Review: Mathematics with Olivia Jeans

On the evening Thursday 14th March, International Pi Day, Olivia Jeans (MM 1996-2001) delivered a visually stunning mathematics talk to a lecture theatre buzzing with Further Mathematics A level pupils.

She gave a perfectly pitched introduction to work which she is currently undertaking for her Phd at the Open University. Armed with an array of Platonic solids, she explained some of the important elements of Graph Theory and Topology bravely passing round her delicate Klein Bottle in the most hands-on demonstration of non-orientable surfaces one can enjoy; the closest most people get to one of these fascinating objects is behind a glass panel in a museum. Olivia’s work involves the study of the symmetries of regular maps. These maps don’t fit on to flat Euclidean surfaces so the assembled students were also given a taste of Hyperbolic Geometry and a tantalising glimpse of how symmetries are described using Group Theory. She ended with an exciting description of a result concerning self-Petrie-dual maps, published in January this year in a paper for which she is a co-author. The pupils were absorbed by the thought that new maths is still being discovered and that an OM is responsible.

Owen Elton
Head of Mathematics

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