MathSoc Bitesize Seminar – Rebecca Low

Say the words ‘maths seminar’ to a Literature and Languages student like me and you’ll probably have them breaking out in a cold sweat. Sitting on the bus to Kings Buildings, I was entertaining all sorts of potentially stressful situations. What if they ask me a question? What if I have to come up to the front and solve an equation? Will it be like the end of Mean Girls? Thankfully, my furious chanting of “The limit does not exist” was for nothing; despite the high probability that I was the only non-Mathematics student there, MathSoc’s Bitesize Seminar was both interesting and accessible.Bitesize Seminars are run by the Society on a regular basis, giving students a platform to talk to their peers about an area of maths that is of particular interest to them. Split into a series of three mini-lectures (and then followed by free wine and cheese), MathSoc’s first event of Innovative Learning Week was open to all, and aimed to show another side to mathematics. Presided over by the Society’s Academic Coordinator Ed Hart, who acted as compère for the event and was the source of some well-received maths-based comedy, the subject matter of each of the three talks varied widely. From Michael Nicholson’s investigations into how maths is being applied in biology, particularly cardiac modelling, to Tom Gallagher’s witty talk about the life of Pythagoras, there was something for even the most numerically-averse.

Coming from the Arts side of academic life, I found Matthew Crisp’s demonstrations of auditory illusions the most interesting. Bringing together music and maths, he had us imagining infinitely long pianos and discovering how even Call Me Maybe plays tricks on our brain – though come to think of it, that might just be the effects of hearing Carly Rae Jepsen’s dulcet tones for the millionth time in our lives, and not anything to do with the maths. A thoroughly enjoyable, and unexpectedly delightful event!

Rebecca Low


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