School of Mathematics and Physics


Events for Schools and Students interested in Physics and Mathematics

Each year we hold a number of regular events helping school pupils understand the importance and excitement of Physics and Mathematics. We do not expect all students who attend these events to go on to undertake a degree in Mathematics and/or Physics; but many do!

Mathematics and Physics Open Days

Mathematics and Physics UCAS Days

Mathematics Schools Competition

Mathematics Careers 

Physics Work Experience

Horizons in Physics

Institute of Physics Tyndall Lecture

Northern Ireland Science Festival Talk: "Statistics and epidemiology: How numbers help control diseases."

Listen to the music of Pi

Dr Maurice McCartney worked for many years in the School of Mathematics and Physics administration offices. When Dr Brian McMaster from Pure Mathematics was about to retire in 2011, Maurice decided to write a piece of music to mark the occcasion. Trying to think of a theme that would be relevant, he hit on the idea of converting the digits of pi into notes, initially just to see what happened. (Pi is one of the numbers that governs Mathematics and Physics in our Universe.) And he was quite taken aback by the results!

Although Pi is represented by an infinite non-repeating sequence of digits, Maurice's tune takes it as far as this:

π = 3.1415926535897932384626433

If you take those digits and play the equivalent note in the scale of C (C = 1, D = 2, E = 3 and so on) you get the piano tune that opens and closes the piece (leaving out the decimal point, and using the D above the high C to get number 9).  Maurice then simply harmonised the tune that emerged, and added a couple of other melodies for variety.  But he insists that for the core of the piece, the credit belongs to our Universe. Let’s call it the music of the spheres!

 McMasterpiece is played here by müss (Maurice Macartney, Keith Waterson, Steve McBride & Michael Speers).