Maths Week Scotland is a brand new initiative for everyone to experience the benefits, joy and beauty of maths in exciting new ways.
Join us at the James Watt II lecture theatre on the Edinburgh campus on the afternoon of Wednesday 13th September 2017 for an entertaining afternoon of maths activities! We invite everyone from P7 to S6 to engage in our exciting master classes.
14:15 - 14:20 Introduction by Professor Bernd Schroers, Head of the Department of Mathematics
14:20 - 14:50 Game of Life: Professor Des Johnston (geared towards P7 to S3)
Professor Des Johnston will teach us about The Game of Life, invented by the British mathematician John Horton Conway in 1970. The Game of Life is a zero-player game which is played on a square grid like a chess board on which cells live, die or are born according to very simple rules. In many ways these cells behave like living things, in spite of the simplicity of the rules that govern their fate. In fact, the Game of Life is one of the best examples in science of how a few simple rules can result in incredibly complex, lifelike patterns. It's also just incredibly cool to watch.
14:50 - 15:20 Only Connect: Professor Nick Gilbert (geared towards S1 to S6)
So much of modern life is about the connections that we make, using instant access to information on the internet, or instant communication on social media, or sharing with networks of contacts, friends, and followers. Professor Nick Gilbert will explain us what kind of mathematics might help us to understand these connections, and what will it tell us about their structure and the shape of our new digital lives!
15:20 - 15:50 Break for refreshments
15:50 - 16:20 The Maths of Juggling: Associate Professor Robert Weston & PhD student Iain Findlay (geared towards S1 to S6)
Modern mathematics is not interested in sums - computers do those. It is not even that interested in equations. Instead it is mostly concerned with understanding complex patterns and structures, stripping away unnecessary complications and describing them in the simplest and most concise way. Once this is done, you can manipulate the mathematical structures obtained, make precise statements and predictions, and truly understand the underlying systems. In this session, Associate Professor Robert Weston and PhD student Iain Findlay show how this approach works for juggling! The mathematical description of juggling was developed only recently, and has revolutionized the whole practice of juggling. Using this description, people can describe, invent and learn new juggles far more efficiently. The key step in this understanding was to develop a good 'notation' for juggling. We shall get you up to speed on this notation, demonstrate some juggles, and try to change the way you think about mathematics.
16:20 - 16:50 Keep calm, I'm an actuary: Associate Professor Gavin Reid (geared towards S1 to S6)
Want to learn how to apply maths to predict the future of finance and save the world?! An interactive session led by Associate Professor Gavin Reid will help you understand how you can apply maths in the real world of money. We'll talk about the role of an actuary in managing risks in financial companies, like insurers, pension funds and investment managers, in order to protect people and their money. You'll have the chance to have a go at some of the day-to-day calculations that actuaries actually do, and we'll have a look at the risks involved in some real life financial problems facing the world today. How much would you charge Andy Murray for life insurance? How much money should the Scottish government put aside just in case the new Forth Road Bridge goes over budget? Would you make boys pay more for car insurance than girls? It's all in a day's work for an actuary!