(Blog jointly written by Elizabeth Gray and Cameron Smith)
It has come to our attention that nearly a year has passed since the mighty managerial mission to mastermind SLS was comprehensively conferred to our eagerly awaiting shoulders; bright eyed and uninitiated in the ways of SAMBa as they were.
It is thus with a modicum of nostalgia that we reminiscently relish the (w)riting of this review.
It all began one whimsical Wednesday when we decided to take one for the team and volunteer to organise SLS for the term (sorry, *Semester, what is this place?). What could possibly go wrong?
Well, for starters, THIS:
Have we lost you yet? Perhaps we should explain.
In truth, SLS stands for neither sequential logarithmic spoons nor spicy lentil soup, sautéed lobster salad or slightly lacklustre sultanas but does in fact stand for Student Led Symposium. "What is that?", we hear you cry in eager anticipation. Believe us, it's a common question, one which we often ask ourselves.
SLS is a tri-weekly forum in which speakers invited by yours truly, industrial partners, and students give talks, workshops and lead mathematically informative sessions in the lead up to SAMBa's flagship activity, the ITT.
In order to prepare ourselves for such a task and to morph ourselves into the highly developed and effective interdisciplinary statisico-mathematicians which now appeareth before thine eyes, we organised many engaging activities. We present... our greatest hits:
- Straight in at number five are the industrial partner visits and their fascinating and mathematically unformulated problems. Problems included personalised medicine, absorption of pesticides through the skin and shaking seeds, or bees, or some undetermined small objects. Who knew seeds in a box could be so much fun?
- A non-mover at number four with our invited speakers. Topics included clinical trials, statistics for Syngenta problems, inverse problems and Susie's "how grown up mathematicians get money" talk about EPSRC project proposals.
- Clinging onto the charts for yet another year at number three are the student talks, where SAMBa students presented any previous research they had done. We learnt about general relativity, symplectic geometry, a history of probability in Mongolia and torturing rats. An overall enlightening experience.
- At number two, an entry so controversial, that not even the website saw it. That's right, its the ethical discussion session! We talked about the ethical questions surrounding research and industrial collaboration.
- And finally, a brand new entry at number one, FUN FRIDAYS!!!! This was a (semi) successful attempt at harnessing the fundamental ability ingrained in all SAMBa students, to talk about and apply maths off the cuff in fun situations such as: Rugby, dinosaurs, optimal time to buy your lunch, buses and flies in Elizabeth's flat. A series of highly competitive and mathematically charged sessions pushed the boundaries of mathematical creativity, weirdness and team collaboration which seemed an ideal environment to dip our toes into the murky world of problem formulation in preparation for the ITT. Below, we see team Finite Dinosaur Method defining and presenting on the Flinstone probability:
What more can be said for such a wonderful year. Not much as we would like to go home at some point today, before sense of humour levels dip below critical. Thus we will leave you with our most ambitious SLS session to Las Vegas¹ with a picture:
¹ If anyone from EPSRC is reading, this never happened.