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What makes an F1 world champion?

University of Leicester offers free online course to learn about the importance of calculus in modern life

Posted by Rebecca Paddick | November 04, 2015 | Higher education

With Lewis Hamilton recently becoming three-time Formula One world champion, a new course at the University of Leicester looks at how calculus is used in motor racing to calculate fuel consumption and the forces a driver experiences during a race. 

The University of Leicester is offering ‘Real World Calculus: How Maths Drives Formula One and Launches Angry Birds’, a free ‘Massive Open Online Course’ (MOOC), to learn how calculus lays the foundation for many things we take for granted, from making mobile games such as Angry Birds work to enhancing an assortment of disciplines, such as engineering, biology and geography.

The course approaches mathematics in an accessible way by taking real world activities and using them to uncover the basic elements of calculus.

Professor Jeremy Levesley, who teaches the course, said: “Calculus is one of the greatest inventions of the human mind. It has allowed us to explore the universe, to develop amazing technology, and to understand uncertainty. This free course gives us an amazing opportunity to reach a much larger audience that was previously possible. It looks at maths from a different angle, using every day activities to explain the importance of calculus.”

The course combines articles, activities, and videos of experts in finance, physics and engineering describing why calculus is important in their own particular field, and also provides the opportunity to join on-line discussions on a wide range of maths-related topics - from the wear on car tyres to who was responsible for the credit crunch.

Real World Calculus: How Maths Drives Formula One and Launches Angry Birds’ begins on 9 November 2015 and will last for three weeks, with a workload of two hours per week. 

Sign up now on the FutureLearn website www.futurelearn.com

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