High Notes, Vol 6 No 15, June 03 2005
From the Principal
The Strategic Planning Process
Closure of the Tennis Courts
Committee Meeting Minutes
Another email service for parents
Using our website I urge all parents to visit the school's website www.sydneyboyshigh.com There are many pages of interest within the navigation bar including the High Communities and Links sections. Thank you to Raymond Roca Creativity for the impressive Debating site. All debaters need to use this site for online registration. Students who want to assist the school and build their skills in web page design and maintenance are invited to discuss a webmaster role with the appropriate MIC.
Wipeout at Weigall
The junior rugby sides played well in good contests. The third grade fixture was abandoned. First grade started off with a bang scoring a couple of nicely constructed tries and holding the mobile Grammar pack. The Grammar full back ran smart angles, had plenty of speed and used it to create overlaps. Two slick backline tries resulted. At 12-14 down, High was right in it at half time. Our boys played without the ball and some lost lineout possession put pressure on our defence. A nicely executed forwards try put Grammar ahead. Several more tries were conceded as the Grammar pack got on top and our defenders tired. High fought back with a try by Pat McDonnell, converted by Cameron Conway. However, the Grammar boys proved to be too big and relentless, running out convincing winners 45-22.
Warm addition to our uniform
From the Rugby Master's Desk
As we approach the 2005 GPS competition it is time to reflect on our season thus far. This year we asked the GPS rugby convenors to extend our Year group teams to include Year 11 players in the 16s age group, which was accepted.
We are fielding the same number of teams (12) as we did in 2004, although the mix has changed. There are two Open teams, two 16s, four 15s, two 14s and two 13s. We have played 55 matches, winning 23, losing 27 and drawing five. Several pre-season opponents aware of our Year group teams requested that we play at a level higher than last year in order to provide more competitive matches. We saw this as a positive recognition of our improving standard of rugby and important preparation for the tough GPS campaign. There have been some very encouraging results during the pre-season.
Serdar Bolen and the 1st XV have been quietly going about their business blending different combinations of youth and experience during the trials. They went into the match with Grammar with confidence, coming off two sound performances against TAS (36-17 win) and Cranbrook (17-17 draw). The big forward pack is well led by Captain Ian Kwok and senior player Tom Mainprize setting solid platforms for the backs to attack. Cameron Conway, Pat McDonnell and Will Kwok provide the stability for the attacking flair of Mark Carroll to come to the fore. There was no better example of this than in the 70m raid by High against Cranbrook which saw the flying Suren Wickramasinghe touch down in the corner. As each week passes we will be rigorously tested by our GPS opponents. I urge all players to have confidence in your coaches, your individual and collective abilities to "weather the storms" and put your game plans into action. Try to improve some aspect of your game each week even if the current game score is out of reach. We are always looking towards the future 1st fifteens whether you are currently an A, B, C or D player.
In response to the request for High to support Technical Aid to the Disabled, I have
received a pledge from Mr John Kwok, father of Ian (1st XV), Will (1st XV)
and Alden (13As) of "a dollar a point" scored by our 1st XV in the GPS competition. Any
other organisation or individual wishing to support this cause in a similar way can contact me on
9361 0027 during school hours.
Rugby Committee Meeting Summary
The third meeting of the SBHS Rugby Committee for 2005 was held on 25/5/05. The following is a summary of the meeting:
Attended: Rob Fetherston, Judy Fetherston, John Evans, John Bull, Serdar Bolen, Kel O'Keefe, Katherine Deacon, Derry O'Rourke, Adrian Vertoudakis, G Stein.
Volleyball Report #3
From the first ball, we exploded onto the court and asserted our dominance and experience. We controlled the pace of play and the options used. Clean, consistent but strong hitting and a water-tight defence gave us a commanding lead at one stage of seventeen points to three.
What followed was an increase in unforced errors as the pressure was dropped. This is a common problem when coming up against weaker opponents. However, we won the match in straight sets with a lot of support from our crowd.
