Bt Young Scientists: scary maths made simple by clever students

Impressive maths projects include development of new geometry and number theorems

Robots, explosions and students with bright ideas - here are five things to see at the 2015 BT Young Scientists Exhibition.

 

Maths is scary for many people who struggle with the subject but if you want really scary then visit a few of the maths projects on display at the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition.

Their displays are a confetti of numbers and symbols and Greek letters and the students seem to be speaking a different language as they describe what they have achieved.

It may not be user friendly but some of the finest projects that capture top prizes in the Exhibition over the years were found in the maths section.

Work by Aleksander Kozina, 16, a fifth year student at Synge Street CBS in Dublin is a case in point.

He described it as relatively straightforward geometry but after that short intro things got decidedly more difficult.

His project involved developing two new theorems in Euclidean geometry, with his lines of research following earlier discoveries by mathematician Douglas Hofstadter.

He showed the logical progression from geometry developed by the Greeks through work by Frank Morley in the late 1800s and early 1900s and on to Hofstadter in the 1990s.

The results were theorems related to the Morley Triangle, the Hofstadter Triangle and, hopefully following the exhibition, the Kozina Triangle given Aleksander believes his work is unique and breaks new ground.

Mateen Malik, Haroon Hussain and Andrew O’Neill, three second year students at Synge Street, also believe they have come up with something new.

They wanted to develop a partition function, an aspect of number theory, that could be used in relation to any prime number. They succeeded and their formulae work for any prime number larger than 31.

“This is important because it is a new discovery and has never been achieved before,” says Andrew, 14.

Haroon said the idea actually came from another student so clearly Synge Street does something special with maths.

The exhibition reaches a climax on Friday evening when the BT Young Scientist for 2015 is announced, along with the other three top prizes and many other awards and distinctions.

The exhibition also remains open to the public from 9.30 Friday morning and on Saturday until early afternoon.

Tickets cost €6 for students and €12 for adults and €25 for a family ticket.