This is a guest post written by David Nkansah, a mathematics student at the University of Glasgow.
Around the fourth century BC, the term ‘Mathematics’ was defined by Aristotle as the “science of quantity”. It’s my own experience as a young mathematician to say this definition, although correct in its own right, poses a problem for those who do not truly know what mathematics is. It fails to highlight the true creativity of the subject.
Human inspiration and imagination are essential ingredients in mathematics. Regarding creativity, one could say, with merit, that in a sense mathematics is an art. Before proceeding to outline similarities between sketching mathematical proofs and painting on a canvas, it is important to know what fundamental premises mathematical proofs are built on.
Watch mathematician and entrepreneur Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE explain binary numbers. Anne-Marie studied for an MSc in mathematics at Oxford University, and founded the social enterprise Stemettes to encourage more women and girls into STEM careers.
Any project which manages to make Cédric Villani look even more like a time traveller gets my immediate attention. Look!
HOLO-MATH’s website is short on firm details, but it seems to be something to do with using Microsoft’s HoloLens VR goggle thingies to make interactive VR maths “experiences”. Here’s the blurb:
HOLO-MATH is an international project to produce immersive live experiences in mathematical sciences using the latest mixed reality technology.
It’s the first project to use state of the art technology for scientific knowledge transfer in a museum environment and on a large scale.
The experiences are presented in science museums/centers and at special events. They are targeted at groups of 20 participants led by human guides and virtual avatars. New forms of augmented visualization and interaction are core features. The audio-visual experience is of the highest quality.
In different HOLO-MATH experiences, participants will be able to play, discover, experiment and learn about science history and current research.
There’s more information on holo-math.org, and some pictures of be-goggled guests at the project’s launch on the hashtag #holomath.
The Further Maths Support Programme is an organisation in the UK that supports students wishing to take an A-level in Further Maths. Since this isn’t offered in all schools and colleges, the Programme helps organise tuition for people who can’t do it through their school, but also encourages students at younger ages to consider taking the A-level through workshops and university visit days. They also run excellent training courses for teachers, and have a number of resources on their website for students and teachers, including problem solving materials, videos, podcasts and maths competitions.
According to a recent blog post by maths teacher Jo Morgan, a government review has made the FMSP’s future precarious. Their funding through the Department for Education will be removed next April, and they’ll be replaced by the “Level 3 Maths Support Programme”. The L3MSP will support Core Maths as well as A level mathematics and further mathematics, but will focus on only certain geographical areas, meaning many will lose access to the resources currently provided.
Two of the programmes previously supported by the same funding have already had their funding stopped – the Core Maths Support Programme, and Underground Maths – but the FMSP hasn’t finished yet, and Jo hopes that by contacting the DfE we could convince the government to continue funding it. As they point out in the blog post, the FMSP has made a huge difference to the numbers of students taking maths and has had a direct impact in classrooms supporting teachers all over the UK.