Outreach

Discover our various outreach projects, designed to share our enthusiasm for mathematics with school and college students.

Covid-19 Special: virtual workshop and project

Remainders of Security: from modular arithmetic to cryptography. In this workshop, you will learn a bit about cryptography, and also some modular arithmetic, also called clock arithmetic. Cryptography is needed everywhere in our modern world: for example for safe internet communication (including WhatsApp), protecting government or industry secrets or sensitive customer data, and for things like internet shopping. The entire e-commerce industry is based on the idea that we can communicate sensitive information safely and securely. But there are also weird uses you would never have thought of: for example a contact tracing app that tells you when someone you had contact with later tested positive with Covid-19, but without you, them or the government being able to use it to track everyone’s data.

The workshop is structured with short videos and some worksheets which you can do on your own or in a group. The basic stream is fun and accessible to any student from about 12 years old or so. Anyone who is interested in some more mathematical detail can do some of the "optional loops" to go deeper into the material. Children who can read well but are less than 12 might try just the three items in Part II of the left-hand column, starting from "Introduction to Cryptography".

Year 12 project on Cryptography: Cryptography is needed everywhere in our modern world: for example for safe internet communication (including WhatsApp), protecting government or industry secrets or sensitive customer data, and for things like internet shopping. The entire e-commerce industry is based on the idea that we can communicate sensitive information safely and securely. But there are also weird uses you would never have thought of: for example a contact tracing app that tells you when someone you had contact with later tested positive with Covid-19, but without you, them or the government being able to use it to track everyone’s data.

In this project, you start with a workshop on modular arithmetic and cryptography, including the famous RSA encryption algorithm. You can then explore the topic in one of many directions, picking something that interests you from a list of our suggestions. Find out about the history of cryptography, the enigma code used in World War 2, or explore more modern techniques such as the Diffie-Hellman Key Exchange or Digital Signatures. Crack code using Frequency Analysis or take part in a cipher challenge.

Current activities and events

Undergraduate outreach

Our undergraduates are involved in the Undergraduate Ambassadors Scheme (UAS) and the Students in Classrooms Scheme whereby students are placed in schools to inspire and encourage younger students. UAS is incorporated into the module MA3511 Communicating Mathematics, and as such may be chosen as part of the Mathematics degree course.

If you are a mathematics teacher in Leicester or Leicestershire and would like to get involved with either UAS or the Student Associate Scheme, please contact Dr Jason Semeraro

AMSP Year 12 and 13 problem-solving and STEP courses

We offer regular Year 12 and 13 problem-solving courses. They take place in collaboration with the Advanced Mathematics Support Programme (AMSP).

Mathematics newsletter for schools

We create a mathematics newsletter designed for schools to have more fun with mathematics. You can download our past issues:

Talks in schools

Our academics like to share their enthusiasm for mathematics with the public, and particularly with schools. If you would like to arrange for a mathematics outreach talk at your school, please contact Dr Frank Neumann. You can also browse some of our sample topics for talks.

Forthcoming activities and events

Mathematics masterclasses

For more information about future mathematics masterclasses, please contact Dr Frank Neumann. Previous events were run in conjunction with the Royal Institution.

Useful links