Martin's Blog


Posted by Martin Orr on Thursday, 17 July 2008 at 14:30

I have spent two nights in Amiens, a city in northern France. Its cathedral is striking mostly for its size, the biggest Gothic building in France. It has a pair of oddly asymmetrical towers on the front. At night, the normally white front of the cathedral is illuminated to show the colours the statues would originally have been painted. It makes it look magically alive, and must be quite a feat of projection to illuminate all the little bits of statues in different colours.

On my way from Amiens to Lyon, I passed through Paris, walking from the Gare du Nord to the Gare de Lyon. I don't want to stay any longer in Paris, partly because I don't feel like anywhere so big and busy just now and partly because I already saw quite a bit there a few years ago.

no comments Tags france, holiday

Birmingham summer school

Posted by Martin Orr on Sunday, 13 July 2008 at 21:12

I have just spent a week at the National Mathematics Summer School in Birmingham. Forty-two fourth/fifth form students are invited, the idea being to expose them to a broader range of mathematics than they get in school. Six sixth-formers are also invited; as well as being given some maths of their own, they are expected to look after a group of the younger children. I was at the summer school myself in 2001, and as a senior in 2002, but haven't been since.

This week had a strong geometrical flavour - four of the seniors' five sessions had a geometrical or topological theme, and there was much building of models of solids, either from plastic kits or origami. I gave the seniors a talk on hyperbolic geometry - a change from the Euclidean geometry I usually do at olympiad training camps. I think it went pretty well, and managed not to be too hard for them. I felt like I had not much to do overall at the camp, despite there being surprisingly few permanent staff. Still I enjoyed it, and it reaches a lot more children than the formal Olympiad training scheme.

Since the summer school finished on Friday, I have been staying with my aunt in Hove. I visited the magnificent Brighton Pavilion, the hilly town of Lewes and Seaford, on the sea. Tomorrow I am going on to France.

no comments Tags holiday, imo, nmss, teaching, travel