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Link between maths and cricket!

The role of mathematics in cricket bats has been highlighted by a University of St Andrews mathematician who has been awarded a prestigious prize for her honours project.

Alexandra Cran, who graduated this summer with a First Class M.Sci. degree in Mathematics and who is now embarking on her doctoral studies at the University, has been awarded the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (Scottish Branch) Prize for the best Honours Project in Applicable Mathematics.

Each university in Scotland is invited to submit one project from those written by its final year undergraduates and The School of Mathematics and Statistics chose Alexandra’s project – “An Investigation of the Sweet Spot of Cricket Bats” – as their entry.

Alexandra explained, “In all sports involving a bat and ball, for example tennis, baseball and cricket, there is the concept of a sweet spot. Sportsmen simply use the term to describe the point on the bat where an impact with the ball feels good – the point where they do not feel any painful jerks or vibrations in their hands as they hit the ball. As sports equipment manufacture has become a more lucrative industry, physicists have become interested in studying the scientific reasons behind the sweet spot – is it possible to make bats with wider sweet spots, for example? My project dealt with some of the main theories behind this phenomenon, and their relative importance.”

Alexandra received her prize from the UK President of the IMA, John McWhirter, when he gave his address to the Scottish Branch in Glasgow. She was awarded an inscribed quaich, a cheque and a year’s membership of the IMA. A review of the winning project will also be published in the IMA Mathematics Today Bulletin.

Alexandra has just started her doctoral studies in St Andrews, working with Dr Andrew Wright.

ENDS

NOTE TO EDITORS – Jpeg photograph of Alexandra receiving the prize from John McWhirter available from Claire Grainger – contact details below.

Issued by Beattie Media on behalf of the University of St Andrews For more information please contact: Claire Grainger on 01334 462530, 07730 415 015 or email cg24@st- andrews.ac.uk View University press releases on- line at http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk Ref: cran/standrews/chg/4nov2002

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