A number of Year 11 students, along with students from Dereham Sixth Form, attended the Norfolk Mathematics Symposium at the Space in Norwich on Tuesday 7th November. While at the event their got the opportunity to listen and interact with three speakers who use mathematics as part of their day-to-day jobs.

Chris Budd, a professor of applied mathematics at the University of Bath, spoke about how mathematics is used to model historical data and use this alongside known variables to map the planets climate over thousands of years, whilst also predicting current patterns moving forwards.

Sophie Maclean, a mathematician, and experience mathematics communicator who is currently studying towards a PhD in Maths in London, spoke about the mathematics used in predicting trends in the stock market and how our knowledge of topics such as provability can be used in the real world by companies and individuals to make profits (and try and minimising the risk of loss). One student comments: “I enjoyed this talk a lot due to the opportunities to interact with the questions posed by the speaker relating to financial models.”

The final speaker, Colin Wright, is a mathematician working within the fields of Combinatorics and Graph Theory. Colin spoke about how his work is used in shipping in ways very similar to the modelling used with radar for tracking planes to predict model and avert incidents between vessels. He also spoke about how his knowledge in this filed is used in solving mathematical problems and how we can use mathematics to model and create tricks used in the art of juggling. A student noted that it was nice to see maths being used in a more unusual setting.

Poppi, who attended the Maths Symposium said, ‘It was a chance to hear from guest speakers with a real passion for Maths, and find out more about Maths in the outside world and its applications. The guest speakers were Chris Budd, a professor of applied mathematics at the University of Bath; Sophie Maclean, a mathematician and experienced maths communicator currently studying for a PhD in Maths in London; and Colin Wright (aka The Maths Juggler), a mathematician working in the fields of Combinatorics and Graph Theory.’

Amy commented, ‘I really enjoyed listening to all of the speeches and how maths applies to many aspects in life. My favourite speech had to be the juggling one as it showed how maths can be used in things that you would least expect.’

Alex mentioned, ‘It was very interesting and eye opening to see how many things maths aids, for example I never would have thought that juggling balls would be affected so much by mathematical patterns.’

Chris said, ‘The first speech on using maths to predict climate change and weather was my favourite, as we saw how maths can be applied in such a useful way.’

A big thank you to Mr Carter and Mr Lound for organising the trip and giving our Year 11s an opportunity to see maths used in different contexts.