Shrewsbury School

Academic Extension Mathematics Lecture - 'Numbers: Discovered or Created?' Ben Sparks (Ashton Theatre)

Thursday 6 December 2018 at 19:30

Ben Sparks has a BA (Hons) in Mathematical Sciences from Merton College, Oxford and an MSc in Mathematical Modelling and Scientific Computing from Somerville College, Oxford. He speaks regularly at schools as well as student and teacher conferences.

Recently he has been involved with the Maths Busking project and has helped Maths Inspiration and Maths On Screen deliver maths enrichment DVDs for Year 10 audiences. He has also been working closely with the Further Maths Support Network and delivering enrichment material.

In this lecture, he will offer an entertaining overview of the very origins of mathematics and numbers. Deep philosophical questions, mathematical murder, puzzling proofs and mysterious memes: they all lead us through the human story of numbers, to finish with one of the most celebrated mathematical images of modern times.

Along the way we will ask - and answer - Who killed Hippasus? Just why is A4 paper 297mm long? How do you know when there are -1 sheep in a field? What is the square root of -1? Why does it matter? Is maths created by us, or are we discovering eternal truth?

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