It has been a very exciting year for the Mathematical Society. Following a nail-biting election in which they ran unopposed, the joint presidents Rodrigo Marlasca Aparicio and myself (Jonny Durston) were elected, taking over from the superb Abbie Manning and William Whitehouse. We have focused on making several key changes to the society, most notably improving communications between years and making events as accessible as possible.
The academic year began with a fantastic subject tea, with representatives from all years present. The particular highlight, aside from the Colin the Caterpillar cake of course, was a chance to have some great conversation with the new freshers. In particular, it is lovely that over half of the first years taking Mathematics are female, which represents some of the progress that has been made in the ongoing efforts to improve gender equality in Mathematics. We were able to pass on some of the tips and tricks we have learned from studying at Oxford, and just generally have a good laugh.
Having a laugh while helping one another has remained a key theme throughout the year, as we held weekly maths help sessions. Unsurprisingly, these consist of older years assisting the first years with their problem sheets, and there have been lots of snacks available too, most notably Rodrigo’s famous baking (I would particularly recommend the cookies…) These have been a great opportunity to bridge the gap between years and have really strengthened the sense of mathematical community in Merton.
The yearly subject dinner occurred as usual, with a decent turnout. There was delicious food and drink, good conversation, and an uplifting talk by Radek about how he came to be a mathematician. He also mentioned the progress made in gender equality, and his hopes for this being reflected in the tutors as well as the students. After the meal, we retired to the bar for some more drinks and card games.
It goes without saying that Trinity has ended rather abruptly, but despite the issues that may have arisen, we have still been able to remain in contact with one another, albeit in a different way to usual. Weekly virtual maths help sessions are still occurring, and we are looking into a way of expanding Rodrigo’s baking into a global cookie empire! This year has been a fantastic success, and undoubtedly this greatness will continue to be upheld by our successors.
Jonny Durston & Rodrigo Marlasca Aparicio
Mathematical Society Co-Presidents 2020-21