It can be seen that Belmore's three Regional representatives did not match up to our six (past
and present), let alone High's four State representatives. The juggernaut that is 1st Grade
Volleyball continued on its path without the slightest hiccup, remaining undefeated this year.
Next week we have a match against the relatively unknown Marrickville that will decide which arm
of the State Championships we enter into. Hopefully, we will continue to be undefeated and
unrivalled in the fine old sport of Volleyball.
GPS News High Vs Riverview
Through numb fingers and stiff limbs, second grade took the lead with a 25-13 first set against what seemed like an inexperienced St Ignatius team.
The team heated up after the post-first-set talk, where the team would do court sprints for every ball that touched the ground without first touching us. This inspired the whole team, resulting in some excellent cover displayed by Jordan, Ping and both Davids. Balraj and George continue to overwhelm the opposition with their relentless blocking, denying every shot that attempted to make its way into our half of the court.
Ed continues his consistent setting and serving game after game, which resulted in some emphatic hits by Gary, Steven, and our half awake captain Sam Chhor in the last two sets, lifting the scores consistently to a 25-13, 25-9, 25-8 victory for High.
The highlight of the game goes to Jordan Luong, who closed out the last set with a 10 point serving streak, followed by a powerful jump serve that left the opposition speechless.
Consistent serving and increased confidence will be an aspect second grade will look to improve, and will no doubt help High in future.
Second grade look forward to a more challenging match against Grammar this coming week and
hopefully more interesting games as the season progresses.
First Grade Report from last week against Newington
In this match, our aim was to play aggressively without making errors. We started off following the game plan with quick balls through the middle and lower balls to the outside.
Newington's defence was not at the level we were used to attacking against. This led to High winning a majority of the points played.
Our use of aggressive serving caused us to win strings of 3 to 5 points per service round.
The match went by rather quickly with High winning 3 sets to 0.
P&C General Meeting
An invitation is extended to all P&C Sub-committee Chairs to attend the next General Meeting
of the P&C to be held 15th June 2005, at 7.30pm in the Staff Common
Sydney High School Foundation AGM
The Annual General Meeting of The Sydney High School Foundation Inc will be held on Tuesday 21 June 2005 commencing at 8.00 pm in the School Boardroom
For any enquiries please contact the Secretary at
Macquarie University Parent Liaison Program 2005
The Parent Liaison Program aims to give parents and families of Year 12 students information regarding study at Macquarie University.
Information evenings led by the Vice-Chancellor will be held at Macquarie University on Tuesday 28 June and Wednesday 27 July 2005 from 6.00pm - 7.30pm. These sessions will provide information on admissions, the UAI, transition to university from high school and HECS-HELP and FEE-HELP university loan schemes.
SBHS & SGHS Universities Evening
For Parents and Students in Years 10, 11 and 12
University and Faculty Representatives from the following tertiary institutions will be present:
Return to Index
Available from Mr Barris in the History Staff Room for $60 These books contain vouchers which
entitle the bearer to discounts at many eating venues in Sydney.
Yes there is so much on the web site now that it has become a labyrinth. I am happy with the basic navigation, but finding a specific item has lately been difficult.
So: GOOGLE SITE SEARCH to the rescue. Now at the top of the front page http://neilwhitfield.tripod.com and at the foot of each blog page http://neilwhitfield.tripod.com/blog/ you will find a Google Search Box than allows you to search the Communities and ESL Site OR the web. If you choose the former, you will quickly locate what you need on our pages.
I have tried it thoroughly and find it very efficient. There is a time lag of course before the most recent entries are found, but it is not all that long.
I have also removed quite a few graphics from the front page of the site so that it should load much more reliably.
This should all make the site much more useful.
