Does eating bacon everyday really increase your chances of cancer by 20%? How reliable are screening tests? Can we trust DNA testing? Our Lower Sixth mathematics students had an opportunity to explore these and many other questions when they attended a lecture by Dr Kit Yates at the University of Bath last Wednesday. 

A senior lecturer at the University of Bath and co-director of the Centre for Mathematical Biology, Dr Yates’ work as outreach and engagement officer for the Department of Mathematical Sciences has led him to present several talks at pubs, schools and TEDx events. His book The Maths of Life and Death, to be released later this year, explores life-changing events in which the use (or abuse) of mathematics has played a critical role. 

In his lecture, Dr Yates presented some of the true stories which inspired his book. The content complemented and expanded on the material pupils have been studying as part of their A level in Mathematics. Pupils were made more aware of how relevant the study of statistics, in particular probability, is in understanding the world around us. It plays a crucial role when discerning the truth in the information we regularly receive from media, products and even doctors. The lecture was followed by dinner in Bath, which gave pupils an opportunity to discuss what they had learned.

Our Sixth Form lecture series covers a wide range of topics from politics to modern slavery; mental health to ethics.