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Mathematical Modelling

Consider the following:
  • Improve the design of polystyrene cups
  • What is the best way of tackling the jumps in a downhill ski race to minimise your time of descent?
  • Determine the spacing of road humps so that a vehicle does not exceed the speed limit.
  • Determine the distance of a barrier from a building so that a passerby is not hit by objects falling off the building.
  • Calculate the length of bungee ropes to give a safe but exciting jump.
The connection between these apparently different topics is that they have all been successfully tackled by students using the ideas of mathematical modelling.

This section explains what is meant by “mathematical modelling” and also provides a real-life problem for you to work through to illustrate these ideas.