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10 November 2022

Blackfriars hosts inaugural Maths in Industry morning

Take some Year 10 maths students, add a group of guest speakers and what’s…

Take some Year 10 maths students, add a group of guest speakers and what’s the result? Blackfriars’ inaugural Maths in Industry morning.

The brainchild of Head of Mathematics Sam Capurso, the seven guest speakers, from a range of industries, spoke to the boys about how they used maths in their professional and personal lives.

Tom Caton, who has a Bachelor of Mathematical and Computer Sciences (Hons) from Adelaide University, is a Business Analyst at BAE Systems, managing teams involved in projects such as fighter pilot training and ship building.

Tom Caton addresses the Year 10 students during the Maths in Industry morning.

He told the boys how he had used various fields of maths, such as statistics, probability, binary, array logic, calculus and geometry, in his professional life.

“I’ve used maths a lot in my career,” Mr Caton said.

“One of the things our company does is train fighter pilots for the RAAF. Our fighter pilots … fly real-life training exercises … and while they are doing that, we’ve got this software that collects all the, what they call, telemetry data. That gets taken off the plane at the end of the training flight and gets puts into a virtual reality, or augmented reality, flight simulator.

“In terms of the maths involved, there’s a lot of geometry, geometric modelling … there’s a fair bit of calculus as well.”

Leo Caltabiano, the Assistant Director of the Program Management Office at SA Health, also studied maths and computer science after leaving high school. His talk focused on budgets and superannuation.

“How do I use mathematics on the job? My mathematics is pretty straightforward. It’s about addition, subtraction, division,” said Mr Caltabiano, explaining how he used simple spreadsheets to manage budgets for, at times, multimillion-dollar projects.

He explained how those same budget spreadsheets could be easily adapted for use in a home environment.

“At home, when you guys start to live on your own, you’ll probably do a budget,” he told the boys. “That’s why maths is really important in everyday life. Make maths work for you.”

He also shared some financial “words of wisdom”.

Eddy Bin said his profession – accountancy – had “a lot of different elements”.

“Accountants don’t just add numbers up,” Mr Bin said.

“We are also involved in the use of technology … accumulation of data. I work in tax, so, therefore, we need to understand the tax legislation. You will be surprised where an accountant forms part of a management team.”

He said, outside business, basic accounting skills were “very useful for you in day-to-day life”.

“Understanding and managing your money is a very good skill to have,” he said.

Thank you to all our guest speakers:

Guest speakers at the inaugural Maths in Industry morning were, from left, Alex Poucki, Sophie Heath, Blackfriars Head of Mathematics Sam Capurso, Tom Caton, Benjamin Wells, Leo Caltabiano, Eddy Bin and Vince Schirripa.