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About Maths Week Ireland

Maths Week is a partnership of organisations concerned with promoting mathematics across the island of Ireland. Over 50 partners are involved including universities, institutes of technology, teacher training colleges, further education, professional bodies, museums, libraries and visitor centres and other groups. Events are run by partners, delivered online and most schools run their own special activities. Maths week is supported by the Departments of Education in both parts of the island, Science Foundation Ireland, ESB, Xilinx and Waterford Institute of Technology. The guiding principle of Maths Week is "Maths for All".

Origins of Maths Week Ireland

Maths Week was established in 2006 by Sheila Donegan and Eoin Gill directors of Calmast STEM Outreach Centre at Waterford Institute of Technology. They had been working for several years in the promotion of STEM but came to the opinion that mathematics was key to all STEM subjects and that attitudes towards maths and performance at maths were limiting the take up of STEM subject. They had been including maths in events such as science week but came to the conclusion that something big was needed to change attitudes towards maths. But what?

After seeing Rob Eastaway give a talk to an iSCAN (the Irish Science Centres and Awareness Network) meeting organised by the late Dr Ian Elliott, Eoin realised that there were in fact people out there who could engage people of all ages with fun, interesting and challenging maths. Rob was invited to Waterford institute of Technology to present to two hundred 16 year old (One of the most challenging ages). The event was a big hit and Sheila and Eoin decided to establish a Maths Week. That was May 2006. Fortuitously the same month Dr Siddartha Sen (then of TCD) and Dr Fiacre O'Cairbre (of the then NUI Maynooth) spoke at WIT's Maths and Physics Seminar Series. Knowing that they both ran activities with schools they were asked would they run activities in the same week as WIT and that this would serve as a pilot Maths Week Ireland. Fiacre runs the annual Hamilton Walk and recommended that Maths Week encompass this event.

On the 16th October 1843 while walking from his residence at Dunsink Observatory to chair a meeting of the Royal Irish Academy, Hamilton had an epiphany at Broombridge on the Royal Canal. He had been working on the problem of multiplying "triples" for many years without success and the solution just came to him like a "galvanic switch" closing. Realising that the problem required using 4 dimensions and new rules for the algebra, Hamilton scratched the equations for Quaternions on the limestone bridge, making 16th October a special day in Irish and world mathematics.

So it was decided to situate Maths Week on the week including the 16th October. Word spread through the maths and maths education community through people like Dr Maurice O'Reilly and Paul Nugent and in Northern Ireland through Dr Trisha Eaton and Dr Tom Mason and by  the time the October 2006 had come around there were 13 partners running events and we had an all-island festival.

From the beginning partners ran their own events and this was supplemented by visiting presenters from abroad. By everyone doing something at the same time a big noise could be made and the media took interest. For the first time there was media coverage about maths that wasn't about exam results and every year print, broadcast and online media carry positive messages about maths.

While the founders thought that Maths Week would be a hard sell, it seemed like everyone was waiting for a maths week. The numbers of partner centres continued to expand with effectively all universities, institutes of technology and teacher training colleges participating along with museums, visitor centres, professional bodies etc now involved. Schools eagerly engaged in Maths Week and where there wasn't local events available, ingenious teachers and pupils developed their own activity. Maths Week is observed in schools across the island. Many events and activities have been added to the Maths Week Menu over the years and the engagement in 2016 was over 300,000. Not bad on an Island of 6.5 million, but still plenty more people to reach!

Maths Week has established another website www.mathsireland.ie and it is planned to support more and more activity throughout the year.

Maths Week is co-ordinated by a team at Waterford Institute of Technology's Calmast STEM Outreach Hub including

Margaret Fogarty, Cordula Weiss, Sian Hanly, Sheila Donegan and Eoin Gill.

 

Short video from Maths Week 2016

Maths Week 2016 short video from Eoin Gill on Vimeo.

 

Short video from Maths Week 2015

MATHSweek2014 from Eoin Gill on Vimeo.

 

Launch of Maths Week 2015 from MathsWeekIreland on Vimeo.

 

Maths Week Ireland started in 2006 and has grown to be the biggest event of its kind in the world.

Maths Week works as a partnership of groups (universities, institutes of technology, teachers education, professional bodies, visitor centres, schools etc) working to create a positive attitude to maths.

The core principle is "Maths for All"

Maths Week is Co-ordinated by CALMAST, Waterford Institute of Technology.

For information and booking for events please see the contact details for each event.

 

For general enquiries about Maths Week please contact -

Eoin Gill
Director
CALMAST
Waterford IT
email: mathsweek@wit.ie
web: www.calmast.ie

 

MEDIA ENQUIRIES ONLY to

MKC Communications, Dublin

Paula Curtin
paula@mkc.ie

 

Rumour Mill PR Belfast

Samantha Livingstone

samantha@rumourmillpr.com