Triangle research takes Kāpiti student to Bulgaria


Three weeks researching triangles in the capital of Bulgaria while meeting a bunch of ‘amazing’ people was the best three weeks of school Sofie Claridge could have missed.

Attending the 2019 Summer Research School in Mathematics and Informatics in Bulgaria at the start of August, Sofie spent three weeks researching Euler’s line, a mathematics rule.

“Everyone had their own topic in mathematics or informatics, all of them were vastly different.”

Studying chemistry, physics, Japanese, digital technology, economics and calculus at Kāpiti College, Sofie chose to look more closely into geometry.

“I had a mentor who gave me free reign to research whatever I was interested in related to Euler’s line.

“I’ve always liked numbers and maths so going on this trip just seemed to align with my interests.

“I really like the visual aspect of geometry, being able to visually see the mathematics.

“It’s triangle geometry, all to do with triangles and triangle centres.”

Over the three weeks Sofie attended lectures and seminars however a lot of the work was done individually.

“There was a lot of freedom to work how we wanted, but that was actually motivation to do as much as you could in that time.

“I found I was extremely productive and enjoyed working in that way.”

The trip was possible due to the Royal Society Te Aparangi who funded 60 per cent of the trip with the remaining 40 per cent through STAR funding.

“I was so excited when I found out I was going.

“Bulgaria just seemed like such an exciting adventure, I didn’t know anything about Bulgaria beforehand.

“It’s very different to New Zealand, the capital Sofia is one of the oldest cities in the world so you saw all these amazing old churches and old buildings.

“It’s such an amazing cultural experience because it’s so different from New Zealand.”

Around 30 other students also attended the summer school with Sofie being one of two New Zealanders to attend.

“The best part was the combination of being able to learn new things, researching this geometry stuff because I find that really interesting, and just talking to people who have lived such different lives to you.

“When you talk to people from different places and find out how they live their life, it’s a really amazing experience.”

The summer research trip has enhanced Sofie’s desire to pursue further study in mathematics.

She is planning on doing a degree in mathematics and computer science at the University of Canterbury next year.

I really like the visual aspect of geometry, being able to visually see the mathematics.



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