I couldn’t call myself a mathematician if I didn’t celebrate Pi Day. Let’s take a moment to appreciate this mathematical constant for… staying constant. Today’s hero came by a hair’s breadth of being changed to 3.2.
Since ancient times mathematicians had been trying to “square the circle”, so given a circle construct a square with the same area, using just a compass and straightedge. Unfortunately for all these fame-seeking mathematicians and amateurs, in 1882 the task was proven impossible. And the culprit was… π.
To square the circle we’d have to construct a square root of π. However, a German mathematician Carl Louis Ferdinand von Lindemann proved that π is a transcendental number, which means it’s not a root of any polynomial with rational coefficients.
Growing up I don’t think I was actually aware of the gender gap in STEM. Having gone to an all girls school, I grew up in this idealistic bubble where I thought I could do anything and be anything I wanted. I am glad for this bubble as it didn’t hold me back from trying to be the best at Science, Maths and Computing. However in yr10 this bubble was popped. No it wasn’t popped by some boy saying he was better than me or a teacher telling me girls couldn’t be engineers.
How have I already reached halfway through my time at Imperial?
As we hit the middle of September there was only one thing I could really think about, coming to half way through my degree. All undergraduate Imperial students studying engineering and most science students are on 4 year programmes, however, breaking tradition, I have decided to only do the 3 year BSc. A lot of this is due to my focus away from research and towards industry as the 4th year of the maths degree leans towards research.
During my year and half here I have definitely made some incredible friends from all over the world, learnt so much – not only academically but also practically and also had some of my best memories.
Can you believe the time for New Year’s resolutions has come again? Maybe this year you can add to the traditional “I’ll eat healthily”, “I’ll stop smoking” and “I’ll hit the gym regularly” a new one: “I’ll look at statistics carefully”. You can start with these five simple tips.
- Reported averages might be meaningless
An arithmetic mean (sum of all values divided by the number of values), often reported as the average, in fact doesn’t say much about the average value.
Imagine you’re describing humans to extraterrestrial visitors. How many legs does an average person have? Slightly less than two.
Looking back and Looking forward
So Long 2018
As 2018 draws to a close I have been reminiscing about some of the amazing opportunities I have been given this year, as well as some incredible projects I’ve been a part of and of course all the fun with my friends in between! Coming into this calendar year I would never have imagined that I’d currently be as involved
with life at Imperial as I have been. I’ve been fortunate enough to feature as part of the Her Imperial Campaign, go on holiday with my best friends that I met living at Beit Hall last year, moved into my first flat and got to take over the Imperial College Instagram account more times than I can count!
Who would’ve thought I’d be a social sec?
After missing out on making it onto committee by a few votes in the main elections last March, I was delighted to finally make it this October in the by elections. Although it was a position I had really wanted, I had lost hope after losing the first time and it took a great deal of encouragement from my friends and committee members to get me to run again when the position became available. (definitely one of the best decisions I’ve made!)
Last year, MathSoc faced heavy criticism (see Imperial College Secrets/Exposed) for not having enough social events so I was so excited to be able to try and change the way people perceive MathSoc by throwing some fab events and revamping our social media platforms, including setting up an Instagram account.
My busiest term at Imperial to date
It’s fair to say that this term has been the most enjoyable term I have had so far at Imperial and I can’t wait to tell you all about it. It’s been super busy, I’m not sure how I managed to keep up with everything and still not skip any (most) lectures! Alongside juggling my degree in maths, I’ve also spent this term applying for internships, being on a few committees and running events as a student ambassador.
Often when people think about studying at such an academic university as Imperial, their immediate thought isn’t about all the extra curricular activities they will be able to take part in.
And my experience at Imperial
Studying Maths at Imperial does not only mean living in one of the most vibrant cities in the world, but also being a part of a top world ranking Mathematics department, boasting two field medalists. However as a woman in this department what I have appreciated the most is having female role models such as Professor Emma McCoy. Through lecturing me in first year, she not only taught me statistics in such a thorough and engaging manner, but who has also inspired me to focus my studies on statistics. By bringing in real life scenarios, including her own passion for cycling statistics, marathon times and rather controversially road traffic accidents, McCoy managed to convince my entire cohort that statistics was one of the most enticing areas of mathematics with countless applications in the real world.
The work that wasn’t revision during the holidays
During the Easter holidays, aside from catching up with friends, going home for a few weeks, and of course revision, I had some time to do some other cool stuff in and around the college and even got paid for some of it!
A couple of weeks before Easter break, I attended a careers talk in the maths department which was all about how to approach companies in search of jobs and internships but also advertising the services we have access to as students at Imperial, such as CV checking. One such service that was advertised was the First year work shadowing scheme.
If you’re thinking about studying maths at Imperial, you might be wondering what kind of problems first year studenst are supposed to solve in the tutorials. Last term I was a graduate teaching assistant (GTA) for a course Probability and Statistics I. Let’s see an example of a question posed by the lecturer, prof. Emma McCoy.
Imagine that n people, including yourself and a friend, are seated at random in a row of n chairs. What is the probability that you sit next to your friend?
This problem is easier than you think, especially after following the lectures. I’ll explain how to tackle this problem here.