From the Mathematics Faculty
Count Him In by Linton Weeks, Washington Post
Math is hot. The TV show "Numb3rs," featuring a crime-solving mathematician, is a hit. In the past few years there has been a run of popular math movies, including "Pi," "Good Will Hunting" and "A Beautiful Mind", the Russell Crowe film about Nobel Prize-winning mathematician John Nash that grossed more than $170 million.
Professor Dan Rockmore, on the terrace of his Upper East Side apartment, sees math problems wherever he looks, some much easier to solve than others.
The truth is, math has been hot for eons. It has given civilization, among other things, time, distance, weight, currency, commerce, computers, "Sesame Street," speedometers, the NFL, Pixar, Yahoo!, iPods and "The Da Vinci Code." It makes life easier, more manageable and more orderly.
Except when it comes to the problems that can't be solved.
Dan Rockmore is fascinated by just such a problem. He's 43, an easygoing, wire-haired professor of mathematics at Dartmouth College and author of the just-published "Stalking the Riemann Hypothesis: The Quest to Find the Hidden Law of Prime Numbers."
The Riemann hypothesis is one of the Seven Millennium Problems posed by the Clay Mathematics Institute in Cambridge, Mass., and whoever proves it will win $1 million. The seven, writes Stanford mathematician Keith Devlin, are "the hardest and most important unsolved mathematics problems in the world; they have resisted numerous attempts at solution, over many years, by the best mathematical minds around."
So far, none has been conclusively solved. But that doesn't keep mathematicians from trying.
To understand how someone can spend hours, days, years wrestling with an insoluble problem, you have to look at the world through a mathematician's eyes. That's where Rockmore comes in. He's not one of those fluky-flakey number nerds you read about. He's a hiker, a tennis player, a distance runner. He's got a loving family, a Manhattan pied-à-terre and patience enough to explain math to the unmathematical. He is an expositor who scored higher on his verbal SATs than on his math and he has agreed to spend the afternoon walking you through some of the toughest concepts in math -- literally.
Over lunch at Il Mediterraneo, near his apartment on the Upper East Side, he begins with a piece of cake. Say that you and he want to split a single piece of cake. You each want a fair share, so you agree that Dan will slice the cake and you will choose the half you want. Dan cuts it down the middle and you take the piece that you think is slightly larger. Now Dan feels like he has gotten an equal portion -- he cut it in half, remember -- and, because you were given a choice, you believe that you have gotten slightly more than Dan got. Miraculously, the two halves will seem to add up to more than a whole.
This is known as the Mathematics of Envy and it's only one small way that a mathematician tries -- tries -- to make sense of this complex and perplexing world.
Mathematicians move around the world in different ways from the rest of us. They live in a parallel reality -- seeing numbers where we see words, equations where we see poetry. "In order to understand the universe," Galileo wrote in the 17th century, "you must know the language in which it is written. And that language is mathematics."
Rockmore gestures toward wine bottles that are stored, bottoms out, in cubbyholes above the cafe bar. "I see circles and polyhedra," he says.
On this clear blue, purified spring day, Dan takes a postprandial stroll and Manhattan becomes a three-dimensional chalkboard. Between the geometry of architecture and calculus of urban life, you begin to see the sidewalks and the skyscrapers through a mathematician's eyes and somewhere along the way, theoretical math becomes, well, more concrete.
A sunflower at a florist's shop helps illustrate Fibonacci numbers. A stack of tomatoes at a greengrocer suggests Kepler's Conjecture. A stand of seven trees leads back around to a conversation about the Riemann Hypothesis. It's like taking a tour of a familiar place with a foreign-tongued guide.
Things You Can Count On
We are also, he says, hemmed in by math. "Life is about being creative within bounds", Rockmore says. "You can be infinitely creative, but there are some hard and fast rules." Often those rules are represented by numbers. You only have two hands. There are only 24 hours in a day. The alphabet has 26 letters; the major musical scale seven notes.
