Code breaking and reporting - 500 children attend Norwich event where maths is brought to life

Students from Benjamin Britten High School, in Lowestoft, look at an Enigma machine from the Second

Students from Benjamin Britten High School, in Lowestoft, look at an Enigma machine from the Second World War at the Norwich School's maths event. PIcture: Norwich School - Credit: Archant

From code breaking to fake news - hundreds of future mathematicians attended an event in Norwich which saw numbers brought to life.

More than 500 children from 20 schools across Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire travelled to Open in Norwich city centre for the second Michaelmas Mathematics Symposium.

The event, organised by the Norwich School, is designed to inspire year 10 and 11 and sixth form students studying GCSE and A-level maths.

Youngsters enjoyed two lectures - one by James Grimeon, a mathematician and speaker whose talk looked at the history of maths in code breaking – from ancient Greece to present day.

The students could examine an original Second World War Enigma machine brought along by Mr Grimeon.

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Simon Kirby, head of maths at the Norwich School, said: 'We were originally inspired by similar events that happen nationwide but are tricky to attend for all schools in this area – so we thought we could and should do something about this.

'All schools in our local area are invited to our symposium, where two eminent speakers give talks on how mathematics is used and can be used in understanding our lives around us.'

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The second talk, how to spot naughty numbers in the news, was led by Sir David John Spiegelhalter, a British statistician and a fellow of Churchill College at Cambridge University.

He showed how statistics could be used to give weight to a story – but could also be abused through exaggeration.

Mr Kirby said: 'Attendance is free and this year we had more than 500 pupils from around Norfolk and Suffolk, from Sheringham to East Bergholt and Hunstanton to Lowestoft.

'It was clear to see that the pupils got so much from it, being able to meet and discuss material with the lecturers being a particular highlight.

'It is excellent and rewarding for us to see that the engagement and demand for events like this is there and we plan to offer the third event next year.'

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