Physics Department hosts visit of world leading Applied Mathematician Professor James Gleeson. - Clongowes Wood College

Posted: 13th December 2012


The physics department was delighted to welcome Prof James Gleeson on Monday last the 10th of December.

Clongowes physics students are once again involved in research projects with the University of Limerick. The department has linked up with the Mathematics Applications Consortium for Science and Industry to develop mathematical models for four problems this year.

 Senior Research Fellow , Dr. Jean Charpin  visited Clongowes in October to launch the first phase of the  project. He met for two hours with  almost 40 students from Syntax and Poetry to begin the data collection phase of the work. The students in groups of 5 were asked to select one of four problems to work on. The problems are :

  1. If you were setting up a safari park how many lions and impala should you have?
  2. If you were to run a marathon , how long would it take?
  3. How can a room be maintained at a constant temperature?
  4. If you were to buy a car which one would suit best?

These are real world problems that don’t appear to automatically lend themselves to mathematical analysis, and yet this is what the boys must engage with.

The first phase of the project is complete where students decided what variables to analyse and then gathered the appropriate data.

On Monday 10th December Dr Jean Charpin returned with Professor James Gleeson to launch the second phase of the project which will involve the development of the actual mathematical models describing these systems. The two researchers worked with all of the groups and the day was inspirational for the students involved.

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.

During the project the boys work continuously with Mr. Stephen O’Hara , our physics teacher, and Mr. Patrick Gorman,  Mathematics,  will be able to make regular email contact with the researchers from UL who will return on at least one further occasion.

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.

The College is deeply grateful to the MACSI group in UL and in particular to Dr Jean Charpin for  his dedication to and enthusiasm for this project.

Special thanks must go to Professor James Gleeson through whom this link has been established. Professor Gleeson is one of the worlds foremost applied mathematicians and we are deeply grateful for the time and effort he has invested in this project.

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