It’s an inescapable fact that to become an engineer, you need a good background in maths. So to inspire a new generation of structural and civil engineers, we need to catch them while they are still studying maths at school. That is the purpose of Maths Inspiration, a nationwide programme of theatre-based lecture shows aimed at 15-17 year olds. In each show, three speakers (typically a mathematician, an engineer and a statistician) demonstrate the diverse ways in which maths is used in the real world. Each show is held in a prestigious theatre or concert hall, and attracts a packed audience of between 500 and 1,000 teenagers.
The Institution’s Educational Trust has been a supporter and sponsor of Maths Inspiration for a number of years, sponsoring shows in Liverpool, Reading, Birmingham and Manchester.
John Roberts of Jacobs and Paul Shepherd of Bath University are regular speakers at Maths Inspiration events, and their talks on the maths of rollercoasters and the Olympic stadium (respectively) are extremely well received. Other speakers, who include Simon Singh, Kate Bellingham and Rob Eastaway, support the engineering message.
There is evidence that the events have had a significant impact, not only in increasing the take-up of A Level maths, but also of teenagers being inspired to pursue engineering instead of other degrees.
For more information on Maths Inspiration visit www.mathsinspiration.com