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MA112 Experimental Maths

Lecturers: Andrew Brendon-Penn and Mark Cummings

Term(s): Term 3

Status for Mathematics students: List A for Maths

Commitment: One 3 hour lab session per week for 4 weeks (during weeks 1-5 of term 3)

Assessment: 100% by written reports on each of the projects

Prerequisites: Most core 1st year mathematics modules, especially MA133 Differential Equations, MA131 Analysis, MA136 Abstract Algebra, MA124 Maths by Computer, and MA134 Geometry & Motion.

Leads To: MA231 Vector Analysis, MA209 Variational Principles, MA250 Partial Differential Equations, MA3J3 Bifurcation, Catastrophes and Symmetry

This module consists of a series of 4 laboratory projects which combine physical or computer experiments with mathematical modelling and analysis. The projects will include work on symmetry breaking, catastrophe theory, nonlinear oscillators, period doubling, and coupled pendula.

Much more information is provided on the Additional Resources page, linked below. Due to deregistration dates being before the start of the module, we strongly advise all students who are seriously considering taking the module to read this.

To demonstrate that mathematical ideas and techniques can be used to predict and explain `real life' phenomena and that, conversely, physical intuition can lead to mathematical insights.


  1. To show how various aspects of mathematics seen in earlier modules can be applied to real-world situations, such as the application of differential equations to the study of coupled and nonlinear oscillators.
  2. To illustrate the use of simple group theoretical ideas in problems with symmetries.
  3. To provide an opportunity for students to learn the thought process used to solve long and complicated problems, by breaking them down into smaller, more manageable pieces.
  4. To provide an opportunity for students to develop report writing skills.
  5. To provide an opportunity for students to develop the ability to work in groups.

As this module follows on from several core first year modules, you are recommended to check the recommended texts for those modules.


Additional Resources

Year 1 regs and modules
G100 G103 GL11 G1NC

Year 2 regs and modules
G100 G103 GL11 G1NC

Year 3 regs and modules
G100 G103

Year 4 regs and modules

Archived Material
Past Exams
Core module averages