Maths Inspiration Trip

Tuesday 1st March 2016

On Monday 29 February, a group of mathematicians from U5 and L6 went to a ‘Maths Inspiration’ Talk at the Hexagon in Reading. Guests speakers included Hannah Fry, Rob Eastaway and Paul Shephard, speaking on ‘Hidden Connections’, ‘Decision-Decisions’ and ‘Raising the Roof in Rio’. Pupils Kate Hillas and Britta Anderson have provided below an account of the trip:

“The talks were about maths in the context of applied scenarios, presented in an entertaining way. We found the talk given by Hannah Fry particularly interesting. She spoke about the hidden connections present in everyday life.

Initially she illustrated Benford’s law using volunteers from the audience to produce random numbers by looking through a newspaper and asking audience members how many Twitter followers they have. This showed that integers starting with a lower number are more common than those starting with a higher number and numbers starting with a nine are the most rare.

She then moved on to explain the formation of traffic jams, which seem to appear out of no where and come in waves of traffic. This is because drivers are influenced by other drivers around them. As a result, as the traffic begins to move forwards, the traffic jam gradually moves back through the cars causing a traffic jam to appear from no where.

Overall, we really enjoyed the afternoon and it gave us an insight to how maths is applied in everyday life.”

Written by Kate Hillas and Britta Anderson