How maths drives Formula One and launches Angry Birds

Tapping at mobile phone games, waking up to sunlight on a pleasant morning or watching a Formula One race – such experiences are at the heart of modern life, and mathematics is working behind the scenes on all of them.

The University is offering members of the public the chance to take part in ‘Real World Calculus: How Maths Drives Formula One and Launches Angry Birds’, a free ‘Massive Open Online Course’ (MOOC), to learn how calculus lays the foundation for many things we take for granted, from making mobile games such as Angry Birds work to enhancing an assortment of disciplines, such as engineering, biology and geography.

The course approaches mathematics in an accessible way by taking real world activities and using them to uncover the basic elements of calculus.

Professor Jeremy Levesley from the Department of Mathematics, who teaches the course, said: “Calculus is one of the greatest inventions of the human mind. It has allowed us to explore the universe, to develop amazing technology, and to understand uncertainty. Like Shakespeare, calculus is part of our heritage and its beauty and cleverness should be appreciated by society as a whole."

The course begins on 29 June and will last for three weeks, with a workload of two hours per week.

The University has already developed three MOOCs, including one about Richard III, one about Forensic Science and Criminal Justice, and the first MOOC to be launched in Museum Studies.

A video of Professor Jeremy Levesley describing the benefits of the ‘Real World Calculus’ MOOC is available below: