Maths is not my passion Sophie Carr says

The conversations I’ve had with the lovely lady who runs our website have changed!  Her prior belief in my ability to write anything for the website has been updated.  The question now posed is:

“When are you going to write something again?” 

write something

I pointed out my writing was conditional on being inspired and then I realised that I really could write something again.  This time the inspiration has been an area of maths I have been fascinated by for years. However the aim of this piece is to help those of you thinking of applying for the Maths Scholars scheme and may lack confidence.

I’ll start by letting you in on a secret.

Truth be told, I’m not all that great with numbers.  Yes, I do have degrees in engineering and mathematics, but when it comes to working out who owes what at the end of lunch there is always someone quicker than me.  What I can do, probably because I’ve always enjoyed doing it, is spot patterns – especially repeating patterns.  Sometimes those patterns are hidden in large data sets, sometimes in pictures or simply in nature as I walk through the countryside but the thrill of spotting a pattern is the same. 

What has this to do with our maths scholars?  

Passion led us here 

Passion.  We want to see it in bucket loads.    It’s easy to talk the talk “maths has always been my passion” is frequently used as the starter to the personal statement.  Really?  I mean really?  The whole of maths has always been your passion? There isn’t one single lecture or course you found less interesting than all the others?  During my engineering degree I rapidly realised that anything relating to fluid mechanics I found utterly fascinating.  Pretty much anything to do with mechanical or electrical engineering had to be tolerated to get through the course.  So all the maths to do with fluid mechanics I spent hours over.  Only as I went on, it turns out that what I really cared about were boundary layers.  Well to be exact, where the boundary layer separates.  Then I found Bayes Theorem and a whole new world opened. 

So there is the next secret – maths is not my passion.

Love maths

That can be shown by one elegant, powerful equation expressed with three terms, two letters, one multiplication and a division; an equation that is used across science, engineering, academia and industry.  It drives search engine results, underpins decision support systems and a list of other application that is seemingly endless.  It is an awesome theorem and you can (honestly) have endless hours of fun using it to analyse data.  I care enough about Bayes Theorem to want others to share in how great it is. 

So whilst you’re making a brew just before you start your application, think about these:

  • What is the one thing in all of the maths you’ve studied that is going to propel you out of bed on a marvellous Monday morning to teach others about? 

  • What is it about that one area you’re fascinated by and how are you going articulate just how amazing the maths is?  

Don’t be scared by trying to get across some of the wonderful abstract, complex concepts of maths, nor worry about revelling in the simplistic elegance of proofs.  In both cases be brave.  Put yourself out there and show us how you could teach others the wonders of maths.  Be the difference to a student and inspire the next generation.

If Sophie’s words have spurred you on to start considering applying then why not find Some Answers Regarding How To Apply To Be A Maths Scholar and get into teaching by September 2017.