In "Stalking", he writes that the natural numbers -- the plain old numbers we use every day, such as one, two, three, four, etc. -- seem to have been with us from the beginning of time. They "are implicit in the journey of life, which is a nesting of cycles imposed upon cycles, wheels within wheels. One is the instant. Two is the breathing in and out of our lungs, or the beat of our hearts. The moon waxes and wanes; the tides ebb and flow. Day follows night, which in turn is followed once again by day. The cycle of sunrise, noon and sunset gives us three. Four describes the circle of the seasons."
Though you won't have to count much in this article, you must understand that there are two types of natural numbers: composites and primes. Composites, such as 4, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12 and so on, can be divided by smaller numbers. The primes -- 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17 and so on -- cannot be divided by smaller numbers, except 1. Prime numbers have a practical application these days; we use them in e-commerce to encrypt digital information, which makes it harder for identity thieves to steal our Social Security and credit card numbers on the Internet.
Mathematicians were intrigued by the primes long before there were computers. Euclid, a 3rd-century BC mathematician in Greece, pointed out that there are an infinite number of primes. Leonhard Euler, an 18th-century Swiss mathematician, discovered that primes appear in certain series. CF Gauss, an early 19th-century German known as "the prince of mathematics," tried to figure out why the primes are farther and farther apart as you count higher and higher. And in 1859, German genius Georg Friedrich Bernhard Riemann put forward a hypothesis that prime numbers occur -- along that never-ending number line -- in a certain pattern. He concocted a formula that helps to predict when the next prime will occur. Today it is called the Riemann Hypothesis. It has not been proved, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that Riemann's formula can predict the primes all the way out to infinity. That is why mathematicians still fiddle with the hypothesis and why Rockmore wrote his book.
Pointing to a sparkling yellow-and-black sunflower at Apple Tree Flowers on the corner of 69th Street and Second Avenue, Rockmore speaks of Leonardo Pisano Fibonacci, a 13th Century Italian mathematician. Fibonacci is famous for figuring out a special sequence of natural numbers. He began with 0, then 1. From then on, he added the previous two numbers to find the next. For example, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34. A simple-enough pattern -- called the Fibonacci series -- but it becomes profound when you discover that the numbers pop up throughout the natural world: in certain flower petals, pine cones and the seed head of a sunflower, where the number of spirals -- usually 34 or 55 or 89 -- allows nature to pack as many seeds as possible into a circle.
A few blocks away, Rockmore pauses in front of a display of vegetables at the Garden Deli. The tomatoes are stacked neatly, one layer latticed atop another. Mathematicians marvel at the ways spheres fill up space, he says. Johannes Kepler asserted in 1611 that this way of stacking -- called "face-centered cubic packing" -- is the most efficient, but for centuries no one could prove it. A proof is a very detailed, logical process for verifying a mathematical assertion.
In 1998 Thomas Hales at the University of Pittsburgh posted a proof of the Kepler theorem online that, assuming that one is dealing with perfect spheres and perfect cubes, was eventually accepted by the math community.
The Green Space Theorem
As mathematicians often do, Euler took the fun out of the game. First he turned the problem into a diagram of networks (lines representing the paths) and nodes (dots representing the land masses). An odd node had an odd number of lines jutting out from it; an even node had an even number of lines. Euler then showed that it was impossible to walk in a continuous circuit -- without retracing your steps -- unless the diagram had no odd nodes or two odd nodes. Since the Konigsberg Bridge Problem had four odd nodes, it proved impossible.
While sitting on a bench, Rockmore tells the story of the 20th-century Hungarian mathematician George Polya, who was in Zurich for some years. Meandering through a park one afternoon, Polya kept running into a colleague and his girlfriend. The colleague believed that Polya was making contact on purpose. Perhaps eager to prove that he wasn't hitting on his friend's girl, Polya devised the Random Walk Problem. He eventually published a mathematical proof showing that if you walk around enough in an infinite grid, you will return to the same points over and over.
