500 senior high school students experienced at the University of Trier how diverse math studies are. They also played games.

It was quiet as a mouse in the large auditorium of the University of Trier during Nicole Marheineke's lecture. The students listened intently to the professor of modeling and numerics, who outlined how the development of the Corona pandemic can be calculated. A topic that is not part of the curriculum of the upper school. This was later confirmed by a group of students. They said they found it exciting that the "Mathematics Day" at the University of Trier also dealt with topics from everyday life.

Showing young people the many different areas of application for mathematics is one goal of "Mathematics Day." "With a math degree, you can shape the future and make a difference," Nicole Marheineke promoted her subject. From the development department of technology companies to insurance companies, many career fields are open to studied mathematicians. "We want to get people excited about math with this event."

Mathematics for penguins

Most of the students from 15 high schools in the region already brought a certain passion for math with them. They all take math performance courses at their schools. "Sometimes you have to justify it, after all," the Trier professor said with a twinkle in her eye as she welcomed them. The young people were certainly able to gather arguments in favor of studying math during the workshops and lectures on offer.

What the young people did at group tables in a seminar room looked like a game. Chessboard squares had been marked on the tables. On them were small penguin figures on ice floes. All penguins were supposed to reach an ice floe. The workshop leaders explained that behind the game is the maximum flow problem. The associated graph theory is also used, for example, in the creation of flight plans.

Good career prospects

"Mathematics is its own world, its own language. That's why it's not easy to define what you can do with mathematics," says Nicole Marheineke. Among other things, the math program at the University of Trier deals with issues that are of interest to the business world. This makes it easier to start a career. Graduates of the master's program in "Data Science," for example, are also in high demand.

The students were given an insight into methods of studying math in two lectures by math professors. Twelve workshops dealt with almost all fields taught in mathematics at Trier University, from geometry to probability. In "Mathematics under the saucepan", for example, the young people were able to find out how a hot stove top and boiling water and a lukewarm saucepan lid are connected. But the workshops "Winning Games with Mathematics" or "Getting to the Bottom of Randomness" were also in demand.

A campus rally organized by students from the student council then provided an opportunity to get to know the potential place of study. The young people ran around the campus in small groups. The challenge was not only to solve the tasks correctly, but also to solve them quickly. Skills that are certainly also important for prospective mathematicians.