Name: Dr Julia Collins
Occupation: Mathematics Engagement Officer
Involvement in ILW – I organise the events for the School of Mathematics, both developing events myself and also coordinating events organised by other staff and students.
Fave thing about ILW: Seeing students getting excited about a subject through experiencing it in a different way, whether that’s their own subject or something new. For example, it was wonderful to see history, law and arts students becoming enthusiastic about mathematics last year after doing a jewellery making workshop (after they had said at the beginning that maths made them nervous!). And it was wonderful to have a group of maths and physics students learning about 4-dimensional geometry in a very hands-on way through building a giant sculpture, and wanting to tell all their friends about it.
There’s so much more to our subjects than we could ever convey in lectures, and ILW is a wonderful opportunity for all of us to showcase amazing ideas, release that enthusiasm, and simply try new things.
What you’re looking forward to most: In 2015 I’m really excited about a project called the LEGO calculator challenge. We’ve gone and bought a giant box of LEGO, and the challenge is to use it to build a working mechanical calculator. I have no idea if it’s going to work, but I’m sure our students will rise to the challenge, and I think it’s an activity that will beautifully highlight the links between mathematics, engineering and computer science. Plus, LEGO shouldn’t only be for kids!
Fun / most unusual / weirdest fact about yourself: My students know me well as the crazy sheep lady… I have a sheep called Haggis who tweets and writes blog posts (follow @haggismaths!), and when I’m lecturing I will use sheep-based examples and questions where possible. 🙂