Science Department welcomes world leading Applied Mathematician Professor James Gleeson to Clongowes.
Clongowes physics and applied maths students are again involved in research projects with the University of Limerick. The department has linked up once again this year with the Mathematics Applications Consortium for Science and Industry to develop mathematical models for three problems.
Professor James Gleeson, a world leader in his field, visited Clongowes on Thursday to launch the first phase of the project. He met with over 40 students from Syntax and Poetry to introduce the concept of Mathematical modelling and its power to solve real world problems. The professor gave a fascinating insight into the applications of mathematics in the real world and how it is used to solve problems in all aspects of life and then introduced this years problems. The students, in groups of five, were asked to select one of these three problems to work on:
- Design an algorithm to optimise the operation of a lift in a multi storey building.
- Model the melting of the polar ice caps due to global warming and the effect this will have on Ireland.
- Model pricing and competition between petrol stations from the perspective of minimising cost for the purchaser and maximising profit for the retailer.
These are not stated as mathematical problems – they are real world problems – and it is the students job to mathematize and develop mathematical models describing them.
Professor Gleeson spent time with each group listening, guiding, challenging, and inspiring the students. The young problem solvers are in the first phase of the project where they will brainstorm ideas, decide what variables could be involved in the system, discern which to analyse and then gather the appropriate data.
In 6 to 8 weeks time Professor Gleeson will return to see what progress has been made and to formally launch the second phase of the project which will involve the development of the actual mathematical models describing these systems. The third and final phase will be the testing of these models with possible re-evaluation and re-testing.
The students will complete a report and make a final presentation in the University of Limerick on the model which they develop. This project is unique to Clongowes and is a fantastic opportunity for our students to get involved in real world applications and see how problems in science and industry can be dealt with using physics and mathematics.
Professor Gleeson pointed out to students that Daniel Giles, of the first maths modelling group in Clongowes five years ago, was a participant in the European Study Group with Industry this year while doing a summer internship with him in UL. This study group is the model upon which the Clongowes project is based and Daniel is now in his final year in mathematical sciences in UCD.
Special thanks must go to Professor James Gleeson, through whom this link has been established, for his extraordinary generosity. Professor Gleeson is one of the world’s foremost applied mathematicians and we are deeply grateful for the time and effort he invests in this project.
Mr Stephen O’Hara