Hear what people are saying about Maths.
Dr Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin, Assistant Professor at the UCD School of Mathematics and Statistics and Science CommunicatorMaths is an incredibly important subject which is used in all walks of life, from economics to fashion design. Maths helps us describe the world around us in a language which is internationally understood and helps us try to solve all manner of problems, from climate change to search and rescue. Maths Week is an important way to help learners, of all ages, enjoy maths and to highlight the creativity of the subject. This is something that everyone has the potential to be good at and I highly recommend teachers, parents and communities to get involved in their local Maths Week activities.


Pamela Ballantine, TV Presenter UTV


I must admit I was not very good at maths at school, in fact, apart from my Maths teacher no one was more surprised than me when I passed my Maths O’Level.  It was so long ago that the only equipment we could use in our maths exams was a protractor set, compass, dividers and a slide rule.  My Dad had a very good numerical brain and when we were going on long car journeys he used to set us mental arithmetic puzzles e.g. If its 8 miles from the house to Lisburn, then 32 miles to Dungannon, then 14 miles to Ballygawley and then 16 miles to Omagh how far is it from our house to Omagh?   In my job in TV everything is timed to the hour, minute and second which makes for interesting calculations e.g. if the programme lasts for 23 minutes and 30 seconds all the stories and scripts must be edited to fit that time and seconds counted up and converted into minutes.  Maths is used in so many applications in everyday life, from tallying up bills to measuring items in recipes.  If you told me when I was at school that I would enjoy doing mental arithmetic today, like converting kilometres to miles or working out how much time a car or horse has won a race by, I would not have believed you!

Miriam O'Callaghan, Broadcaster and Journalist

You can’t be what you can’t see! I think inspiring young girls and young women to pursue maths is really important. Women need to talk positively about maths and its role in our lives and careers so that young girls go through school feeling positive and confident about maths. It’s also important to help them realise that they really can make a difference in the world through what they choose to study. Maths is about wonder, curiosity and the thrill of figuring something out. It’s about asking questions, something I’m very familiar with in my line of work!”
Richard Bruton, Minister for Education and Skills Maths Week is a fantastic initiative which allows people of all ages to see and understand the importance of maths and the wider STEM agenda through fun, interesting, challenging activities during the weeklong maths festival. Over 250,000 people are expected to take part in events across the island this year, making it the biggest Maths Week to date and I wish all those taking part every success.

Rebecca Watson, Data Scientist at Allstate Northern Ireland. Mathematics Graduate, Queen's University Belfast

Not only did my maths degree equip me with advanced numerical skills, but I equally learned how to think creatively and solve difficult problems - integral to my job as a Data Scientist at Allstate.The data science group are committed to driving business value through data and analytics. Problem solving and creative thinking are skills in high demand in many industries, and maths is a great way to put them into practice.The depth of career opportunities for those with a background in Maths is constantly changing and developing. It’s an exciting time to be a Mathematician

Paschal Donohoe, Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform

Our world is changing at an incredible pace. Advances in the areas of technology, robotics and artificial intelligence bring with them huge opportunities for people of all ages, now and into the future. In fact, the pace of change is such that it is predicted that eighty percent of jobs that will exist in 2030 don’t yet exist today. That really is food for thought. The challenge is to ensure we are keeping up to date with these new technologies by providing new skill sets to ensure we are adequately equipped for the future.  Maths, which provides the foundation for all disciplines, whether that’s in technology, engineering, healthcare or business, is key to this. It gives us the building blocks for so much more. I am delighted to support Maths Week 2017 which is a wonderful initiative and I encourage everyone to get involved.
Sinead Ryan, Personal Finance Journalist I really wasn't very good at maths in school, but everything I did learn made me realise the importance of the application of maths. So, being able to quickly calculate a third off the price of a dress in the sales, how much 20pc tax relief from Revenue will be worth, or knowing how my bank is charging compound interest has been vital! Unlike Hamlet's soliloquy and Oxbow lakes which I thought would be important, it turns out all the maths mattered much more!

Dr Ruth FreemanDirector of Strategy and Communications for Science Foundation Ireland

Science Foundation Ireland is delighted to support Maths Week as a key element of our focus on STEM-related skills development.  The promotion of mathematical and numerical skills is essential for everyone in our society and economy.  It’s particularly important for young people and students to have an appreciation of maths as a subject that can help them throughout their lives, and create many exciting opportunities for them.  Maths and numeracy underpin studies and careers across virtually every industry and sector; they are critical enablers of innovation and success.
Tony Donohoe, Head of Education and Social Policy IBEC - Irish Business Employers Confederation IBEC is the national voice of Irish business and employers, and is the umbrella body for Ireland’s leading business sector groups and associations. It also provides a wide range of services to over 8,000 member businesses, representing over 70% of total private sector employment in Ireland. As a business organisation, we are keenly aware that Ireland's future economic growth and competitiveness will increasingly depend on the extent to which it can support high value knowledge based industries. Mathematics is essential for disciplines such as science, technology, engineering and finance. However we should also remember that mathematics promotes the ability to think rationally, analyse and solve problems, and process data clearly and accurately. As the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment points out, young people need to develop the ability to build connections across knowledge, to identify and explore patterns, to estimate and predict, to interpret and analyse numerical and statistical data, to communicate increasingly complex information, and to apply all of this in their daily lives and work.
Martina Glass, Planetarium Operations Manager, Armagh Planetarium.


“Exploring the Universe since 1790, Armagh Observatory and Planetarium has a rich heritage of ground-breaking scientific research and cutting edge technology. Maths is incredibly important in this organisation and used on a daily basis when exploring the distances of stars and deep sky objects, tracking asteroids or scripting 3D models in the 360° dome. We are champions of Maths week as it encourages children to engage in Maths activities in a fun and interactive way and like our mission statement states we hope they are ‘learning by stealth’.”

Tony Hanway is CEO of Virgin Media.  He formerly served on senior executive boards of companies across five European countries, including CEO of O2 Ireland and chief commercial officer with Telefonica O2 Deutschland. Prior to O2 Telefonica, he worked with AOL Europe and served as Vice-President with AOL UK.

“Developing the leaders of tomorrow depends on how we educate our students today and that’s why education in maths and science is so important. Mathematics is much more than an ability to comprehend numbers, it nurtures the power of reasoning, creativity, abstract and critical thinking, problem-solving ability and even communication skills.  Maths Week is a great way to learn and create with others in a fun and supportive environment. I encourage everyone to get involved.”




Dr Gary Kennedy, Co-Founder and COO of Clarus Financial Technology.

At Clarus we design and build high performance systems to value and risk manage complex financial instruments. This involves applying mathematical models to the financial markets and developing fast algorithms on computers that make use of those models. To the cliched question of high-school students, 'When will I ever use Maths?', the answer for me is 'Every day of the week!'.

Even for careers which do not use mathematics directly, I have seen those that who are trained as mathematicians are very successful across a wide variety of fields when they harness the potent skills developed as students of mathematics.