Examination of Witnesses (Questions 99
 119)
TUESDAY 19 MARCH 2002
CLARE DAWE,
TIM CROCKERBUQUE
AND RUBENS
REIS
Chairman:
I will ask Mr McWalter to ask the questions
this time. We are passing it around.
Mr McWalter
99. First of all good afternoon. What did you
think of the last lot? Were they any good?
(Clare Dawe) The first ones always are.
100. Very confident!
(Clare Dawe) They have gone now so—!
101. Do you think they are a hard act to follow?
(Rubens Reis) Yes.
(Clare Dawe) We will try.
102. I am going to ask about the relationship
between science and maths. One of the previous speakers said,
"science is a beautiful thing, it is something we should
all want to do". Is maths such a beautiful thing it is something
we should all want to do?
(Clare Dawe) No!
103. Not for Clare. What about Rubens?
(Rubens Reis) Yes.
104. And Tim?
(Tim CrockerBuque) It is very important and I am
sure lots of people think maths is a beautiful thing and it should
be studied. It is essential to link in with science, because without
maths you cannot do science, it does not work.
(Rubens Reis) Maths is the basic thing in science.
105. You see maths only as an enabling thing
for science?
(Tim CrockerBuque) For me, maths is an enabling thing
for science.
106. A sort of servant?
(Tim CrockerBuque) Yes.
(Rubens Reis) Yes.
(Tim CrockerBuque) But often people like maths on
its own.
(Clare Dawe) Personally, I am doing all three sciences
at AS level and I am not doing maths with it, and I have not found
it too difficult. Last year I was doing top set maths and I did
not struggle with it. However, this year, because I am doing all
three sciences, we have one lesson of maths a week which basically
goes over all the maths which will be needed within our science
syllabus, so it keeps up the maths skills. I think that is a very
good idea, that the maths skills are kept up, instead of just
dropping them when we get to AS level or when people continue
with science without them. It is really working, making sure you
have still got confidence with graphs and formulae and things.
107. When I asked you about maths you creased
your brow and were less than enthusiastic.
(Clare Dawe) I have never enjoyed maths as such but
it has been—I would not say interesting—essential
within the science syllabus. You do need that extra backup.
108. Were you tempted to just drop the sciences
so you would not have to do any maths?
(Clare Dawe) No, because I enjoy science so much but
without maths. Maths is not so involved in biology, but within
chemistry there are equations and formulae and also physics, so
you really do need the maths backup just in case. If you have
struggled with maths, the extra lesson is very useful to have.
109. Rubens, you seem keener on maths than Clare
and Tim.
(Rubens Reis) Yes.
110. But when I said it should be a servant
to other things, you said yes.
(Rubens Reis) That is what I think personally. I do
not like maths but love the sciences, all three of them. Maths
is not something you do for fun but because you have to. It does
not mean I am not good at it, I think I am quite good at it.
111. Of the other sciences, which one do you
like best?
(Rubens Reis) Physics, which is why I have to do maths.
112. There is quite a lot of maths in physics.
(Rubens Reis) Exactly.
113. Are you going to be tempted to drop physics
later on because the maths will get harder?
(Rubens Reis) No, I am looking forward to it.
114. You are going to stick with it come what
may, even though you do not like maths?
(Rubens Reis) Even though I do not like maths.
115. Even though, as A N Whitehead once said,
mathematics is the language of nature.
(Rubens Reis) I do think that also but I do not think
I have to learn that language that well!
116. Rubens, you are going to be a magnificently
creative physicist!
(Rubens Reis) Yes!
117. Tim, you also felt that maths was something
that was a servant to the other sciences. Which is your favourite
science?
(Tim CrockerBuque) My favourite science
is biology. Maths does not play a very big part in biology. I
am actually taking a straight statistics Alevel because it is
more relevant to biology than normal maths, pure maths, or mechanics.
It is more relevant for the sort of thing I want to do. I am not
taking physics so I do not need the complicated maths. For me,
definitely maths is just a servant to the sciences.
118. And you find statistics easy?
(Tim CrockerBuque) Yes, I find statistics very easy.
I have found it a lot easier than algebra or stuff like that.
119. I am tempted to ask you the equation for
a normal distribution, but I will resist. Clare, do you feel like
Rubens, that effectively you could also make considerable progress
in the sciences without any maths?
(Clare Dawe) As I say, I have got my one maths lesson
which does cover most of the information needed. I have never
really struggled with maths, it is just that I do not particularly
enjoy it as a subject. My favourite science is biology, which
is more handson and learning more about things which will affect
you—the body and everything else—in comparison to
all the formulae and things which are very specialised in the
other subjects and you have to know if you want to go further
into those subjects.