Gesturing toward a clump of seven trees in Central Park, Rockmore also returns to certain points. Seven, of course, is a prime. And primes remind Rockmore of Riemann and the seven Millennium Problems.
A Russian math whiz named Grigori Perelman posted a solution in 2002 to one of the problems -- the Poincare Conjecture. The conjecture, crafted in the early 1900s, asks if the properties of the two-dimensional surface of a sphere behave in the same way as the properties of a three-dimensional surface of a sphere, which is something we cannot see but can only imagine.
James Carlson, president of the institute, says that after two years of scrutiny by the professional community, Perelman's proof "still looks good." The institute's board of advisers will have to agree before he gets the money.
The seven problems are incredibly dense. Rockmore says he doesn't completely understand the Yang-Mills Theory, which is the mathematical theory underlying quantum physics. Another of the problems -- the Navier-Stokes Equations that would explain the ways that fluids flow -- is "not well defined", Rockmore says.
Readable explanations of the problems can be found in Devlin's book, "The Millennium Problems: The Seven Greatest Unsolved Mathematical Puzzles of Our Time." The problems are also listed on the Clay Mathematics Institute Web site, http://www.claymath.org .
Some of the problems, Rockmore says, may be impossible to solve. "Maybe the Riemann Hypothesis turns out to be wrong," Rockmore says. "Some poor schmo may prove that. But he wouldn't get the million dollars."
Addition and Subtraction
Since then there has been more pressure to be precise, even as the world has become harder and harder to explain. But the occasional imprecision of mathematics remains a constant. "The zeitgeist affects mathematics," Rockmore says.
And mathematics affects the zeitgeist. Computers have given us the puffed-up notion that we can quantify just about anything -- even love. Rockmore points to eHarmony.com, the online matching service that relies on 29-question surveys to pair compatible people. As the Web site explains it: "The eHarmony.com compatibility matching models were created using factor analyses, multiple regression and discriminant analyses on data gathered from married couples." In other words, feelings are distilled to factors; attraction to analysis.
Back at the restaurant, you and Dan were given three pieces of bread. They brought to mind the Mathematics of Guilt, as described by British mathematician Rob Eastaway in "Why Do Buses Come in Threes? The Hidden Mathematics of Everyday Life." In Eastaway's example, the vicar's wife invites five friends over for tea. She offers her guests a plate of biscuits -- four are chocolate and one plain. All the guests like chocolate biscuits. The first guest takes a chocolate biscuit. So do the second and third. The fourth person knows that if she chooses the last chocolate biscuit, the fifth person will be forced to eat a plain one. She feels guilty and so doesn't take either one. The question, Eastaway asks, is: Should the other guests also have felt guilty, and if so, how do you decide mathematically the amount of guilt each guest should feel?
But guilt is not always based on taking the last biscuit. And love is not always founded on
compatibility. Even the piece of cake that two people share might have a blemish on one half or a
frayed corner on the other.
Academic Merit Lists Semester 1
From the High Store
School beanies have arrived - designed by your own SRC!
There are limited stocks, so be quick - $20 each. Other non-school beanies will be
From the Library
Access Andrews Library Catalogue via the Internet!!!!
If you are working on or designing an assignment you can check to see what the Library has to offer you. (Do not forget students can borrow videos and DVDs)
News on the Premier's Reading Challenge and the Sydney Boys High Reading Challenge
Year 7 students continue to amaze me with the amount of reading they did last year. This year's response to: "How many books did you read last year?" is the best I have encountered in 4 years at this school with approx 80% having read 20 or more books last year. We look forward to fabulous English results in the future with so many dedicated readers coming through our school.
Anyone just beginning the challenge now will have to read at least one novel a week and extra during school holidays to get to the 20 - it is quite a challenge. Don't forget that any books read since September last year can be entered legitimately in this year's Challenge.
