Somerset Times

Maths Quiz Team study at UQ

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Somerset Times Edition

Week 4, Term Four, 2019

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The Year 7 and 8 Maths Quiz Team won the Gold Coast South Division in August and therefore qualified for the State finals, which was recently held at University Queensland. This year, before the quiz itself, students were privileged to receive two workshops from UQ lecturers.

Firstly, they were taught a clever maths trick using binary. Binary involves writing numbers in base two (we normally use base 10), and is the basis of how computers work. Then it was on to an interesting presentation on error correcting codes which uses the Luhn algorithm and modular arithmetic. These codes are used to validate credit card numbers and barcodes; so the next time your credit card is rejected, you can blame it on Luhn! This mathematical extravaganza all took place in the James Foots building although we thought it should be spelt the James Feet building.

After refreshments the students went on the Wrigley/Hawtin tour of the UQ campus which included admiring the Great Court and its sandstone architecture (similar to Somerset College). We then had a change of pace and proceeded to the Physics Museum to watch the Pitch Drop experiment. This holds the Guinness World Record for the longest-running laboratory experiment – it was started in 1927. Since then, only nine drops have fallen - the last drop fell in April 2014 and the next drop is expected to fall sometime in the 2020s. Stay tuned for news of that!

The Maths Quiz commenced in the evening with 22 participating teams from all around the state. There were the usual five rounds; Estimation, Speed, (after which Pizza was served), Problem Solving, Individual Questions and General Knowledge. Our team of Aditya Naik (captain), Matthew Nickels and Kakeru Adachi performed very well, especially in the Speed and Problem-Solving rounds, to finish a creditable 7th overall, with Brisbane Grammar taking out the trophy yet again.

The Head of the UQ Maths faculty remarked that he had taught many lessons in that lecture theatre but with 66 eager school students working assiduously on problems, he had never before seen so much enthusiasm for maths.

Ananya Garg, Nitika Bethi and Isabella Ong were reserves on the day and my thanks go to Mr Hawtin who drove the bus and was the official photographer.

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