spring /summer 2006
Why British Olympic hopes
should focus on golf Home
According to Dr John Haigh, maths lecturer
and co-author of How to Take a Penalty: The
hidden mathematics of sports, our best
chance for success is to focus on the sports
we do best — and the ones with an element
of luck. ‘There’s a lot of luck in golf,’ suggests
John, 'which makes it a good one to go for.’
The book also includes established
mathematical research and theories on
how to score penalties (make sure the goal-
keeper doesn't know whether you intend
to place the ball or to 'blast it' by using an
unpredictable strategy); whether or not
winning the toss will give you an advantage;
and the effects of wind speed and other
environmental factors on record-breaking.
‘The fact is that most participants are mathe-
maticians’, points out John. 'They have to be,
because sporting success and failure are
predominantly measured using numbers and ‘Sussex University is my
also because many of the tactics essential to home. I travelled 4,000
a competitor require logical, analytical thought miles to come here to study
that is, essentially, maths.’ and the experience I have
gained is much more than I
John, a keen sportsman who was awarded an had expected.
Oxford ‘blue’ for football while at university and
With London winning the Olympic bid, once played at Wembley stadium, describes the ‘Sussex has given
the hope is that British competitors will book as a ‘dip-in’ text. The theme that unifies it me a good foundation
dominate the medals tables in 2012. But is that maths and sport are inextricably linked, on my degree course
is it sporting excellence, strategy or luck he says. ‘For those who ask the question, and I have met people
that determines which countries walk away “What's the relevance of maths?”, we hope this from all parts of the
with the golds? book provides at least part of the answer.’ world and learnt about
different cultures. Also,
the University organises
social activities and
outings, and I swim
Surfing on the beach and play badminton.
‘I like the campus
The University now provides wireless internet environment where
access across campus. This means that if you you have everything in
own a wireless-enabled device, such as a laptop, one place. I also like
PDA or phone, you'll be able to surf the web and the architecture with
read email from many locations on campus, even buildings designed to
outdoors while enjoying a view of the surrounding resemble an “open book”,
South Downs, and all student housing will have a “camera”, a ”roll of film”
full internet access by the end of 2006. and a “candle”.’
If you go into the city, there are also wireless hot- Rowena Tiruchelvam is in
spots around Brighton, including a number in the final year of her Maths
popular cafés and bars. You can even get access BSc degree.
on the beach between the piers.
Library gets information
David and makeover
The Daily Telegraph recently
reported on a major chess
league match where our
Dr Mark Broom recorded his
best ever win against one
of Britain’s top players,
Grandmaster John Emms.
This epic, if slightly fortuitous, win The mass of information held by an
came as Mark took part in a Four academic library can be intimidating so
Nations Chess League game, where education technologist Masha Garibyan
his team — the Ads — came up has developed a web-based tutorial
against champions Wood Green, designed to help Sussex students make
who can field a whole team (eight the most of their library’s resources.
boards) of Grandmasters!
Clear, colourful and a doddle to use,
InfoSuss takes users step by step
through everything from deciphering
reading lists to making sure that their
own research sources are up to scratch.
Maths students to
join pilot scheme
Maths students will benefit from a personal-
ised, e-learning Career Development course
as part of their degree. To be implemented
from this October, the course will help students
The Times Higher Education Supplement ranking of 2005 places the identify career opportunities based on their
University among the top 100 universities in the world as well as 13th in the own skills. and interests. They will have
UK. The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alasdair Smith, says: ‘Once again, these access to an e-learning resource, AfterSuss
rankings show that the quality of our research and teaching is recognised which is directly linked to recruitment websites.
worldwide and that Sussex continues to be among the world's leading The course will cover the practicalities of
institutions.’ preparing and submitting CV’s and covering
letters as well as focussing on skills developed
The rankings list 200 institutions worldwide and are based on the opinions within and outside the curriculum and how
of academic peers and global business and industry, international outlook these might be applied to and relevant in
and statistics relating to teaching and research excellence. occupational settings.
The THES World University Rankings editorial states: ‘An international out-
look and a global reputation among academics, students and employers are
all important aspects of a university that ranks among the world elite.’
More questions? Still undecided?
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