Juggling Numbers, Escape Routes & Probability of Roofs collapsing – The Theatrics of Maths
By Anika S, Year 10 Journalist Leader
On November 29th, the Year 10s had the fantastic opportunity to attend a lecture from the international Maths Inspiration programme. The Maths Inspiration programme began in 2004 and has had over 200,000 teenagers attending the talks since, making it one of the largest and most successful maths programmes in the UK.
We were lucky to listen to a variety of speakers, including Aoife Hunt, Paul Shepherd and Colin Wright.
The talks were aimed at students from Years 10 – 13 and the lecture was held in the Phoenix Theatre, which made it even more engaging as the atmosphere was quite exciting due to the dimmed lights and cinematic feel. We met at Tottenham Court Road station, and made our way to the theatre in the cold. The lectures ran from 10 am to 1:15pm and started with a talk by Aoife Hunt on the ‘Shape of escape’. She talked about how she works with large organisations to calculate the movement of large crowds in even larger areas.
The next talk was by Paul Shepherd titled, ‘Simply the Best.’ He discussed the maths behind structures in our everyday lives and showed us some of the projects he had worked on. His talk was probably the most interactive, as he invited some pupils onto the stage to demonstrate some of his ideas (one of the pupils being from our very own school).
We then had a short break before the last talk which was by Colin Wright on ‘Patterns, Predictions and Juggling’. As you might have noticed from the title, yes, we did witness some fantastic juggling skills. He talked about how his hobby for juggling was actually quite dependent on Maths and how we can learn to predict or even create new patterns or ways of juggling using it. This was definitely everyone’s highlight of the show, as his juggling skills did not only amaze the audience, the idea that we could predict the patterns shown intrigued us. However, that being said, all of the speakers made us question our thoughts on the subject and definitely helped us view it from a different perspective.
Overall, the talks were presented beautifully, they had everyone hooked and engaged. The speakers did an amazing job with keeping the audience entertained yet teaching us more about their topics. We were definitely a bit sceptical at first, at the idea of sitting for a Maths lecture however, I am delighted to say that it was a great experience and one I would definitely go to see again (if it takes place again next year).
A huge thank you to the teachers who organised the trip, we really enjoyed it!