Maths Society discuss quantum mechanics

Monday evening had a distinctly mathematical flavour as Assembly – Desert Island Discs with Maths teacher Jane Webster – was followed by the last Sixth Form Maths Society meeting of this academic year. The topic was quantum mechanics, and 14 very enthusiastic mathematicians (many sporting the brand new Maths hoodie) gathered to discuss the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, the Schrödinger Equation, Dirac notation and the wonderfully bizarre concept of negative temperature. Though the material sounds distinctly off-syllabus, we found significant overlap with the A2 course in our discussions of differential equations, wave solutions and simple harmonic motion. As often occurs at Maths Society meetings, the refreshments followed the theme of the evening, with all enjoying chocolates of uncertain flavour. These illustrated the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics, in which the state of a particle can only be defined with certainty once it has been observed. There was no way of knowing whether a particular chocolate was going to contain raisin, toffee, orange crème, or (worse luck) coffee crème until the fateful bite.

By Michael Truss, Head of Maths


Bedales School is one of the UK’s top independent private co-education boarding schools. Bedales comprises three schools situated in Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire: Dunannie (ages 3–8), Dunhurst (ages 8–13) and Bedales itself (ages 13–18). Established in 1893 Bedales School puts emphasis on the Arts, Sciences, voluntary service, pastoral care, and listening to students’ views. Bedales is acclaimed for its drama, theatre, art and music. The Headmaster is Keith Budge.

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