Sigma Society

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Ok, so basically in my sixth form we have a maths society called Sigma Society, or Sigma Soc for those of us who frequent it often, and each summer a new Upper Sixth student takes over the position of ‘chair’ as the old Upper Sixth leaves school to go on to university etc., and this year I’ll be going into Upper Sixth and I’M THE CHAIR!

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Realistically speaking, it’s not the most coveted of positions: of all the 250 or so girls in sixth form, there were only maybe 7 of us who were sure to be at every talk or lecture held by the society, and then maybe 10 or so more who would come to a few of them. But to be honest, that isn’t the point. The point is that this is a chance for me to take control of what is, by nature, my favourite school society and turn it into something that others may love and be proud of.

The first hurdle is the lack of a budget. Given that most speakers (understandably) request that you at least pay their travel expenses, and we only have the money for a pack of custard creams and cup of squash, this could be a bit* of a problem. However, my hope is that we can find some good local mathematicians and also tap into the school alumnae to see if there’s anyone willing to come and talk to us.

I’m also planning on organising a couple of trips to see public lectures, as a small group of us went to see an amazing physics lecture on knots last year at the Open University and it would be great to see more things like that. And finally we’ll have the joint lectures with our brother school’s maths society, Pythagoreans (how come they get the cool names?!), so all in all we should be able to scrape together a nice programme for the year.

Alongside these lectures and talks, I figured we could pull together our own discussions if everyone came up with a topic they liked and found out a bit about it to explain it to the group, then we talked about it and people chipped in with questions and their own knowledge of it. It would be nice if we could spend some time just batting about ideas and playing with things like Möbius strips and hexaflexagons and unexpected probabilities rather than being under pressure to learn the course content the whole time.

I’m looking forward to a good year for Sigma Society. I know there are some enthusiastic students coming up into the Lower Sixth and I hope we keep them inspired and curious to the best of our abilities.

*read “actually maybe rather a lot uh-oh”


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