Mathematical inspiration Posted - 28/03/2019

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The Lower Sixth Further Maths class attended a Maths Inspiration seminar at the Hexagon in Reading, where we were treated to three thought-provoking lectures on the application of maths in the real world. The topics built heavily on our understanding of modelling and statistics and gave valuable insights into some of the careers in applied maths. One very interesting topic, on mathematical intuition, explained how this is untaught can lead to some spectacularly wrong answers if we apply it to problems in the real world.

The event finished with a showcase of the enigma machine and some of the history of code breaking by James Grime - a renowned maths blogger. He showed the impact of code breaking on the course of history. One example of this was Mary Queen of Scots plotting against Elizabeth I. However, because of a code that was too easy to break, her messages were decrypted and the plot failed. The great code-breaking feat of the 20th Century was the breaking of the Enigma Code by Alan Turing and his team at Bletchley Park. We were stunned to learn that Turing’s efforts in WWII could be said to have reduced the length of the war by more than two years.

William Barnard and Paul Brown, Lower Sixth

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