Bolton School Senior Girls

Saturday Maths Class Adds Up with Juggling & Rock Docs

Local Year 11 pupils as well as Bolton School students attended a Gifted and Talented Application of Mathematics Event at Bolton School featuring Dr Colin Wright and Dr Mark Lewney otherwise known as "The Rock Doctor".

Dr Wright, who is a Director of a company specialising in software for marine radar, described his juggling performance in terms of mathematical patterns and demonstrated how mathematics turns up in many surprising places. After a mid-morning snack in the Riley Sixth Form Centre the highly acclaimed Dr Lewney gave his presentation about the Mathematics of the rock guitar. The talk blended concepts from physics and maths with entertainment and Dr Lewney performed several experiments live on the Girls’ Division stage – as well as performing on his electric guitar. He started out with simpler ideas, using a slinky to show simple harmonic motion: starting out with a slow motion to show basic waves and amplitude, before going faster and faster. He also performed an experiment to show inertia, asking two pupils from the audience to swing bricks on strings as fast as they could and linked this to the recently discovered Higgs particle. He even managed to include a discussion of the fourth dimension, string theory and quarks – with slides to the tune of Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’! Dr Lewney presented these complex subjects in a funny and engaging way, using guitar music and audience participation in experiments to help the pupils understand them. 

The aims of the event were to promote the further study of Mathematics and to allow students to gain experience of the subject outside of the normal GCSE curriculum. 

The Rock Doctor educated and entertained in equal measures

The Rock Doctor educated and entertained in equal measures

Dr Wright used his juggling to illustrate mathematical concepts