# Are there any good students?

It is easy to criticize students and make unwarranted generalizations such as that they are all lazy or not as good as they were in the past. On my forthcoming DVD all three speakers, including myself, are guilty of this to some extent. We portray students rather negatively. This is perhaps not surprising, it’s just human nature to see the problems rather than the positive things that do actually work. Of course we all know that we are generalizing and all know that there are many great students. It’s just that we don’t say it enough. (Maybe we should have a Good Student Day!)

Today I get a chance to celebrate one of our Leeds students. John Power who graduated in July has won a national essay competition, the MSOR 2011 Student Essay Competition. You can read his prize-winning entry at

http://mathstore.ac.uk/headocs/Power.pdf. It should be required reading for new maths students.

The bit about Pythagoras’ Theorem – that’s my module he’s talking about! Anyhow, he gave an excellent project presentation about the Banach-Tarski paradox. It’s a shame we can’t record the presentations and show them to people and say, see students are good!

A very interesting essay by John Power which I’ve read and also bookmarked for reference again. I’ve heard of Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem & was interested by John’s reference to infinite regress. Perhaps the Incompleteness Theorem points to a basic openness to the universe – i.e. we’ll never, ever have all the answers – just as basic calculus underpins Newton’s laws of gravity and mechanics. Just a thought.

Just out of curiosity, is there a copyright issue with recording presentations? As you say, seems a pity not to advertise the good student.