On 12 January, the Mathematics department was delighted to welcome Professor Imre Leader, Trinity College, Cambridge, for a two-day visit. Professor Leader is an expert in the field of Combinatorics, and as well as being an active researcher he also is a popular lecturer at the University. Professor Leader represented the United Kingdom in the 1981 International Mathematics Olympiad, and he later managed the team between 1999 and 2001. He has published widely and is a co-author of the Princeton Companion to Mathematics.
Away from Mathematics he is one of the country’s top players of Othello (Reversi), and he has won the British championships an unprecedented ten times, as well as being a runner-up in the world championships. Professor Leader was invited to visit the school not only for his eminence within Mathematics, but also his ability to communicate subtle and beautiful ideas.
During the visit Professor Leader sat in on various lessons. He commented on both the level of achievement and the warm and friendly atmosphere of these classes, with students unafraid to push themselves and share ideas when faced with non-routine, challenging problems. He also visited a Lower Sixth ToK class, and was greatly impressed with the role of this synoptic course in encouraging students to think freely and develop critical sensibilities. He thought the material on logical fallacies was especially worthwhile, as forming rigorous proofs and arguments is a vital skill for higher Mathematics. Lucky students from years 7, 8 and the Lower Sixth also had the opportunity to work in small groups with Professor Leader, looking at Olympiad style questions. Read the full report.
Wednesday 18 January 2012
by Charlotte Hails