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 plenty of support and encouragement from my peers and some members of staff, I decided to run for a committee position in MathSoc, Imperial College’s Mathematics Society. In the past the society hasn’t had the best social events, and as this was something I worked on at school, I thought this would be a good position for me to run for. (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.
The mission of my life is to show people surprising ways of using maths. However, today I’ll make an exception: I’ll talk about an example of maths abuse.
Surely you’ve heard that tomorrow we have the Blue Monday, apparently the most depressing day of the year. Even restaurants and shops all over the UK become almost charities by offering great deals (I can’t believe I just linked you to the Mirror!) to make this day a bit brighter for us, customers – I’m sure they do it solely out of goodness of their hearts, without any profit…You might also have heard that it was scientifically proven and that this date is found using a mathematical formula.
Let’s face it: doing a PhD isn’t always rainbows and unicorns. The process can be painful and annoying, and at some point you’re probably going to get completely stuck. If you’ve ever done any research, you definitely know what I’m talking about.
There’s something you need to do, usually some task that was supposed to be easy – a toy example, an almost standard code, a “quick” experiment to check your hypothesis. And here you are, spending long hours, days, weeks, even months, not even closer to solving your problem. You’ve tried everything, used all possible sources you could find, but this devil isn’t giving up.
While for undergrads university means plenty of tests and homework, PhD students spend long hours marking their work. If you’re the one submitting solutions, these are ten ways to annoy the marker.
- Write your solutions in random places of the page. Don’t waste any space – make sure that this little gap in the middle of question 1 is filled with your answer to question 3.
- Use a pencil or, even better, a red pen. Don’t forget about correction fluid! Surely the instructions to write only in black or blue were just a joke.
- Provide a few answers to the same question, with a comment: “Choose the correct one”.