Thanks to the wonderful parents and students who have been assisting me to read the books for
the Literacy Circles programme
From the Office: Reminder to Parents
Change of Address
There have been a number of occasions when Administration have had difficulty contacting parents because of change of workplace. This is extremely important in a case of emergency. If parents are going to be out of the country for any length of time the Principal needs to know this information as well.
Please ask your son to obtain a change of details form from the Main Office and also change forms
for travel when changing your address
SBHS & SGHS P&C Associations
The SBHS & SGHS P&C Associations invite you to the 2005 Joint Meeting
The topic for the evening is Raising a Gifted Adolescent - Creating a Resilient Family
Guest Speaker: Andrew Fuller, Clinical Psychologist and Family Therapist
Andrew Fuller is the author of HELP YOUR CHILD SUCCEED AT SCHOOL, (Inyahead Press) RAISING REAL PEOPLE (ACER), FROM SURVIVING TO THRIVING (ACER), WORK SMARTER NOT HARDER and BEATING BULLIES. Andrew has also co-authored a series of programs for the promotion of resilience and emotional intelligence used in over 2000 schools in Britain and Australia called THE HEART MASTERS. He is a Fellow of the Department of Psychiatry and the Department of Learning and Educational Development at the University of Melbourne.
Wednesday 22 June at 7.30 pm
Come and hear Andrew Fuller's presentation which will be followed by question time and
GPS Music Festival
Nominations are now open for the 2005 GPS music festival.
It is expected that all senior students will nominate to be a part of this festival. Year 12 students are welcome to participate.
Students will be selected for the ensembles based on standard and ensemble participation at school. The minimum standard to be eligible for the ensembles are AMEB 5th Grade. Instruments such as viola, cello, double bass, French horn, oboe and bassoon are always in demand.
All students in the ensemble program are encouraged to apply, there are five ensembles to fill and there will be a reserve list.
The top performers in the Symphony Orchestra last year were all from Sydney Boys High.
The festival dates are:
Exact times to be confirmed All rehearsals and the performance are to be held at Newington College, Stanmore.
Please fill in the nomination form and return to the music office by Friday.
Name ___________________________________ Roll _____________
____ Yes I would like to be considered for the 2005 GPS music festival. I understand that I must attend the two rehearsals and performance as stated above.
____ No I would not like to participate in the GPS music festival because
_________________________________________________________ (This helps us to plan future events.)
Signed ______________________________ Date _____________ Student
Return to Index
State of the Arts
Lost Guitar: An electric guitar in a black soft case has been misplaced. If anyone has seen it, please contact the school or music department.
High Profile in Education Week
Eastgardens Shopping Centre
The following ensembles will be performing at the Winter Music Festival
I would like to purchase the following tickets (number)
___ $12 Adult ___ $9 Concession ___ $25 Family Total cost $________
Student name______________________________ Roll___________
Ensemble _____________________________ Instrument___________
Type of Payment: Cheque___ Cash ___ B/Card___ M/Card ___ Visa___ Payable to music committee
Name on Card________________________________ Expiry date___ ___/___ ___
Contact Number ________________________________________
Card No. ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___
Amount $______________ Signature____________________________
Workshop and Concert
Timings for the day will go as follows: there is a cost of $5 to pay for the pizza
4:00 - 5:15pm Workshop in the Great Hall
As some of the ensembles will not be performing at the Winter Festival, this performance will count toward their award points.
Please return this slip to the Music Office by Monday 30th May
___ My son will be attending the Workshop and Concert. Payment of $5.00 is included ___ My son is unable to attend the Workshop and Concert Because ___________________________________ ___ I would like ________ extra tickets for the Concert (no extra cost)
Student Name ___________________________ Roll ____________
Signed Parent/Guardian _____________________________________
Return to Index
The Bugle Call: News of the Sydney High Cadet Unit
Cadet-net quote of the week:
Sunday UNSWR Presentation Ceremony.
The Unit needs your help.