Posted on 09 May, 2017

Mathematicians in Schools

Mathematicians in Schools

Last week, Darwin High School Year 11 Centre for Excellence (C4E) Mathematics students were fortunate enough to be visited by guest speaker Kelly Daly, a mechanical engineer working for Conoco Phillips at the Darwin LNG Plant at Wickham Point. 

Here’s what students had to say about the experience.

Nafi Mazid, Year 11 C4E Mathematics

Mr. Daly shared with students his own personal experiences and pathway to becoming a mechanical engineer. As a mechanical engineer, Mr. Daly explored a wide range of fascinating topics which intrigued students, from why golf balls have ‘dimples’, to examining the interior of pipes at the LNG plant using ‘x-ray vision’, and how wind could cause a bridge to dramatically collapse. If you also want to discover the explanations behind these questions, search ‘golf ball dimples’, ‘real time radiography’ and ‘Tacoma Narrows Bridge’, just some of Mr Daly’s ‘GILs’ (Google It Later). 

These examples highlight the practical uses of mathematics and allowed students to consider and visualise the applications of the mathematical concepts they learn in the classroom to real world situations and problems. These mathematical concepts are fundamental to the design of the cutting-edge technologies that mechanical engineers encounter in their regular jobs, and ensure the safety of all projects.

Students were not only sitting and listening for the duration of the presentation. Mr. Daly had prepared interactive and engaging challenges and riddles. Mr. Daly’s first challenged the entire class to work together and be co-ordinated, but no verbal communication was allowed. This challenge was an entertaining team-building exercise for students and got them thinking outside the box. Students then formed small groups and attempted to solve a riddle posed by Mr. Daly. The riddle required students to think logically and creatively. 

There was also an incentive to be quick, as the group who solved the riddle first won prizes. If you would like to try the riddle yourself, you can find it at

Mr. Daly’s interesting challenges and riddles underpin the importance of teamwork, cooperation, and thinking creatively and quickly. These qualities are indispensable and used regularly when working in the field of engineering and in many other disciplines.

Daniel, Year 11 C4E Mathematics  

The presentation was very interesting and engaging. It offered a wide range of views on engineering and how the application of maths is crucial to our daily life. Overall, I hope to see Mr Kelly again.

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