Royal Institution Super Visit

Professor Chris Budd workshop - Saturday 27th April 2019

 Christian AgbodzaI arrived at the Royal Institution very excited and looking forward to meeting Alumni. I was certain to meet some specific Alumni such as Matt who I met at the IMA Scholar Event at The National STEM Learning Centre.

Professor Chris Budd who is Professor of Applied Mathematics at the University of Bath, Gresham Professor of Geometry and Professor of Mathematics at the Royal Institution of Great Britain made a presentation on applied mathematics. He told us, “I am an applied mathematician and my presentation is on applied mathematics”.

He had several printouts for us on his table and he took us through them.  Specific titles included 101 uses of quadratic equations, Movie Mathematics, Mathematics of the Weather, Mathematics of Knots, Chaos, Dancing, Knots and Mathsmagic.  

What was interesting about his compilation was the fact that the areas he had laid out were all interesting and calculated to inspire interest in mathematical applications or made explicit the mathematics around us.  For me, their links to the teacher standards could not be clearer.

In addition, Knots for instance contained different kinds of Afrikan and Celtic knots for telling stories. Two examples are the Afrikan sand patters 
  Celtic Knots

  Second pattern

The second pattern, which has the central picture of Genevieve Nnaji, a Nigerian movie star, inks back to Movie Maths, bringing to the fore the unending link between different sub-disciplines of mathematics, which can be conceived as a ring of life without beginning or end.  

We had the pleasure of Professor Budd’s delivery of Pythagoras.  Apart from his reminding us that in his co-edited book '50 Visions of Mathematics', in which there are various proofs of Pythagoras' Theorem in different literary styles, he masterfully took us through one such proof illustrating it with a diagram at my request.

He showed that 

when diagrammatically rearranged was equal to 4 congruent triangles       


Cancelling out 2ab left us with

The proof was as elegant and brief as it was pallid.  But this simply laid the ground work for how pythagoras was being used to save whales in the final formula:

final formula

In the end it was all about communicating mathematics to the public and to special audiences including students for which Professor Budd has an official guide. 

Hopefully the public will come to appreciate mathematics and its ubiquity in all aspects of life even if not always explicit.

By Christian Agbodza