Imperial College Maths Trip

Imperial College Maths Trip – Written by a Year 10 student

'On Thursday 6th December, while the rest of the Beths students made their way home, a group of Year 10 pupils with Mr O’Regan headed for Bexley station.  We were on our way to Imperial College for a Christmas Mathematics lecture by Professor Buzzard.  Arriving at the South Kensington campus, we were all amazed by the huge site! For some it was our first glimpse into university life.  We headed for the lecture theatre, a room with steps going up, like a cinema but with tables and seating.

Now you may be thinking a Mathematics lecture, big numbers, strange equations, brain ache due to arrive any minute.  No, this was about how Mathematics plays in our daily life in the use of secret codes.  Suddenly the Professor had everyone’s attention.  It felt like a secret spy lesson on how they worked and how to crack them.  Did you know that most of the world’s data is protected by a 256-bit key, used in everyday websites, with all banking conducted using this special encryption?  It was a great lecture by the Professor who was very passionate about Mathematics, but most importantly he explained everything in a manner that we could all understand.

It got me thinking on the journey back home, what happens when Quantum Computing breaks the 256-bit key?  Ok, we can create a new key to protect banks etc, but what about the old data locked away with 256-bit key? All of our secrets will be out! Has that got you thinking?'