Florence Nightingale Day
Wednesday 17 April 2013, 1000-1530, Management School Building, Lancaster University.
The Florence Nightingale Day was part of our continuing efforts to promote mathematics and statistics and especially the participation of women in those subjects. The day was aimed especially at female students in year 12 but was open to male students too. It was organised by Dr Nadia Mazza and Dr James Groves, with help from colleagues and post-graduate students.
While Florence Nightingale is well-known for her medical work as a nurse, she was also a pioneer in statistics, especially in the use of visualisation of statistical data. A description of this work may be found in her biography on the MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, along with a large number of biographies of other female mathematicians.
The event comprised talks by prominent female mathematicians, a maths contest and opportunities for informal discussions over a buffet lunch and at a number of information stands. A summary of the talks and activities for the day is below.
Below you will also find a link to the quiz sheet used in the "Hands On Maths!" session. These questions were drawn from the following sources:
Talks and activities
What did they think of the Day?
The organiser of the event was delighted from the enthusiasm throughout the day, and the feedback received was that participants and speakers enjoyed all the activities, especially the maths contest! A few comments from students...
- About the whole event:
- "great idea: went well."
"Worth the long journey, learnt a lot and have a better idea of career and university course :)"
- About the speakers:
- "Interesting speakers. They explored aspects of maths I was not aware of."
- About the quiz:
- "It was great, good chance to rack our brains on a non-school day!"
"I really enjoyed getting stuck in with the help of the team leaders."
"Challenging but good."
...and from the other participants:
- One of the teachers said:
- "We certainly think this is the kind of event we would like to take our students to and it has been useful. One of the students who attended the event is now planning to apply to study maths at University."
- One of the speakers said:
- "I thought it was a really successful day. I would certainly encourage you to do more of the same. I really liked the blend of working mathematicians, people using mathematics, and the careers at the end. What came over very strongly was the wide range of things you can do with a mathematics degree or even just a sound knowledge of mathematics. As was evident from the talks, so much of mathematics that forms part of everyday life is hidden from view and bringing it out into the open is immensely helpful. I know if I had been to a day like that when I was at school, I wouldn't have started my working life in an art gallery and waited until I was 30 before I went to university to study maths!"
The event was featured in both the Lancashire Evening Post (article) and the Lancaster Guardian (article), thanks to the Lancaster University Press Office. Dr Nadia Mazza and Heather Johnson (a PhD student in the department) appeared on BBC Radio Lancashire's breakfast show with Graham Liver on Wednesday 17th April, talking about mathematics and the Day.