marine radar company. 

Overall, the experience was inspiring and informative. It showed us how maths can be used outside the classroom. We thoroughly enjoyed it.


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