Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search

 

UC mathematicians get crafty around New Zealand

UC mathematicians get crafty around New Zealand

Armed with knitting needles and origami paper, University of Canterbury mathematicians Dr Jeanette McLeod and Dr Phil Wilson are on a mission to bring maths to the masses, through craft.

Following the success of their inaugural 2016 Maths Craft Festival, which entertained almost 2,000 people at the Auckland War Memorial Museum, the team has been awarded $120,000 from the Unlocking Curious Minds fund to take Maths Craft on the road.

University of Canterbury (UC) Mathematics and Statistics academics Dr McLeod and Dr Wilson, together with UC PhD student Sarah Mark and Dr Nicolette Rattenbury of the University of Auckland, will be touring New Zealand cities this year, raising interest in maths through their quirky brand of maths outreach.

Using the government grant, they aim to introduce people to mathematical concepts by demonstrating the way these ideas are intertwined with crafts. The mathematicians will invite people to join them to learn how to knit a mathematical knot, crochet a Möbius strip, fold an origami tetrahedron, or colour a Latin square, and experience mathematics in a whole new way.

UC Senior Lecturer Dr McLeod, who has knitted and crocheted various mathematical objects, from Möbius strips to intricate coral-like hyperbolic planes, is keen to share her passion for maths as the language of science. While she’s usually dealing with combinatorics; in particular asymptotic enumeration, Latin squares, graph colouring and random graphs, she’s also an accomplished crafter and crocheter.

“The idea began after a serendipitous encounter with Dr Julia Collins from the University of Edinburgh who was on holiday in Christchurch early last year,” she says.

“We are both avid knitters and crocheters and we wanted to find a way to share the beautiful mathematics behind craft with the public. This inspired the 2016 Maths Craft Festival.”

This year, in addition to the Maths Craft Festival in Auckland scheduled for the weekend of 9 - 10 September, there will be events in Christchurch, Dunedin and Wellington. Through these events, the UC academics will show people how maths underpins almost every aspect of today’s society.

Dr Wilson, also a Senior Lecturer in UC’s School of Mathematics and Statistics, is more usually found working in theoretical fluid dynamics and mathematical modelling in biology and industry.

“I love explaining the fun and excitement of mathematics to all sorts of audiences, from school kids to lifelong knitters,” he says.

“It’s amazing seeing people realise that maths is everywhere. Whether it’s crafts, technology, business, science, social science or education, maths is vital.”

The academics say that maths is often overlooked as a subject of beauty and imagination, with many people viewing it as boring, irrelevant, and downright unpleasant. However, by using craft as a medium, these mathematicians plan to introduce adults and children alike to a new way of engaging with mathematics.

Unlocking Curious Minds is a cross-agency programme of work led by MBIE, the Ministry of Education and the Office of the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor. Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith announced the funding in February.

Visit the Maths Craft website: www.mathscraftnz.org


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Howard Davis Review: From Free Press to Fancy Dress - Spielberg's The Post

Stephen Spielberg's The Post is an opportune newsroom drama in which a corrupt Republican president wages war against the "liberal media," as its plucky proprietor risks economic and legal ruin to bring the Pentagon Papers to public light. Its true protagonist is publisher Katharine Graham, a stringently diplomatic businesswoman, reluctantly compelled to take an overtly political stance in the interests of democracy and freedom of the press. More>>



Howard Davis Review: The Black Dog of Empire - Joe Wright's Darkest Hour'

On the eve of England's contorted efforts to negotiate its ignominious retreat from Europe and the chaotic spectacle of the Tory party ratifying its undignified departure from a union originally designed to prevent another World War, there has been a renewed appetite for movies about 1940. More>>



Howard Davis Review: Anger Begets Anger - Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

For fans of what Ricky Gervais termed "number movies" (Seven Samurai, The Magnificent Seven, Ocean's 11, Se7en), Martin McDonagh's latest offering will be a welcome addition to the roster. The Irish playwright turned screenwriter and director has produced another quirky and darkly comic tragedy that evolves around the futility of anger and grief, retribution and revenge. More>>

Howard Davis: Sexting in George Dawe's Genevieve - Part I

Te Papa's permanent collection includes an enormous oil painting by the English artist George Dawe called Genevieve (from by a poem by S.T. Coleridge entitled 'Love') that was prominently featured in the 2013 exhibition Angels & Aristocrats. Compare the massive immensity of the bard's gorgeously gilded harp with the stubby metallic handle of the Dark Knight's falchion, both suggestively positioned at crotch-level. Dawe's enormous canvas invokes a whole history of blushing that pivots around a direct connection to sexual arousal. More>>

ALSO:

Ethnomusicology: Malian ‘Desert Blues’ Revolutionaries To Storm WOMAD

Malian band Tinariwen (playing WOMAD NZ in March 2018) are a true musical revolutionaries in every sense. Active since 1982, these nomadic Tuareg or ‘Kel Tamashek’ (speakers of Tamashek) electric guitar legends revolutionised a traditional style to give birth to a new genre often called ‘desert blues’. They also have a history rooted deeply in revolution and fighting for the rights of their nomadic Tamashek speaking culture and people. More>>

Gordon Campbell: Best New Music Of 2017

Any ‘best of list’ has to be an exercise in wishful thinking, given the splintering of everyone’s listening habits... But maybe… it could be time for the re-discovery of the lost art of listening to an entire album, all the way through. Just putting that idea out there. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • CULTURE
  • HEALTH
  • EDUCATION
 
 
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland