During the summer of 2018 Year 11 students and mathematician Olivia attended The National Maths Summer School.
“The National Maths Summer School is run by the UKMT and takes place every year in early August. It was a 5 day event that took place in Woodhouse Grove Boarding School. 48 people between the ages of 14 and 16, from across the country were invited to take part. This was decided by the results of the Intermediate Maths Challenge which took place a few months prior. In addition to this, 8 previous summer school participants came back as seniors, to support the programme.
Each day consisted of 6 hours of maths and problem solving, broken down into 4, 90 minute sessions of workshops and lectures. The first session involved a lecture on number theory, the second on geometry and the third and fourth were workshops on a range of different and interesting topics.
In the number theory lectures, we used our knowledge on the Fibonacci sequence and highest common factors to build up our understanding and discover Euclid’s algorithm and more importantly, modular arithmetic. Modular arithmetic is one of the most important topics in number theory, and can be used to answer most questions about it. In geometry, we began to learn the basics of Euclidean geometry. Euclid was a Greek mathematician who was known as the ‘father of geometry,’ with his work, we used circles to prove certain properties of triangles and studied the different centres a triangle can have. During the workshops, we studied a wide range of topics, such as game strategies and the pigeonhole principal. The teachers made the sessions interactive and encouraged you to want to learn more, as they built on what we already knew and expanded upon it.
Although I found the sessions interesting, the best part of summer school were the individuals involved. I had an opportunity to meet a wide variety of different people; people I could bond with based on our mutual love of learning and general nerdiness (as well as our daily card games and football matches). The UKMT also organised fun evening activities, such as bowling, a lecture on operational research and a talent show to get to know each other even better. I believe I have made friends for the rest of my life and I can’t wait to go see them again!
The UKMT summer school was honestly one of the greatest experiences of my life and I am looking forward to applying to be a senior next year, not only to see my friends again, but to also return to the place that encouraged me to pursue my passion for maths further. I would definitely recommend that you take this fulfilling and exciting opportunity, if given the chance.”