Oundle School pupil Rebecca Siddall (15) has published her first book. Called ‘The Poetry of Proof’, it contains fifty mathematical proofs explained in poetic form to help newcomers to the world of mathematical proofs.
Rebecca said: “If mathematical proofs are given a certain light-hearted and poetic mood and tone, it makes them both enjoyable and easier to absorb; either as a conscious and methodical process, or even perhaps by osmosis – which is where the poetry should come into its own. My aim is to provide a soft landing for beginners who might be daunted by the plunge into understanding proofs. There are fascinating aesthetic and creative relationships between mathematics and poetry, as well as huge differences and divisions.”
As well as writing her book Rebecca has also completed an online astrobiology course and was invited to take part in a placement before attending the 14th Astrobiology Conference at Edinburgh University, where she presented a paper on microbes, known as ‘Desert Varnish’ which she studied for her extended project qualification (EPQ). For two years running, Rebecca has won the Oundle’s science essay writing competition and she was a prize winner in the Oundle Festival of Literature’s writing competition for her essay on a Babylonian mathematical tablet.
Rebecca has also achieved successive gold awards in the British Society of Biology Challenge and a recent distinction in the UKMT National Maths Olympiad. This year she was also shortlisted as a finalist in the Talent 2030 National Engineering Competition for Girls with a project about effective carbon capture and the safe disposal of long-term, high-level nuclear waste. Her award included the chance to display her work at the Big Bang Fair in April.
Rebecca’s tutor and English teacher, Juliette Coles said: “Rebecca is an exceptional individual whose curiosity defines her approach at all times; she makes the most of every opportunity offered to her and relishes all forms of intellectual challenge whilst being delightful company in the process.”