This year sees the first time the Mathematics Society has seen a dual presidency as Abbie Manning (2017) and I take over from Zershaaneh Qureshi (2016). We believe this will allow us to organise more frequent events for the mathematicians of Merton College.
We kicked off the academic year, as always, with the mathematicians’ Subject Tea. A chance for the new first years to meet and socialise with the higher years. This was a great success with many students attending. I think this is a great way to start things off and makes the first years feel like they have a more informal academic and emotional support network than those provided by College; something which I’m sure makes many of them feel much more comfortable.
The new first years have shown an independence in their learning, preferring to work through their problems alone rather than in a group setting as in previous years. Because of this, the usual maths help sessions run by the second years have been replaced by a system where the first years ask for help as and when they need it. Along with fitting their working style this has the added advantage of giving them help when they need it rather than at a set time every week.
As always, the Mathematics Society also organised a Black Tie Dinner in Hilary. Unfortunately, this year the turnout of students was not what it has been in previous years. Despite this, the event was a massive success with former Warden Sir Martin Taylor giving a captivating speech on his career and the various effects he has had on the mathematical community and the world at large. This year’s Dinner did denote a break in tradition though, as new regulations meant that we could not hold the election during the Dinner. Instead the election was held over email towards the end of Hilary term, which saw Abbie and me win out over RON (Re-Open Nominations).
The last event of the year for the Merton Mathematics Society is the Trinity Garden Party. This year saw a large turnout of undergraduates, despite a small scare about the chance of rain (no doubt due to the promise of Jaffa cakes). In the end the weather turned out okay and the party was a great success.
Now, towards the end of Trinity term we say goodbye to our fourth-year mathematicians and look forward to greeting a new set of first years come Michaelmas. This year has been a successful one for the Mathematics Society and I have no doubts that the coming years will follow suit.
William Whitehouse (2017)
Mathematical Society Co-President 2019-20