SMSAS hosts over 250 pupils at Royal Institution Mathematics Masterclasses

Olivia Miller

Over 250 Year 9 and Year 12/13 students from Kent and London secondary schools virtually attended the first sessions of Kent’s Royal Institution (RI) Mathematics Masterclass series, held on 30 January and 6 February 2021.

The School of Mathematics, Statistics and Actuarial Science (SMSAS), which has been running RI Mathematics Masterclasses for several years, is hosting its most successful series to date after record attendance in its opening sessions. 46 pupils from 10 different schools in Kent attended the Year 9 classes online on 30 January, and 229 sixth form students from 50 different schools in Kent and London attended the Year 12/13 classes online on 6 February. All students participating in the programme have been nominated by their teachers.

The RI Mathematics Masterclass programme is designed to open young people’s eyes to the diversity of mathematics, through a series of extra-curricular workshops. With no face-to-face in-house Masterclasses running in the 2020-21 Academic Year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, SMSAS moved its Masterclass series online. This enabled SMSAS to expand its usual provision to invite sixth form students from London schools who would have otherwise missed out, to join students from Kent schools and explore mathematical problems virtually. This year’s sixth form masterclasses are focusing on how data science is used to fight disease, the billion-dollar algorithm behind Google, and how the physics underlying ice-sculptures influences pure mathematics.

SMSAS’ Head of School Professor Stephane Launois, said: ‘I am delighted that so many students have chosen to take part in our Royal Institution Mathematics Masterclass series. Mathematics and Statistics are central in our everyday life, but often people aren’t aware of this. Our inspirational programme offers an excellent opportunity to explore the influence of Mathematical Sciences on our modern world, showing students the beauty as well as the relevance of Mathematics and Statistics.’

SMSAS’ Masterclass series continues to run on weekends throughout February and March 2021.