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Euler Society Meeting - A Lecture from a Member
Rachel Bampton

The penultimate meeting of the Euler Society for this academic year took place last Tuesday evening. Hosted by Mr Fergus Yuille (Assistant Head of Maths), the attendees were a group of A Level mathematicians and further mathematicians. It turned out to be a thoroughly enjoyable occasion where the Lower Sixth (Year 12) members enjoyed a stimulating presentation from Academic Scholar, Peter.

After the usual pleasantries, Peter took to the stage and, with a clear delight in the intricacy of the Maths involved, led fellow members through the derivations of, firstly, the quadratic formula (used to solve quadratic equations) and, secondly, the cubic formula (used to solve cubics).  

Members were treated to the backstory of the Cardanoformula coming into the public domain, a tale of intrigue and deception that would make an engaging sub-plot in a historical drama. Peter revealed that it certainly was not Cardano’s formula originally but, rather, only publicised by him.

Questions were taken at the end and it was clear that the presentation had been relished by all present, while appetites had been whetted for more of this off-the-curriculum high-level maths.

Academic societies play an integral role here at Pangbourne and provide pupils with the means to further develop their knowledge outside of the regular curriculum. The basis of the presentation was developed from a video presentation which Peter produced for his Youtube account ‘As it were’. He created this channel in connection with his ‘Solving Polynomial Equations Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)’. 

According to UCAS, the qualification ‘helps students develop and demonstrate their project management skills and provides opportunities for extended writing, both of which are highly valued for progression to higher education and employment.’ The qualification has proven to be very popular at Pangbourne in the last year, mostly due to the lockdowns creating the opportunity for pupils to work on the projects in their own time at home.

Many thanks to Peter for such an engaging talk!