End of sabbatical

Like many Universities, Plymouth University runs a sabbatical system, where a staff member can do research at another institution for a year. This allows a staff member to think about new ideas and focus on their research. Typically a staff member might go on a sabbatical once every 7 years, but this also requires obtaining external funding.

For the last year Dr Antonio Rago has been visiting the CERN theory group in Geneva. CERN hosts the large hadron collider (LHC) and is one the main places to experimentally search for new physics. Dr Rago is now back working at Plymouth University.

Presentation of Foundation Year Mathematics Research Work

Last Friday (6th July), Dr Matthew Craven presented some joint work with Dr Jenny Sharp on improving Foundation Year Mathematics student learning. The work was presented at the FYNAC2018 conference at the University of Nottingham, UK.

The work describes some preliminary conclusions from research conducted into partial classroom flipping with Foundation Year Mathematicians at the half-way stage of a two-year project. The conference has been described as the “Friendliest Conference in the UK”.

Paper is chosen as Editors’ Suggestion in Physical Review D

A recent paper by Dr Tom Heinzl and Dr Anton Ilderton of the University
of Plymouth, has been chosen as an
“Editors’ Suggestion” in the journal Physical Review D.

Only a small number of accepted research papers are judged to be
sufficiently important, interesting, and well written to justify
selection as an Editors’ Suggestion.

Described as “outstanding” by the Editors, the paper describes research
into theoretical quantum physics and the possibilities of investigating
this physics using the world’s most powerful laser beams.

The paper was written in collaboration with Dr Daniel Seipt of Lancaster
University, and can be downloaded from

http://arxiv.org/pdf/1802.05933.pdf

Projects in the final year of Mathematics with Education degree

In the final year of the Mathematics with Education degree there are two specialized modules on Education.  Here I will briefly discuss the module: MATH3619 Education Project.

The official description of this module is:

Students have the opportunity to study an area of mathematics education in a final year project. Students work individually and independently, with help and advice from a supervisor, on the chosen topic. The project is assessed through contributions to group discussions and the preparation of a dissertation.

At the end of the second year, the students meet with Dr Jenny Sharp, to discuss their project. The first stage is a big literature review on some aspect of teaching mathematics. The students start reading papers on teaching mathematics over the summer. The literature review generates a question that is tested in a small scale study in the final year of study.

Some of the typical topics are

  • Visual and audio communication in the teaching of mathematics.
  • Peer assisted learning.
  • Students with dyscalculia.
  • Comparing different mathematics qualifications

The results of the project are written up as a dissertation.

Talk at Confinement conference in Ireland

Craig McNeile is presenting a talk at the XIII   Quark Confinement and the Hadron Spectrum conference.

The  conference  will take place at Maynooth University , Ireland, 1-6 August 2018. The aim of the conference is to bring together people working on strong interactions from different approaches, ranging from lattice QCD to perturbative QCD, from models of the QCD vacuum to QCD phenomenology and experiments, from effective theories to physics beyond the Standard Model.

The talk will be about using lattice QCD to calculate some theoretical contributions to the Muon g-2 experiment at Fermilab in the US.

 

New edition of textbook on Engineering Mathematics

The latest edition of the textbook : Advanced Modern Engineering Mathematics, by Prof Phil Dyke and co-authors will be published  at end of July 2018. The co-authors which are  current or recent staff members at  Plymouth University are: Phil Dyke, Matthew Craven, Julian Stander and Tim Reis..

The philosophy of learning by doing helps students develop the ability to use mathematics with understanding to solve engineering problems. A wealth of engineering examples and the integration of MATLAB, MAPLE and R further support students.

The latest edition also contains a  chapter on statistics, including Bayesian statistical inference, statistical process control and queuing theory, all implemented in R.

 

Case study on risk analysis in the second year

One module in the second year of the mathematics program is called: Operational Research and Monte Carlo methods.  This is a very applied module, because the methods of operational research involve using mathematics to help companies to make more profitable decisions. Half the course is taught via case studies. We like to try to make the case studies as realistic as possible.

For example, this year Dr. Malgorzata Wojtys taught risk analysis via a case study provided by Babcock. Babcock deliver bespoke, highly-skilled engineering support.

At the end of the module the students could:

  • Structure and analyse quantitative problems using MS Excel;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the notion of statistical risk;
  • Simulate the behaviour of stochastic systems using the spreadsheet;
  • Summarise the results numerically and graphically and communicate them through an oral presentation.

Suppose that the students  are analysts in the Defence Systems Technology department in a large company that provides equipment support and vehicle fleet management to its clients, among other things. They  have been asked to analyse the data on the usage of a number of vehicle parts and to make some predictions for the future.