Sir William Borlase's Grammar School

Year 12 Maths Fest

Year 12 attend all day festival of maths at Royal Institution in London

On the 8 February, a group of year 12 students were fortunate enough to attend MathsFest 2022, an all-day festival of maths for sixth form students to celebrate and be inspired by mathematics. It took  place at the Royal Institution in London, one of the most prestigious venues in the UK.   Students were welcomed by stand-up mathematician and host Matt Parker. This was followed by 5 lectures from mathematicians who took their skillset and applied it to real life situations. 

How quickly can people leave a crowded stadium? This was a question asked by Aoife Hunt, an industrial modelling expert, who then applied quadratic graphs and other GCSE and A level content to calculate crowd flow - festivals and other crowded events, making use of this for example to optimise safety in case of emergencies. 

“It’s not fair!”. But it could be using mathematics. Rob Eastway did a fantastic lecture on guilt as well as presenting us with the best way to split cake into 3 pieces, satisfying everyone. We ended the day with “the sound of silence”. Ben Sparks and his twin, Tim, performed their version of the song, after explaining why there are 12 notes in an octave - it’s based on the pythagorean theorem, where each note’s frequency is placed in an algorithm to form a chromatic scale.

During day two Borlase students, Laurence Bedford and Dylan Gadsdon, took part in Maths Slam, a competition where students from different schools presented different areas in maths that they find interesting. Did you know that by 17 you are over 50% dead? An interesting concept! 

It was a thoroughly enjoyable and inspiring day and I certainly came away with the realisation of how exciting, useful and rewarding maths is a subject to study. 

Weronika Naks,  Year 12