Our Maths department offers a range of activities for schools, such as an Exploring Maths event, Science festival and a series of talks from academics.
All our activities are available to schools who are members of the Royal Holloway Connect Scheme.
Every year we host our Exploring Maths event, designed to increase year 12 students’ enjoyment and understanding of the subject. Find out more about the 2018 event programme here
During the day there are mathematical talks, short quizzes and campus tours.
Science for Schools lecture series
A series of school-friendly lectures presented by our Faculty of Science.
Key Stage 5 students will hear our scientists and mathematicians discuss some of the hot topics in their subject. There’s the chance to ask questions afterwards and chat one-to-one with academics.
Talks for schools
Our academics regularly volunteer to visit schools and give talks on all areas of maths. Here’s a list of prepared talks that we can offer. The talks are free and can be adjusted to fit most audiences.
Email Professor Stefanie Gerke to find out more
Professor Carlos Cid: Symmetry in Mathematics
In nature, the notion of symmetry is often associated with harmony of forms and beauty, and its concept is widely applied in the design of objects of all shapes and sizes, such as in arts, architecture and even music.
Most animals present some form of bilateral symmetry. Symmetry's natural habitat is however in Mathematics. The concept can be described mathematically and the ubiquity of symmetric forms in nature is a great motivation for the study of the mathematics behind symmetry.
We discuss the geometric and mathematical concept of symmetry in various forms, such as reflectional, rotational and translational symmetry. We also consider wallpaper and crystallographic symmetry. Finally, we look for examples found in both organic and inorganic nature that illustrate the beauty of symmetry.
Professor Rainer Dietmann: Prime and perfect numbers
Prime numbers are amongst the most fascinating objects in mathematics. In this talk, we want to discuss some of their basic properties such as the fact that there are infinitely more of them. We will discuss why it is important in mathematics to prove such facts rather than making a limited number of observations.
If time permits we also want to discuss an interesting special class of prime numbers - Mersenne primes. These are closely connected to so called perfect numbers, which are subject to many interesting unresolved conjectures themselves.
Professor Keith Martin: Cryptography and the Da Vinci Code
This talk will provide an introduction to cryptography, a science which has played an important historic role and now underpins the security of information systems, including the internet.
We will demonstrate some of the security problems with sending information over the internet and discuss how cryptography can be used to address these. Attendees will have the chance to solve some simple cryptographic puzzles and learn a little bit about how cryptography works.
Professor Martin will also discuss if any real cryptography is used in Dan Brown's book The Da Vinci Code
Professor James McKee: Mathematics at University
This talk aims to provide sixth-formers (and their teachers) with an up-to-date picture of Mathematics at University today.
Discover the way it relates to, and differs from, the subject at A-Level, the wide range of topics available (from abstract algebra to theoretical physics, from the mathematics of decision making to cryptography), the way to distinguish between mathematics degree courses at different universities, and the careers taken up by mathematics graduates.
Mr Laurence O’Toole: Cryptology - the science of secrecy
Electronic security is a daily concern in the modern technological world. Banks, law enforcement, governments, armies, and private individuals all have information that they want to keep hidden from prying eyes. But this need for secrecy is nothing new. Cryptography is almost as old as writing itself, and ciphers are as diverse as the history in which they were used.
In this talk, we'll look at some of the cunning techniques that have been used over the last two thousand years. You will learn some of the methods that are used to make a message appear to be gibberish. But you will also discover that there are tricks to deciphering the gibberish anyway.
Professor Kenny Paterson: From fish to phishing
Cryptography is a beautiful and ancient subject, and today is a thriving academic discipline at the intersection of mathematics and computer science. Cryptography plays an important role in securing many facets of everyday life, including, for example, our mobile phone calls, our credit card payments and (soon) our electronic health records.
This talk will discuss some of the real-world problems that arise when cryptography is put into use. The talk will begin with the discussion of Fish, an important cipher from World War II, with an explanation of how it was broken at Bletchley Park using a combination of luck, ingenuity and hard work.
The talk will end with Phishing - a modern phenomenon in which fraudsters trick victims into revealing sensitive personal information such as credit card details. It will try to extract from these and other examples what cryptography can (and cannot) do for us.
Dr Mark Wildon: The liar game
Ask a friend to think of a secret number between 1 and 15. How many questions with yes/no answers do you need to discover your friend's number? How many questions would you need if your friend is permitted to lie in one answer? In this talk, we will answer these questions and learn how to play these games optimally, using the mathematics of coding theory to detect lies. The talk is interactive. Slides for the 30 minute version and the one hour version are available.