MORE than 50 King’s Ely Senior students attended a Maths Inspiration event at Cambridge’s West Road Concert Hall on December 4th.

Talks were given by Paul Shepherd, who used to be an Engineering Consultant at BuroHappold. He worked on the design of many high profile buildings, including Arsenal’s Emirates, Dublin’s Lansdowne Road and even the London Olympic Stadium. Paul is now a Lecturer at the University of Bath and in his talk, he showed how he has used everything from the geometry of chains to the Maths of swarms to design structures that combine strength and beauty whilst minimising their carbon footprint. Students Rhys Williams, David Harris and Eleanor MacGillivray were chosen as helpers to simulate the Arsenal Truss Optimiser!

The second talk was given by Bobby Seagull who rose to fame through University Challenge, competing against Eric Monkman. Together they published The Monkman & Seagull Quiz Book in 2017, and Bobby has since written The Life Changing Magic of Numbers. He was originally a trader for Lehman Brothers and then became a chartered accountant before moving to Maths teaching and he now researches Maths anxiety/phobia at Cambridge University. He is a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4 puzzles, a Financial Times columnist and a National Numeracy ambassador. He talked about how Maths can open a pathway for students if they wanted to embark in the financial world.

The last talk was by Ben Sparks who is, amongst other things, a mathematician, a musician, and a twin. While at Oxford he sang in Out Of The Blue (who featured in Britain’s Got Talent in 2011). He has busked around the world, but still gets unashamedly excited about the good bits of Maths. He works at the University of Bath for the Further Maths Support Programme delivering Maths lectures and workshops around the country. Ben talked about how circles can be a source of beauty, awe and mystery.

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