The Maths Behind Record Breaking

I came across an interesting article the other day looking at the link between record breaking and the "harmonic series" $1 + \frac{1}{2} + \frac{1}{3} + \frac{1}{4} + \frac{1}{5} + ....$. If you went through a list of 100 random numbers, have a guess as to how often would you expect to break the record for the largest number so far? Let's take a simpler example. Here are 10 random numbers: 3, 8, 5, 7, 2, 5, 3, 9, 1, 7 Clearly the first number ...

Inward Investment in Senegal

In March 2018 the Turkish leader announced deals worth almost US $600 million in Senegal, the latest sign that foreign investment in Senegal is gradually shifting eastward. France, Senegal’s former colonial ruler, has long dominated foreign investment. Since 2003, however, the country has seen a surge in interest from further afield. According to the UN Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad), most new foreign investment projects have come from non-western countries, including $2.8bn from the United Arab Emirates, $1.23bn from ...

Foundations Galore!

Looking back at my blog from November 2016, there appears to have been an upward trend in the number and variety of Foundation Programmes on offer.  The general rules remain the same as in the 2016 blog, but here I will give you some further examples of who are offering these programmes in the UK. N.B. For all courses, please do check which ones are open to International and which ones are open to Home/EU students. Some are open to both, ...

Academic Honesty: Acknowledge Everything!

I’m a visual arts examiner, so recently I have had the pleasure of looking at and assessing a wide range of uploaded visual arts work. It is one of the best parts of the job, and I really enjoy seeing the fantastic work submitted by creative and productive students from all over the world! "Reworking" Images As an examiner I regularly encounter "reworked" images that have either been directly copied from images found on the internet or are an adjusted/modified version of the ...

New Release: IB History Paper 2: Causes and Effects of 20th-Century Wars: The Spanish Civil War

We are pleased to announce the publication of a new title in the OSC IB Study & Revision Guide series. IB History Paper 2 Causes and Effects of 20th-Century Wars: The Spanish Civil War This revision guide supports exam preparation, using the Spanish Civil War to explore History Paper 2 Topic 11: Causes and Effects of 20th-century Wars. Structured to mirror the syllabus, it will help you to understand the essential issues and that examiners will be looking for in your essays. Author ...

Ethanedioic Acid Titrations

It's that time of year where if you are in IB1 you may well be starting to think about your IA. What will you do?! I hope today's post gives you some ideas. Have you thought about working with Ethanedioic acid (HOOCCOOH) or oxalic acid to give you its more common name? Ethanedioic acid occurs as a free acid in beetroot leaves and rhubarb. Could you extract it and see how much you have? You could titrate it with a base, such ...

Patterns in Pascal’s Triangle

One of the great joys in Maths is exploring something seemingly very simple and finding layers upon layers of complexity, and connections with other areas of Maths which at first sight appear to be totally separate. I'm sure you have come across Pascal's triangle; here it is: To create each new row, start and finish with 1, and then each number in between is formed by adding the two numbers immediately above. Pattern 1:   One of the most obvious patterns is the ...

The Late Philosophy of Bertrand Russell (Part 2)

The origin and nature of ‘belief’ was Russell’s central philosophical preoccupation throughout his long life. In The Problems, he delineates five different causes which are: A spontaneous unconscious inference between a world like ‘fire’ and a physical, verbal, visual or psychological reaction to it. In this respect, such a belief can be found in animal as well as human behaviour as in the case of a cat rushing to his mistress every time the latter calls out the word ‘fish’ ...

Can Computers do TOK?

If some people are to be believed the world depicted by such sci-fi blockbusters as 2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner, AI, I Robot, Ex Machina … is one we will soon (or already do) inhabit. It is a world in which machines will increasingly exhibit human traits to the point where it will not be possible to decide whether one is interacting with a person or a robot. Alan Turing famously raised the question as to whether computers can think in his ...

Prepare Your Body and Your Mind for the Exams

This will probably be my last blog before you dive into the exams in May. I hope your revision has gone well: there's still time to go over more past papers to become as familiar as possible with the way the examiners ask questions. And don't forget that, in Maths exams, there's only one mark for the correct answer – all the other marks are for working and intermediate answers. So train yourself to write as much as you can ...