Aussie stand-up works the appliance of science in Leeds

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MATHS is one of those subjects that has many people running for the hills.

It probably has its roots in those long, dreary classes at school that focused on trigonometry and equations.

Stand-up and former maths teacher Matt Parker who is appearing at the Leeds Festival of Science.

Stand-up and former maths teacher Matt Parker who is appearing at the Leeds Festival of Science.

But mathematician turned stand-up Matt Parker is on a mission to prove that maths does not have to be boring.

The Australian-born comedian has made a name for himself with his solo shows, including Number Ninja and Festival of the Spoken Nerd UK tours. Now he is bringing his latest show, Adventures in the Fourth Dimension, to the Leeds Festival of Science tonight.

It is a mixture of lively adult stand-up and mind-boggling maths. He said: “It’s very easy to teach maths in a boring fashion but the fact is it can be really interesting.

“People love solving puzzles, doing sudokus and solving murder mysteries on TV and maths is part of all that - it’s like detective work.”

The annual Leeds Festival of Science – now in its 11th year – offers a wide programme of events the aim of which is to help enthuse and inspire people of all ages.

This year’s programme, which runs until March 23, features stand-up comedy, engaging debates and a world-record colouring challenge.

Matt believes festivals like this are an important way of getting people interested not only in maths, but science in general.

“There’s a lot of people working in maths and sciences department who don’t get many opportunities to talk about their work,” he said.

“That’s why a festival like this in Leeds is so important because it gives the public a chance to see what’s cutting edge.”

He believes that more people are becoming interested in maths and science thanks to TV shows like The Big Bang Theory.

He added: “There are maths and science programmes on TV and that reflects people’s growing interest.

“YouTube has been brilliant for maths, with better viewing figures than most TV shows.”

As well as the Festival of Science, tomorrow the University of Leeds is hosting the Be Curious festival, which is part of the science programme. For more details go to www.stem.leeds.ac.uk/events.

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