The Bathematicans were set up as a hands on maths communication group to interact in schools and with the public. In 2020, living in a world where we have to contend with a global pandemic, we need to change things a little. We need to make some decisions about how the Bathematicians evolve during this time. The group was set up to be student led and you voice is important. Please fill in the short questionnaire here to tell us what involvement you might like to have in the process.
A group of Mathematicians from the University of Bath, including both undergraduate and postgraduate students, who are focused on communicating how helpful and awesome mathematics can be to the public, whether that be by visiting students in schools or presenting at Science Festivals.
You can keep up to date with our events by following us on Twitter @Bathematicians
You can email us at Bathematicians@bath.ac.uk
I'm employed by Bath University and the AMSP (Advanced Maths Support Programme), and also work in a freelance role communicating maths to the public, around the country and occassionally further afield. Maths enrichment sessions and teacher professional development takes up most of my time, but I occassionally work on YouTube channels such as Numberphile.
The aims of the Bathematicians are similar to many aspects of my job. The only way to get better presenting to people is to try it, and then reflect back on how to improve. The Bathematicians events give students those opportunities, and Tamsin and I work with them to refine their ideas techniques.
Hi, I'm Owen I am currently a second year Maths undergraduate. I really enjoy learning and helping others learn Maths too and so the Bathematicians was a great way to get others interested in a subject I am so passionate about. The Bathematicians has allowed me to both consider new ways of thinking about certain topics in Maths as well as helping me consider a career in teaching Maths. I really look forward to working with many of you to get more people involved in this amazing subject.
As a second year maths student, I'm aware of how a stereotypical mathematician may appear to be an inside loving, antisocial, introvert - but I'm none of these. I think that we are a good testament to show the world that mathematicians are all different and we're interesting just like our subject. I love being a Bathematician because it's a way to make maths fun and to let others know that that is actually a possibility! Whether we are talking to random members of the public, school children, or fellow students, I struggle to think of a better scene to see than someone's face light up when they have just seen something absolutely incredible in maths. Whether they have been involved in maths all their life or never given it a second look, it is always something great to see. I hope to see you at one of our events!
Any path a mathematician chooses in life, they will have to communicate mathematical ideas to people who have never studied Maths before (and all too often to people who have been trained to hate maths from a young age), whether this be in teaching, careers in the financial industry or anywhere else maths is applicable (which if you've been to any of our events you will notice is everywhere). Doing these workshops and events for the public is a really fun way to grow these communication skills and it forces you to find innovative ways of teaching and thinking around problems.
Having reached the final year of my PhD, I have come to realise the importance of public engagement and inspiring the public. Maths is a varied and interesting field of study, and impacts everyone whether they know it or not. From the way you send and recieve messages to the formation of intricate details in nature, maths really can be found anywhere you look, and is not all about solving equations. The Bathematicians help to promote some of the many varied and exciting parts of the subject, and I am proud to have been a part of the group for the last few years.
We currently have a selection of short workshops covering a range of mathematical ideas and curiosities. These workshops can be tailored to different ages groups, and can either be delivered in schools or on campus for a variety of events.
We also have a range of mathematical games and activities that we present at festivals including the Big Bang Bristol fair and Bath Taps into science.
The workshops that are currently in the process of being developed are listed below with their desired outcomes, to give an idea of what the Bathematicians will be able to offer once fully developed. Some of these have already been tested in schools, and are ready to go. Please contact us for information.
In connections, we build up problems from a simple starting point to a complex, possibly even impossible problem. Participants can see that small changes in the initial scenario can cause large problems when attempting to solve the amended problem.
Age range: 10-15.
Keywords: Graph theory, Surfaces, Topology
In Contagion we explore the use of simulation in mathematics by investigating the spread of a disease. Students will take part in a demonstration, which is simplification of how a computer would simulate a real life system. They will then be introduced to some simulations on a much larger scale, and be presented with some simple scenarios for them to investigate what will happen.
Age range: 11-14.
Keywords: Simulation, probability.
In Euler's Balloons we derive the famous "Euler's formula" for 3d shapes through the use of a balloon-based magic trick. Through drawing a network on their balloons and studying it's properties, students will derive the formula F=E-V+2. Students will then learn how to apply this result to a variety of 3d objects.
Age range: 11-16.
