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MA262 Scientific Communication

Lecturer: Helena Verrill

Term(s): Terms 1 & 2

Status for Mathematics students: Core for Maths

Commitment: Lectures, tutorials and labs.

Assessment: 10% first year review, 50% essay, 10% essay presentation, 30% python coursework

Formal registration prerequisites: None

Assumed knowledge: MA124 Maths by Computer

Organisation: This module consists of

  1. First year review
  2. Latex
  3. Essay
  4. Essay presentation
  5. Python
  6. Employability

For the essay component, you can choose your own topic in consultation with your tutor (who must approve it) or base an essay on one of the Maths at Work topics after attending the talks.

Students may, and are strongly advised to, submit a draft of their essay to their tutor by the end of the first week of Term 2. You are expected to have consulted the web pages in the additional resources page on essay writing prior to submission of the draft. The tutor will provide written comments and discuss the draft, normally by Week 4 of Term 2.

Students have to give a 15-minute oral presentation of the essay to their tutor and a small group of other second year students, normally around week 9 of Term 2. This presentation is a compulsory requirement and 10% of the module mark is allocated to the quality of the presentation. Students should seek advice, e.g. from their tutor, on how to convey the content of their essay within such a short period of time; they must not get bogged down in technicalities but they should not be vague.

The python component is web based, graded by Moodle quiz, and accompanied by 3 labs. The deadline for the python quiz is the Friday before term 2, Friday, 5th January, noon

The first year review is graded by Moodle. The quiz will open on Monday, 18th September, two weeks before the beginning of term.

The deadline is Friday 13th October, noon, week 2,

The employability component is ungraded, but important to engage with. This consists of three talks by Ray Ryan, and tutorial discussions, all in term 1.


  1. To provide an opportunity for students to learn some mathematics directly from books and other sources.
  2. To develop written and oral exposition skills.
  3. To ensure students are well prepared for second year modules.
  4. To extend students knowledge of python programming.
  5. To provide students a vision of their future employment options, and to equip students with practical skills to help them find employment after graduating.


The essays should be submitted electronically online through Moodle by 12:00 noon on Thursday 25th April 2024 (week 1, term 3). This deadline is enforced by the mechanism described in the Course Handbook section on Assessment.

It is the students' responsibility to choose their essay topic, to prepare the draft on time, to seek advice where necessary, to prepare the presentation on time and to submit the final version of the essay on time.

Instructions about the essay and information on the marking scheme will be given out by the end of Term 1. Students are advised to read the instructions carefully, since failure to follow one of the University Regulations (on plagiarism, for example) could result in a mark of zero.

The review and the python components are marked by Moodle quizzes.


Additional Resources