Taster Day

Each year in March/April we offer a KS5 Maths Day.  Currently this is available for school groups accompanied by their teachers.

Spend a day with us at the University of Leeds experiencing a range of mathematical activities with an optional tour of the campus and talk about studying mathematics at university. The day culminates with the W. P. Milne lecture in celebration of a former Professor of Mathematics who joined the University in 1919.

This year the event will take place on Wednesday 29 March 2023.


Our morning programme is still to be confirmed but there will be various options for morning activities. The following is an illustration of what might be possible. Choose one of the options below and then attend our W. P. Milne Sixth Form lecture. You will be asked to rank the options in order of preference and where possible you will be given your preferred session. If you would also like a campus tour in the break before the lecture please let us know. The day is suitable for maths A Level students. Students should bring packed lunches.

OPTION A - Hands-on mathematics, talk and tour

Activities include creating chaos and exploring the maths of soap bubbles in a ‘hands-on mathematics’ session, a campus tour, and a talk about studying mathematics at Leeds.
11:00 – 14:20

OPTION B - A mathematical workshop

Here is an example of the sessions we will offer

Untangling knot theory
It’s not only mountaineers, scouts, and sailors who study knots, but also mathematicians. In fact, knot theory has turned out to be an extraordinarily deep subject – the fundamental question of determining whether two knots are the same turns out to be surprisingly difficult. This subject also has numerous and diverse applications, from the knotting of our own DNA to quantum physics. In this session we will meet several mathematical techniques for analysing and classifying different knots.
10:30 – 12:30 or 11:00 – 13:00

Mathematical modelling for disease transmission
Diseases are spread through a variety of routes. In this session you will develop a mathematical model to describe transmission when a surface is contaminated by bacteria and how a healthy person could become infected from this. Using Excel we will perform an exposure assessment, calculating the total human exposure to the bacterium. We will enhance our exposure assessment by considering how other factors (e.g. hand washing, cleaning) affect exposure.
10:30 – 12:30 or 11:00 – 13:00

OPTION C - A talk and a tour

A talk about studying mathematics at Leeds and a campus tour led by current undergraduate students.

Flexible timings: 11:00-12:30, 11:30-13:00, 12:00-13:30, 12:30-14:00

followed by:


We are excited to welcome Dr James Cranch from the University of Sheffield to deliver the W. P. Milne lecture.


If you take an equation involving variables x and y, you can draw a graph of its solutions: they form a plane curve. If you have two such equations, you have two curves, and you can ask how many times they intersect each other.

I’ll explain why counting these intersections is useful for a range of things: from understanding Pythagoras’s equation a² + b² = c², to annoying people on the internet, to the cutting edge of mathematics.

I’ll show a very simple formula, which happens to be wrong, and explain why it’s a good idea to ignore the fact that it’s wrong.

Wednesday 29 March  14:30 – 15:30

The W. P. Milne lecture is held in collaboration with the Yorkshire Branch of the Mathematical Association and can be booked independently of the options above.
We are also intending to record the lecture so if you would be interested in attending but cannot make it in-person please let us know.

How to book

Please complete this form: https://leeds.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/key-stage-5-maths-day-2023-application-form

For more information please contact Ruth Holland.