Year 13

Going deeper into Mathematics

Lines and curves on an athletics track

Lines and curves.
Credit: See-Ming Lee

If you like (or dislike!) mathematics, what is it about the subject that makes you feel this way? What does studying mathematics at unviersity level involve, and how can you work out if you will enjoy it?

We advise students who are curious about maths (and subjects related to maths) to read the following explanation of rich mathematics:

If the kind of maths that makes you think and encourages you to go deeper inside the subject appeals to you, make sure you explore the NRICH Mathematics website:

  • Stage 5 material is for students in the last two years of school (normally aged 16-18).
  • Stage 4 material is for students in Year 10 and Year 11 (normally aged 14-16)
  • If you have a particular interest, you may also find the curriculum content section helpful
  • Or have a go at some of the live problems and see if you can get your solution published!

Date posted: 

Monday 19 June 2017

Tags: 

A good read?

Pile of booksImage credit: Pam loves pie

How do you make the reading you do in your own time count? One way to help yourself think independently and engage critically with your reading is to start or join a reading group. Take your inspiration from Radio 4's A Good Read, where the presenter and her two guests each choose a book they've enjoyed reading, introducing it to and discussing it with the others. Why not swap recommendations with a friend and meet to discuss your responses to each other's choice?

Date posted: 

Friday 16 June 2017

Tags: 

Hot air balloon problem

Hot air balloon

Credit: Brent Myers

A hot air balloon of mass 350 kg is carrying 5 people each of mass 70kg. The total volume of the baloon is 2800m3.

The balloon flies horizontally in dry air 1km above sea level. The atmopheric pressure at this altitude is 89.9kPa and the surrounding temperature is 9ºC. Given that the molar mass of dry air is 28.97g/mol, work out the temperature of the heated air inside the balloon. (You can take gas constant R=8.31J/mol K and you may assume that air behaves as an ideal gas).

General and problem-specific hints are available.

This is one of the problems on I-want-to-study-engineering.org, a resource from Cambridge University Engineering Department with more than 200 problems to help you to practice problem solving skills relevant to Engineering. The website also provides general advice such as how to get onto a good Engineering course (whether at Cambridge or elsewhere).

Date posted: 

Monday 12 June 2017

Tags: 

STEP Mathematics resources

Graph

Credit: Electric-Eye

Cambridge University has a free online STEP Mathematics course designed for students preparing to take STEP papers (STEP exams are required if you are applying for Mathematics or Computer Science with Mathematics at King's).

The course has online modules for individual study, which are open to everyone.

STEP is very important because it helps you to make the transition from school maths to the kinds of matheamtical thinking that you will do at Cambridge. 

More about STEP.

Date posted: 

Tuesday 16 May 2017

Tags: 

Cambridge Science Festival 2017

Poster for the cambridge science festival

It's nearly time for this year's Cambridge Science Festival, which will run from 13 - 16 March 2017.

The Science Festival provides the public with opportunities to explore and discuss issues of scientific interest and concern and to raise aspirations by encouraging young people to consider a career in science, technology, engineering or mathematics. Over 170 event coordinators organise talks, interactive demonstrations, hands-on activities, film showings and debates with the assistance of around 1,000 staff and students from departments and organisations across the University and research institutions, charities and industry in the eastern region.

You can read more, download the programme or search events online on the Festival website.

Date posted: 

Thursday 23 February 2017

Tags: 

What can an engineer learn from biology?

Ant hill

Credit: Elroy Serrao

That's the question Prof Jon Timmis from the University of York is going to ask in his lecture at 7.30pm on 28 Februray 2017.

His talk is part of a mini-series of lectures on Engineering in the 2017 lecture programme and will explore the exciting interaction between biology and engineering. Prof Timmis will discuss how ants can be inspiration for the design of “swarm” robotic systems, how the protection afforded by the immune system can be used to inspire the creation of self-healing robots and how the evolutionary process can be used to potentially inspire the design of self-sustaining, robotic systems.

So whether you are interested in Biology, Engineering or even Medicine and Philosophy, this talk might be an interesting way to see what lies beyond the boarders of one specific subject.

For more information visit the Yorkshire philosophical society website.

Date posted: 

Thursday 2 February 2017

Tags: 

Vellacott History Essay Prize 2017

Peterhouse is setting some interesting questions for Year 12  students to discuss (with reference to any academic discipline or area of interest) for its annual Vellacott Essay Prize.

