Inspiring Mathematics

2017 06 13 inspiring mathematics web 05On Monday 13 June 2017, our Year 12 Extension 1 and 2 Mathematics students set off for a Mathematically inspiring day at the University of Sydney (USYD). On arrival, we were greeted, alongside all of the other talented maths students from the various schools in the region, by Professor Jacqui Ramagge, USYD Head of School (Mathematics and Statistics) who spoke to us about the beauty, but predominantly the vital importance of maths, namely data and statistics, to the smooth running of society as a whole. She also encouraged the women in the room to fight societal stereotypes and stigma to pursue STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) fields.

We were then given a short recess break in which we were free to stroll across the famously, castle-like campus of USYD and transverse the nearby food courts.

After recess, all students were then split up and flowed into a handful of lecture rooms, and preceded to be inspired by various universities’ lecturers on an assortment of topics such as the 'Paradoxes of Probability', which delved into the booming data collection industry and also the everyday application of probability (with a humorous look into meaningless links between probabilities, such as the correlation between the divorce rate in the USA and the consumption of margarine). Another seminar called the 'Pi Prime Link' drew the link between the infinite and finite worlds of Mathematics and how that relates to online security, specifically coding and encryption.

The afternoon session, following a lunch break which followed the same framework of the recess break, dug into the content of Extension 1 and 2 Mathematics. My sessions covered the knee-weakening topics of Conics and Complex Numbers. Our Conics lecturer was delightfully quirky, and it was clear that he both knew the content like the back of his hand and loved it. The combination of these two facts allowed him to instil in us his Mathematical wisdom, thoroughly cover the fundamental content of the topic and also keep the room full of teenagers fully engaged for the hour he had. The lecturer for Complex closed the day with a solid refresher of arguably the most difficult Extension 2 Maths topic, by going through a range of past HSC Complex questions.

And with that, at 3:28pm, came the end of the excursion, and what a good day it had been.

Amelia Dorey
Year 12 Student

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