Keywords: Algebra, Geometry
In the lego debugging session the students will discuss the purpose of algorithms and evaluate good and bad characteristics of different algorithms. They will do this by following an algorithm for building a lego structure. They will also look at 3D co-ordinates and practice using these.
In a longer session or for an older age group the students will also practice writing their own building algorithm and how to test for bugs in their algorithm.
Age range: 9-14.
Keywords: Algorithm, Debugging, Co-ordinates.
In Magic numbers, we investigate a seemingly difficult calculation and find a shortcut method to use as part of a trick. The trick is based on some simple maths that students can easily understand and then time permitting can try out on other people in the group.
Age range: 10-15.
Keywords: Factors, Cubes, Conjecture
In Nim, participants play each other at a simple game to try and outwit each other. The strategies involved are based on simple number patterns but require participant to think on their feet to get the best outcome. It introduces participants to generalising a problem and working out how they know they can win and given them a game to play with friends and family.
Age range: 10-15.
Keywords: Strategy, Generalising, Proof, Factors, Multiples
In Traversability, we investigate mathematically what conditions allow us to 'traverse' a network, meaning to draw over every edge in a network without either lifting our pen off the paper or back-tracking. Students will use a trial-and-error approach to decide whether each of a set of example networks can be traversed. Simple numerical properties of the networks will be tabulated and the students will try and spot a pattern in the tables to form a conjecture about what restrictions on these properties are necessary in order for a network to be traversable.
Time permitting, there are two real-world questions which are equivalent to determining whether a network is traversable (including the famous 'Seven Bridges of Königsberg' problem from which the formal study of networks began). Students will need to embrace abstraction to re-cast the questions in terms of networks, and will then apply the conjecture to easily determine the solutions, without having to adopt a trial-and-error approach.
Age Range: 10-15
Keywords: networks, pattern-spotting, conjecture, abstraction
Younger Participants Stall:
The purpose of the stall is to
Show the participants some interesting maths that they might not know and some extensions or a different twist to the maths that they do at school. We also try to set up scenarios to showcase how simple maths can have application to the real world. Suitable for KS2 and KS3.
Older Participants Stall:
The purpose of the stall is to
Show the participants some interesting maths that they might know and some extension to that maths with potential links to the university curriculum. Suitable for KS4 and KS5.
If you answer yes to any or all of these questions, and you are a student or staff member at the University of Bath, you should consider becoming a Bathematician.
How can you get involved?
Get involved in whatever way you can. This could be coming up with a new workshop or new games, delivering the current material or coming along to help at the events.
Are you interested in the Bathematicians coming to present to your class? Either at your school or the University? Then please contact Tamsin Smith by emailing the Bathematicians@bath.ac.uk
16 Bathematicians presented throughout the day at the public event.
11 Bathematicians presented throughout the day at the school fair fielding off excited year 6 pupils never ending questions about the maths presented.
16 Bathematicians presented our primary school stall at the primary school. The audience ranged from babies to grandparents! There were hundreds of people in school hall.
4 Bathematicians presented Balloons and Traversability in two consecutive hour taster workshops for each of the year 5 classes. 61 pupils participated.
4 Bathematicians presented contagion and Traversability in two consecutive hour taster workshops for each of the year 6 classes. 62 pupils participated.
We have a stall of interesting maths which is presented by approximately 5 Bathematicians at all the applicant visit days throughout the year. The stall in an opportunity for existing Bathematicians to interact with applicants who might be a Bathematicians in the future.
We had 2 female Bathematicians who participated in a panel of people who identified as female to talk to an audience of young girls who could ask anything they wanted! Questions about their education, what inspired them and what their patronus would be were amongst the questions asked.
We had a panel of 5 Bathematicians who talked to potential university students about their experiences. Questions about university life, the maths course at Bath and how much they lifted in the gym were amongst the questions asked.
9 Bathematicians presented the following carousel of briefcase workshops to 32 year 7 students over 2 hours. Connections, Magic Number, Contagion, Traversability and Balloons.
11 Bathematicians presented a selection of the following briefcase workshops to 60+ year 7 students. Connections, Magic Number, Lego Contagion, Travers ability and Balloons.
We were formally known as The Mathletes, where we attended events such as The Big Bang Fair, Bath Taps into Science, Bath Anniversary Festival, Pi Day and Royal Institute Masterclasses. We will still be attending these events but as the Bathematicians.