More than 250,000 people to take part in Maths Week

Events around the Ireland for 10th anniversary of world’s largest maths festival

Maths Week is under way, an all-Ireland effort to raise interest in mathematics and show people, particularly students, that the subject isn't

as intimidating as it seems.

Maths-related events will take place across the country and in the North this week, for the 10th anniversary of this festival of maths, involving all the universities and institutes of technology and dozens of companies and other bodies.

More than 250,000 students and adults will have taken part in at least one Maths Week event before it ends on October 18th.


World’s largest

The festival now ranks as the largest such event in the world, said Eoin Gill of Waterford IT and Maths Week Ireland co-ordinator.

“Over the past 10 years we have had over one million people engaging with Maths Week Ireland, mainly primary and postprimary children, while helping them to have a more positive attitude towards maths,” he said.

Maths is about numbers but it is also about much more. Maths Week organisers will tease you with little problems such as: “What three positive numbers give the same result whether multiplied or added together?” (Answer below.)

People will have a chance to hear mathematician, concert pianist and baker Dr Eugenia Cheng who will argue that if you can bake you can do maths. (Book a place at her talk at the National Concert Hall on Friday October 16th at 10am through

You can tackle a problem such as: “One of the expectations of the budget is that we’ll see a reduction in the universal social charge. The USC is calculated on your earnings over €17,500. If it was reduced from its present level of 7 per cent to 5 per cent what would the annual savings be for someone earning €67,500 per annum?” (Answer at

Or you can watch mathemagician Andrew Jeffrey show how maths can make people believe in mind reading and psychic abilities at an Alchemist Cafe event at the Mercantile Pub in Dublin at 8.30pm on Wednesday.

Sponsors for the week include Science Foundation Ireland via its SFI Discover programme, the Department of Education and Skills, the Department of Education Northern Ireland, the ESB, Xilinx and CRH.

If you are still scratching your head, the three numbers are 1, 2 and 3, which give the result 6 whether added or multiplied.

Dick Ahlstrom

Dick Ahlstrom

Dick Ahlstrom, a contributor to The Irish Times, is the newspaper's former Science Editor.