|Department of Engineering|
|University of Cambridge > Engineering Department > News & Features|
6 December 2006
Hugh Hunt giving his inspirational show
Dr Hugh Hunt a Senior Lecturer at the Department is helping to make maths and physics more accessible and fun by giving inspirational lectures to audiences of all ages.
Hugh wants to help school pupils in particular to understand why maths is useful and to attract more young people to think about applying for courses in engineering.
By the end of this year, he will have given lectures to more than 4,000 GCSE and A level students at events that aim to bring maths alive for teenage audiences, encouraging more young people to study the subject beyond GCSE.
Topics for Hugh's lectures range from Boomerangs, Bouncing Balls and Other Spinning Things to The Secret Science of Music, and reflect his research interests in dynamics and vibration.
He carries a big suitcase of props to venues around the country, travelling by train. It contains bouncy balls, gyroscopes, boomerangs, bicycle wheels, mobile phones, hair dryers and angle grinders.
"Everyday objects are the best things to use. Then people can go away and experiment for themselves. It's great to see students throwing their mobile phones in the air after the lecture to test the law of conservation of angular momentum," he says.
During 2006 Hugh was a guest speaker at three Mathematics in Action events in London organised by the Training Partnership, and two shows staged by Maths Inspiration in Birmingham.
Mathematics in Action events, which attract audiences of up to 900 pupils, are organised by Radka Newby of the Training Partnership. Maths Inspiration is run by Rob Eastaway, a Cambridge graduate (Christ's College) and author whose books on everyday maths include 'Why do buses come in threes?' and 'How to take a Penalty'.
"We call our events "shows" rather than lectures and we are really choosy about who we invite as speakers. They have to be both entertaining and able to put across complex ideas in a straight-forward way," says Mr Eastaway.
"Our events are not about passing exams. We want pupils to leave feeling "Wow! That was fun and it's really got me thinking." Other Cambridge academics to have taken part in events run by the two organisations include Dr Robert Hunt, Deputy Director of the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences, and Dr Joan Lasenby, University Lecturer in the Signal Processing Group in the Department of Engineering. The schools events also regularly feature science writers Simon Singh (who did his PhD at Cambridge) and David Acheson, and the broadcaster Kate Bellingham.
In 2001 both Dr Hugh Hunt and Dr Robert Hunt (who are unrelated) were among winners of the University's annual Pilkington Prizes, awarded in recognition of excellence in teaching at the University. Dr Hugh Hunt has also twice been voted best lecturer by students in the Department of Engineering.
Article courtesy of Alexandra Buxton, University of Cambridge, Office of Communications/Community Affairs
|| Search | CUED | Cambridge University ||
© Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge
Information provided by web-editor