Category Archives: Mathematics

Mr Chaudhary: God – the ultimate reality

On Tuesday the 6th of June, Mr Chaudhary, one of Chigwell’s maths teachers,  gave a talk on “God – the ultimate reality”. First, he took measurements of a student in “good proportion” and pointed out similarities. Then he started with the human embryo and how the embryo develops, then showed a sentence in the Quran that also explains the human embryo and how accurate it was. He showed us another quote in the Quran which tells us that two seas never meet, and then showed us a video of two seas that don’t mix. He then shows some more believable facts that God exists. Finally Mr Chaudhary was asked questions with the hope of proving him wrong, but he stood his ground and answered them in detail.

Sulaymaan Khan

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Florian Steinberger: “Animal Rights” and “To Infinity and Beyond”

Dr. Florian Steinberger, philosopher and lecturer at Birkbeck College, University of London, spoke to both branches of the Williams Project. He spoke to us about two very different philosophical topics, beginning with “animal rights”: what are they? Do animals really have them and should we respect them? There were multiple discussions, questions and debates on whether animals could really have preferences and feelings to be deserving of rights as humans do. We also covered the issue of why we are willing to protect them to a certain extent, nonetheless, also willing to consume them. We outlined the religious, moral and health aspects linked to the matter to delve deeper into if we could and should give animals rights. The discussion was thoroughly enjoyed by all of us of all age groups, being a very controversial and interactive talking point.

He continued with second session on the topic of “infinity” – a more mathematical approach towards philosophy and the possibility and impossibility of infinity, the contradictions and the proof – in particular whether some kinds of infinity can be greater than others (for example the infinity of real numbers can be shown to be larger than the infinity of integers). Although complex for a few of us(!), many were able to grasp the concept of how infinity could be perceived; it was an engaging and stimulating lecture on a rather unfamiliar topic.

We are grateful for the discussions led by Dr. Steinberger, and thank him for enlightening us on two of the many contemporary philosophical issues we face today.

Talia Eringin

Richard Maynes: Was Jesus a Historical figure?

On Tuesday 14th June, Maths teacher Mr Maynes delivered the arguments from Richard Carrier about the likelihood of Jesus existing as a historical figure. He analysed the wide historical context and different kinds of evidence using Bayes’ theorem – a mathematical tool used to assess probability. He explored evidence against Jesus, such as how his story isn’t the first of its kind, and how scholars who wrote the Bible were aware of the kinds of similar tales (such as that of Romulus) which have not been proved to be real. Moreover, he addressed the issue of discrepancies surrounding how the dates of kings with whom Jesus interacted don’t all match up with the dates Jesus supposedly existed in. As well as this, he posed the possibility of Jesus being created as a human figure solely to strengthen the control of the church. Mr Maynes claimed that even Biblical scriptures cannot be seen as totally reliable since many allegedly forged letters have been entered under the name of St Paul. He then combined the evidence he had researched, using Bayes’ theorem to conclude that there was a 17% chance that Jesus existed.
Mr Maynes delivered an interesting, coherent talk which was easy to follow and made some controversial claims, sparking debate, particularly in the claim made that the book of Acts cannot be trusted as a source at all because the book is, allegedly!, a myth.
Olivia Mendel Portnoy
P.S. Peter Walling, OC and former WP speaker, read this post and kindly sent the Library a copy of Bart Ehrman’s Did Jesus Exist?. Ehrman, an agnostic, argues against the claims made Richard Carrier and others that Jesus probably never existed. The book is in the Library.

Mr S. Chaudhary: “God’s Golden Ratio”

Our Head of Maths, Mr Chaudhary, gave us a vastly wide-ranging and heartfelt exposition of the centrality of the ratio φ (“phi”) in the universe and the human body, and what that centrality meant.

He showed that the ratio (see above, equivalent to 1:1.618…, which is, uniquely, the same as 0.618…:1) lies behind the Fibonacci sequence, which we see in so many growth patterns in animals and plants, as well as in the relationship between a myriad of measurements of the human body. It’s also one of the commonest principles in the way we perceive beauty: painters place horizons at it.

Mr Chaudhary argued that the odds of this one ratio being at the centre of so much were virtually nil, and so it is convincing evidence of divine design behind creation. He showed us verses from the Quran which point out that God has designed the universe in a way whereby we can detect, even deduce, his hand.

Further reading:
Universal Laws and the Golden Ratio

15 Uncanny examples in nature

Disputed observations (Wikipedia)

James Grime: The Enigma Machine

James Grime, from the University of Cambridge, introduced a large WP audience to codes and their history (from shaving a slave’s head to sending credit card details across the internet), and then demonstrated an original Enigma machine (see right). It was an engaging and fun session, and led to an interesting discussion on the use of codes in the Second World War, and finally to a code-breaking workshop where our students broke, or attempted to break, various encoded messages. A great start to the WP year.

Maths!

Ace VIth-form mathematicians (Wojciech, Egor and Yunlin) taught (or attempted to teach) our Remove-UV guinea pigs about complex numbers and other delights.

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