News from Mathematics spring summer Why British Olympic hopes by jmeltzer


									News from

                                                                                                            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
Goliath clash
                                        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.
Sussex ranked
among world’s
finest universities
                                                                                 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?

    SciTech Admissions Office, Chichester 2, Room 2R212
    University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton, BN1 9QJ
    T +44 (0)1273 877856 E

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