Students celebrate another successful Maths Week


The fifth annual Maths Week took place last week with a variety of events catering for all audiences.

The week kicked off on Saturday the 9th with Maths in the Street, taking place at the top of Grafton Street. Maths Society auditor, Liz Hynes, was confident that the event was a resounding success, with students from Trinity College Dublin, NUI Maynooth and even the University of Oxford helping out during the day.

Aimed mainly at younger children, the day comprised of puzzles and mazes being laid on the street, orientated towards having fun with maths and building an enthusiasm towards it: “We had a really good response and loads of kids came and played for hours, it was almost impossible to close up at the end of the day.”

On October 11th, Professor of Mathematics in Oxford, Marcus du Sautoy, gave a lecture in the RDS. Professor du Sautoy is the Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science and is in charge of promoting mathematics in England. The lecture focused on the artistic side of mathematics and catered for a variety of different interests such as music and architecture.

Hynes said of the event: “There was definitely an appeal for everybody there.”

Some of the Maths Society members were given the opportunity to meet Professor du Sautoy after the lecture, due to some of his team members helping out at Maths on the Street the previous Saturday. Also in attendance was Kjartan Poskitt, the author of Murderous Maths.

Tuesday played host to Maths in the Pub which took place in the Alchemist Cafe, with a number of mathemagicians displaying arrays of maths-oriented tricks.

Thursday featured a mathematician demonstrate the workings of mathematical origami, which covers the practical uses of folding paper and how they can be applied in the real world. This took place in the Chester Beatty Library on Little Ship Street near Dublin Castle.

The annual Hamilton Lecture on Hamilton Day takes place every year on October 16th in honour of William Rowan Hamilton, the famous Irish mathematician, who discovered quaternions, which are important in vectors. The lecture this year was being given by Professor Robert C Merton and is focused predominantly upon financial mathematics.

The final day of the week saw the annual Hamilton Walk from Dunsink Observatory to Broom Bridge where Hamilton’s formula is inscribed.

The aim of Maths Week is to promote the idea that maths can be extremely interesting, as well as fun, as Hynes stated: “Maths isn’t just about doing the really annoying proofs. It’s about solving problems.”