Posted: 16th May 2016

Clongowes Wood College SJ

On Wednesday, 13th of April, James Gleeson, Professor of Industrial and Applied Mathematics at UL and Co-Director of the MACSI Consortium, returned to Clongowes for his last visit, having come twice previously in the year to help us with our mathematical models, which we had developed bit by bit throughout the year as we met every Friday night under the tutelage of Mr. Steven O’Hara.

Professor Gleeson began by giving a presentation which included a number of tips for making a strong mathematical presentation, such as ensuring that your presentation has an opening and a conclusion and how best to address the audience. After this, he spoke with each of the five groups about any final questions that they had about their models and presentations, which they would be presenting when we travelled to the University of Limerick the following Tuesday to present our models. As the day concluded, Mr. Lumb came down to the CLC to make a presentation to Professor Gleeson to thank him for giving up his valuable time to come and help us with a project which is truly one of a kind in Ireland, and offers a great insight to students as to what it might be like should they choose to study a STEM subject at Third Level.

Practice is key

One of the points which Professor Gleeson emphasised in his presentation was that practice is key in order to make a presentation with confidence. Therefore in the evenings leading up to our trip to UL, we met in Mr. O’Hara’s classroom to run through our presentations and also to take questions from Mr.O’Hara and the other students in attendance. These practised run-throughs ensured that any possible issues with the presentations were addressed and everyone was confident and familiar with the slides that they would be presenting.

On Tuesday the 19th of April, we headed down to UL to make the final presentations. On the day, there were five presentations, with two groups presenting their models for finding a lost plane, two groups presenting their thoughts on whether the stock market in efficient or inefficient and one group detailing their answer to when to apply harmful pesticides to kill a gypsy moth colony. One thing which was evident from listening to the presentations is that when it comes to trying to model a system mathematically, there is no ‘correct’ approach, and I for one found it extremely interesting to see the different ways that two groups went about solving the same problem. After each group had made their ten minute presentation, the floor was opened for questions to the professors, which included Professor Steven O’Brien, the other director of the MACSI consortium, lecturers and postgraduate students in attendance, and these questions challenged the groups on their knowledge of their model and information in relevant areas.

On behalf of all those who took part in the Maths Modelling project this year, I would like to sincerely thank Professor Gleeson for giving up his valuable time to take part in this project and for hosting us in UL, and also to Mr. Steven O’Hara for the massive amount of time and enormous effort he put into the project throughout the course of the year.

Conor Galvin (Poetry)

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