27 Nov 2012

Boomerangs, Bouncing Balls and Other Spinning Things - Open University Mathematics Department invites local ‘A’ level students to Christmas lecture

This Tuesday 4th December The Open University will be delighted to be hosting the dynamic Dr Hugh Hunt, a Senior Lecturer from the Engineering Department of Cambridge University and a recognised expert in gyroscopes and boomerangs.

Dr Hunt will be leading a fun filled session aimed at 6th form students in the Milton Keynes area, showcasing a range of exciting experiments and games designed to explore questions such as; why does a spinning top stand up? Why doesn't a rolling wheel fall over? Why is top-spin so effective in tennis? How does a falling cat always manage to land on its feet? How can the Hubble Space Telescope turn around in space? What do ice-skaters do to spin so fast?

Dr Hunt will also look closely at the common threads that link all spinning things but in a light hearted and fascinating way that won’t require high powered maths, just an appetite for fun and the help of lots of lots of toys and videos. Perhaps even the odd boomerang or two!

All interested students are invited to book a place for free, and details are as follows:

What: The Open University Mathematics & Statistics Department Sixth Form Christmas Mathematics Event
Title: Boomerangs, Bouncing Balls and Other Spinning Things
Speaker: Dr Hugh Hunt, Cambridge University
Date: Tuesday 4th December 2012
Time: 9.45am for 10.00am start until 12.00 noon
And a second session at 2pm – 4.00pm
Cost: £1.50
Where: Berrill Lecture Theatre, The Open University, Milton Keynes
RSVP: To book places contact Tracy Johns on 01908-653550 or via

The Open University Berrill Lecture Theatre has 236 seats and space for eight wheelchairs

Notes to Editors

About Dr Hugh Hunt
Hugh Hunt is a lecturer in the Department of Engineering at Cambridge University, and a Fellow of Trinity College. Originally from Melbourne, Australia, he has an impressive collection of boomerangs, many of them homemade.

About The Open University
The Open University (OU) is the largest academic institution in the UK and a world leader in flexible distance learning. Since it began in 1969, the OU has taught more than 1.8 million students and has more than 263,000 current students, including over 15,000 overseas.

The OU has been one of the top three UK universities for student satisfaction in the National Student Survey every year since the survey began in 2005. In 2011/12 it had a 93 per cent satisfaction rating. Over 70% of students are in full-time or part-time employment, and four out of five FTSE 100 companies have sponsored staff to take OU courses.

In the UK’s latest Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2008) the Open University was ranked in the top third of UK higher education institutions. More than 50% of OU research was assessed in the RAE as internationally excellent, with 14% as world leading.

Regarded as Britain’s major e-learning institution, the OU is a world leader in developing technology to increase access to education on a global scale. Its vast ‘open content portfolio’ includes free study units on OpenLearn, which has had more than 23 million visits, and materials on iTunes U, which has recorded over 56 million downloads.

The OU has a 41 year partnership with the BBC which has moved from late-night lectures in the 1970s to prime-time programmes such as Frozen Planet, Bang Goes the Theory, James May’s Big Ideas and The Money Programme.


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