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Queen’s University hosts Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival 

Julia Robinson with students in a Math Festival group photo

As part of MathsWeek Ireland 2016, the School of Mathematics and Physics held a Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival at QUB on Friday 21 October.

Alderman Brian Kingston, Lord Mayor of Belfast, opened the festival, which was attended by 200 schoolchildren from across Northern Ireland. Julia Robinson Mathematics Festivals inspire students to explore the richness and beauty of mathematics through activities that encourage collaborative, creative problem solving. Google, Pixar and a range of schools and universities have hosted previous festivals across the world. Gordon Hamilton hosted the QUB festival. Originally from Belfast, Gordon is now based in Canada. As well as working in mathematics education, Gordon is also a board game and puzzle designer. He founded MathPickle in 2010 to inject unsolved problems into the classroom.

The Lord Mayor said, “It’s great to see mathematics being showcased away from the classroom and in such a fun and accessible way. Hopefully, these activities, together with the enthusiasm shown by all the students, will inspire them to consider careers as mathematicians, scientists and engineers.”

Gordon Hamilton said, “It is brilliant to see so many students here today embracing mathematics. They represent the next generation of mathematicians in Northern Ireland and we hope that taking part in activities like this will further strengthen their love of mathematics.”

The organiser of the festival, Dr Daniel Dundas from the School of Mathematics and Physics, said, “As well as being a beautiful subject in its own right, mathematics is an important tool for understanding the world around us and provides a way to answer many important questions. Hopefully this festival, together with other MathsWeek activities, will encourage young people to think about mathematics in new and exciting ways.”