Public challenged for Maths Week

Sun, Oct 14, 2012, 01:00

Over 25 volunteers participated at the launch of Maths Week, which kicked off on Grafton Street yesterday. During the launch, passers-by and shoppers were asked to take part in a series of puzzles and games.

The volunteers, a mixture of international students and lecturers, quizzed shoppers on their math knowledge. They were joined by mathemagician Andrew Jeffrey, who aimed to show younger participants that maths could be fun.

Maths Week runs from today until Sunday 21 and will consist of over 100 events taking place around the country, according to Maths Week co-ordinator Eoin Gill.

“Maths Week is all about promoting a positive image of Maths. We want people of all ages to enjoy maths and build their maths confidence. Many people think of maths as doing sums in school, but in fact maths is all around us and we all use some amount of maths everyday,” he said.

“While mathematics is important to the economy of Ireland, it is also crucial in every day life of all citizens. All too often I hear people say, ‘I cant do maths’ and this leads to the mistaken belief that you have to be hardwired for maths.

“Of course, not everyone will become a top mathematician but everyone can learn to enjoy maths if we can break that ‘cycle of fear’ associated with the subject.”

The annual event aims to convince people that maths is not intimidating, but can be enjoyable. It also aims to illustrate that at present, maths graduates are in huge demand, with two thirds of graduates finding employment immediately after leaving university.

Throughout the country, there will be mathematical talks and presentations for people of all ages and math skills. So far, over 110,000 people are registered to take part in events throughout the country, making it the biggest maths event in the world.

There will be a broad range of talks, such as talks the mathematics behind sports such as rugby, athletics, football and tennis, the maths in Obama’s mobile phone; and climate change and diagnosing cancer – how maths rules everything

Ireland’s seven universities, most institutes of technology in the south and two northern universities will also host activities during the week.

More information can be found at www.mathsweek.ie

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