Maths Inspiration
Wednesday 13th November 2019

On Wednesday 6th November a group of Year 10 students along with Mr Rodgers and Mr Longley went to the Crucible Theatre as part of the Maths Inspiration Trip. This consisted of receiving a speech from three different professionals with different backgrounds all of whom use Maths daily but not in the way most would expect.

The first speaker was John Roberts – A director at one of the leading Engineering firms in the UK. He spoke in great detail about how he is one of the leaders in Theme Park design and revealed he was lead engineer on The London Eye, ‘The Big One’ (at Blackpool) and the ‘i360’ in Brighton. He explained to the students how the maths he uses day to day to create such structures are not too far removed from what they are learning now (Pythagoras Theorem / Trigonometry / Area / Surface Area / Multiplication / Division / Speed, Distance, Time / Angles) He was also involved with the car programme ‘Top Gear’ He was the man who did the calculations behind a number stunts performed on the show.

The second speaker was Yolanda Ohene – a lady Physicist who uses Maths in her job to help her to take the ‘ultimate selfie’. She explained how she uses Maths to plot and calculate pictures and to map the human brain. She showed the students how the use of colour and mathematics links into the creation of an image and how by changing certain numbers behind the image the outcome is something far different to what you would expect. She explained how she is currently using the numbers behind images to study how the human brain can be affected by different diseases.

The final speaker of the afternoon was Ben Sparks – a Mathematician (and musician who has played at the White House!) He spoke to the students about the overall beauty of Maths and just how much you can do with Maths and Numbers. He spoke about Probability and how we use it in our day to day lives without realising. He explained how as humans we calculate the probability of events happening and not happening and often the risk and reward of various situations without being aware. He then proceeded to show the probability of certain hands in a game of cards and wowed the students by showing that there are 2.5 million possible hands you can be dealt in a game of poker and that there are only 40 possible ways of getting the best hand in poker! He also showed the students how Maths can be used to calculate the chance of being in a room with people who share a birthday – He proved that in a room of 60 people, the chance of there being two people who share a birthday is 99.4%.

On the whole, the event was thoroughly informative and showed how Maths can be used in many different ways. The only slight disappointment of the day was the journey; which with thanks to road works in Sheffield, an accident on the Parkway and the relentless rain took two hours!

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