23 March 2017
The fourth annual series of Royal Institution Mathematics Masterclasses at Lancaster concluded recently. The series, aimed at students in Years 10 and 11, ran over the course of six Saturday mornings with attendees selected from among the most mathematically minded in their respective schools.
Each week a different guest speaker lead students through a series of mathematical concepts; building on a chosen theme through a combination of mini-lectures and problem-solving activities. The topics ranged from the abstract to the applied and challenged students to actively think about mathematics well beyond the school curriculum. Students benefited from instruction by experts in the field, drawn from academic staff members and professional promoters of mathematics outreach.
This year's external guest speakers were Samantha Durbin from the Royal Institution, who spoke about graphs and networks, and mathematics outreach promoter Elizabeth Meenan who spoke about the mathematics of paper folding. Further sessions were presented by Prof John Whitehead, Dr Robin Hillier, Dr Chris Braun and Dr Derek Kitson with additional local support from Dr James Groves.
The popularity of the series has grown each year with 26 schools currently represented from across Lancashire and Cumbria. Attendees remarked on how this series not only surprised them, due to the diversity of the mathematical topics, but also helped them to grow in confidence and encouraged them to pursue mathematics, and science subjects generally, at university level. Thank you to all who participated.