One of the great things about university is the amazingly long holidays, which enable you to go out and earn money, or travel the world. The world is your oyster, and my intention is to not spend three months completing the Portal 2 co-op mode like I did last year, but unfortunately, this requires forward planning. Through a little bit of part time work at university, this year I have saved enough money to go away, and last night finally got round to booking a well deserved holiday. I am actually incredibly exciting for my week in a mountain chalet in Austria this June, and cannot wait for exams to be over so I can go away.
Unfortunately, planning holidays is a justifiable excuse for procrastination, and is distracting me from the real purpose of the last few weeks- revision. Still one week to go, and I need to continue learning proofs and definitions, rather than getting distracted by googling cable cars, and imagining myself stepping into the sound of music.
The other exciting distraction I have had from work is choosing modules for next year. In the first two years everybody sticks to almost the same timetable on the mathematics course, but for third year there’s a huge array of choice, and I’m really looking forward to getting my teeth into new areas of mathematics next year. To give you an idea of what is available, I’ll put a list of what I am taking but there are also options in applied mathematics (such as physics based modules and areas of mechanics) and financial mathematics, for those looking at careers within banking or finance. Here is what I have chosen.
- number theory, which is (and I apologise for stating the obvious here) about the study of numbers, especially whole numbers, otherwise known as the integers.
- Irreducible Polynomials and squaring the circle which is a module looking at the old Greek problems such as whether you can split an angle into three exact pieces using just a compass.
- Generalised linear models which is a statistical based module involving making tests about data and finding patterns in it.
- Operational Research- this is almost like an extension of the D1 and D2 modules at A levels, with more linear programming and the simplex method.
- Groups and Symmetry- This studies something called group theory, which looks at sets of numbers that fulfil a series of properties that makes them a group. We have studied this partly in our modules this year, and I can’t wait to study more of it.
- Communicating Mathematics- This is slightly different and is a module that involves going into schools, trying to convey mathematical concepts to a younger audience, and also studying more about mathematics in teaching and in society.