Students are asked to choose a topic that you have not previously studied at school from the long list of questions, which include a wide range of historical topics, also touching on a number of other subject areas, such as Classics, Theology, Art, Literature, Music, Politics, Architecture and Sociology. Here are some examples of the questions set:

  • Is race a modern concept?
  • What were the political consequences of the Black Death?
  • Why did early modern people accuse their neighbours of being witches?
  • Why were there so many new inventions in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries?
  • Was there a 'crisis of masculinity' in the late Victorian period?
  • 'Probably there are countries where you can predict a man's opinions from his income, but it is never quite safe to do so in England'. Do you agree with George Orwell?

The full list of questions and details of the competition are available on the Peterhouse website in the Vellacott Prize information pdf, and please also read the details of eligibility and the history of the Peterhouse essay prizes. The deadline is 17 March 2017 .Good luck to those who choose to explore some of these topics, whether just for curiosity or to develop an essay and enter the competition!

Date posted: 

Friday 27 January 2017

Tags: 

Spies, Trolls, Drones and Polls: Being(s) in Cyberspace

Credit: Hillary

The University of Hull is offering a series of talks about Ethics and Rights in Cyberspace.

Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, "The Common Good: Ethics and Rights in Cyber Security" project seeks to understand where the balance lies between security and ethics in digital governance.  If the recent controversies surrounding U.S. governmental surveillance and implicated technology companies demonstrated anything, it is the need for proportionate, just and effective cyber security in digital governance that is committed to the common good.

The talks are free, but booking is required. Details and booking can be found on their webpage.

Date posted: 

Tuesday 24 January 2017

Tags: 

Book recommendation for Geography

Pile of booksCredit: Pam loves pie

Got some time to read over the holidays? Matthew Gandy, the Director of Studies in Geography, recommends the following book for prospective students:

Andrea Wulf,
The invention of Nature: The Adventures of Alexander von Humboldt, the Lost Hero of Science
(Hodder & Stoughton, 2016)

In this prize-winning new biography Andrea Wulf describes the life and ideas of Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) who is widely regarded as the founder of modern geography. Humboldt was a decisive influence on Darwin and is also credited as a pioneer of ecological thought.

There's a film clip about the book on Andrea Wulf's website.

For more ideas, see the Geography reading suggestions.

Date posted: 

Thursday 22 December 2016

Tags: 

Some reading in French!

Book cover

Credit: Chris Drumm

Here's the beginning of Germinal a novel by Emile Zola:

Dans la plaine rase, sous la nuit sans étoiles, d'une obscurité et d'une épaisseur d'encre, un homme suivait seul la grande route de Marchiennes à Montsou, dix kilomètres de pavé coupant tout droit, à travers les champs de betteraves. Devant lui, il ne voyait même pas le sol noir, et il n'avait la sensation de l'immense horizon plat que par les souffles du vent de mars, des rafales larges comme sur une mer, glacées d'avoir balayé des lieues de marais et de terres nues. Aucune ombre d'arbre ne tachait le ciel, le pavé se déroulait avec la rectitude d'une jetée, au milieu de l'embrun aveuglant des ténèbres.

L'homme était parti de Marchiennes vers deux heures. Il marchait d'un pas allongé, grelottant sous le coton aminci de sa veste et de son pantalon de velours. Un petit paquet, noué dans un mouchoir à carreaux, le gênait beaucoup; et il le serrait contre ses flancs, tantôt d'un coude, tantôt de l'autre, pour glisser au fond de ses poches les deux mains à la fois, des mains gourdes que les lanières du vent d'est faisaient saigner. Une seule idée occupait sa tête vide d'ouvrier sans travail et sans gîte, l'espoir que le froid serait moins vif après le lever du jour. Depuis une heure, il avançait ainsi, lorsque sur la gauche, à deux kilomètres de Montsou, il aperçut des feux rouges, trois brasiers brûlant au plein air, et comme suspendus. D'abord, il hésita, pris de crainte; puis, il ne put résister au besoin douloureux de se chauffer un instant les mains.

A level plain, on a starless night, with a lone man walking along a straight road. This is how Zola begins Germinal. First the plain, then the darkness, then the man, and finally the plain again.In this novel, as in the others of the Rougon Macquart series, Zola devotes considerable attention to descrption, which he calls in Le roman expérimentale "un état du monde extérieur qui détermine et complète l'homme."
J.H. Matthews, 'The Art of Description in Zola's Germinal', Symposium: A Quarterly Journal in Modern Literatures Vol. 16 , Iss. 4.

Date posted: 

Thursday 15 September 2016

Tags: 

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Year 13