Pupils to take taste test on Scotland’s other national drink at TechFest’s maths masterclass

Pupils from Aberdeen City and Shire will took part in a study to examine the difference in taste in the sugar-free version of IRN-Bru, as part of TechFest’s Maths Masterclass over the weekend at University of Aberdeen.

Students will compare the two versions of IRN-Bru and work out, in mathematical terms, the chances of people noticing the difference.

The AG Barr-owned brand launched IRN-Bru XTRA - a new sugar-free version of the original and much loved IRN Bru drink - in 2016, ahead of the levy on high-sugar soft drinks which was introduced last year.

In ‘Xtra vs Sugar-free’ at Sir Duncan Rice Library, University of Aberdeen, students will take part in a blind taste test before using a mathematical study to determine how many people would be able to detect a change in flavour between both drinks.

The workshop will be presented by Dr Daniel Vogel, a maths lecturer at the University of Aberdeen.

Dr Vogel said: “Maths can be an invaluable skill for companies looking to develop a new product. The empirical study that we’ll use in the workshop is very similar to what many manufacturers will use when trying out new tastes or variations.

“This is an interactive and engaging workshop where we will collect data using blind tastings before studying the results, giving pupils the opportunity to see how retailers analyse important data about their product and in this case, find out if the sugar-free version of IRN-Bru tastes similar to the original recipe!”

TechFest is an Aberdeen-based charity which aims to promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) activities to young people and the wider community.

Sarah Chew, managing director of TechFest, said: “This workshop is a great example of how STEM skills learned in the classroom, including maths, can be applied in a range of jobs, including the development of a new product.

“We’d like to thank each of our presenters who use such engaging scenarios to demonstrate their expertise and excite pupils’ interest in STEM subjects. We’d also like to thank all of the school children who have taken part in TechFest’s Maths Masterclasses so far and to The Royal Institution and Chevron for their continued support.”

The Maths Masterclasses 2018/2019 series has run since November and provides an exciting opportunity for pupils to learn different maths topics and hear from industry professionals who demonstrate how the skills can be applied to everyday life using stimulating scenarios.

This is one of eight masterclasses taking place in the city, with the final scheduled for Saturday, March 23.

The schools taking part in this year’s Maths Masterclasses series are Peterhead Academy, Turriff Academy, Robert Gordons College, Cults Academy, Mackie Academy, Banchory Academy, St Margaret’s School for Girls, Meldrum Academy, Northfield Academy, Aberdeen Grammar School, Elgin Academy, Bucksburn Academy, Kemnay Academy, St Machar Academy.

Each year, TechFest runs the highly popular TechFest Science Festival which attracts tens of thousands of children and adults to a series of STEM-based events in and around Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire, as well as a year-round programme of educational events for schools and young people.

For more information, please visit www.techfestsetpoint.org.uk

Dr Daniel Vogel

Dr Daniel Vogel

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