Gareth Ffowc Roberts, Poblogeiddiwr mathemateg (Populariser of mathematics)

Name: Gareth Ffowc Roberts

Job Title: Athro Emeritws // Emeritus Professor

Organisation: Prifysgol Bangor // Bangor University

Number of years in current position: 20

Qualifications:
MA (Oxon) (Mathemateg), PhD (Nottingham) (Cemeg Ddamcaniaethol), MEd (Cymru)
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MA (Oxon) (Mathematics), PhD (Nottingham) (Theoretical Chemistry), MEd (Wales)

Briefly describe the organisation you work for.
Mae Prifysgol Bangor yn cynnig cyrsiau addysg uwch ar draws nifer eang o ddisgyblaethau ac yn cynnal ymchwil yn y disgyblaethau hynny. Mae fy mhrif gysylltiad gydag Ysgol Addysg y brifysgol.
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Bangor University offers higher education courses across a wide range of disciplines and undertakes research in those disciplines. My main involvement is with the School of Education at the university.

Explain what you do on an average day at work.
Cyn ymddeol canolbwynt fy ngwaith oedd addysgu myfyrwyr oedd yn dymuno dilyn gyrfaoedd fel athrawon, gyda phwyslais ar eu cynorthwyo i addysgu mathemateg. Roeddwn hefyd yn gwneud ymchwil i sut y mae plant yn dysgu mathemateg, yn arbennig mewn sefyllfaoedd dwyieithog. Gan fy mod wedi ymddeol erbyn hyn, mae pob diwrnod yn wahanol, ond un o’m prif weithgareddau yw ceisio hybu diddordeb mewn mathemateg mewn erthyglau a llyfrau, wrth gyfrannu at raglenni radio, ac wrth fanteisio ar y cyfryngau cymdeithasol. Yn gynnar bob bore byddaf yn gosod sialens fathemategol #posydydd ar Twitter ac yn ei hateb bob nos.
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Before retirement, the main focus of my work was to educate students who wished to pursue careers as teachers, with an emphasis on helping them to be able to teach mathematics. I also undertook research into how children learn mathematics, particularly in bilingual settings. Following retirement, every day is different, but one of my main activities is promoting interest in mathematics by writing articles and books, by contributing to radio programmes, and by exploiting the potential of social media. Early each morning I post a mathematics challenge on Twitter as #puzzleoftheday and post an answer late at night.

What do you like most about your job?
Pleser pur yw cael y fraint o rannu syniadau mathemategol gyda phobl eraill a gweld sut y maent yn mynd ati i feddwl yn fathemategol, yn aml iawn mewn ffyrdd sy’n gwbl annisgwyl. Mae mwy nag un ffordd o gael Wil i’w wely!
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I derive great pleasure from sharing mathematical ideas with other people and seeing how they go about the task of thinking mathematically, often in completely unexpected ways. There’s always more than one way to skin a cat!

What stimulated your interest in maths, and when?
Yn blentyn bach cofiaf i mi eistedd yn y gegin un Sadwrn gwlawog a cheisio mynd ati i sgwennu i lawr pob rhif. Gwawriodd arnaf yn araf na fyddai’r dasg fyth yn dod i ben a chefais ryw gip ar ryfeddod anfeidredd. Y rhyfeddu hwnnw sydd wedi cynnal y diddordeb byth wedyn, a hynny gyda chymorth ambell athro a darlithydd a chyd-fyfyriwr ysbrydoledig.
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As a small child I remember sitting down in the kitchen on a rainy Saturday morning and setting myself the task of writing down all the numbers. It gradually dawned on me that the task was impossible and I experienced a brief glimpse of the wonder of infinity. That sense of wonder has sustained my interest ever since, helped along by inspirational teachers, lecturers and fellow students.

What influenced your career choice?
Yr awydd i rannu gydag eraill y pleser a gawn wrth fathematega.
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The urge to share with others the pleasure that I experienced in doing mathematics.

Which skills do you consider to be essential for your job?
Amynedd, y ddawn i wrando, a’r gallu i ofyn cwestiynau agored er mwyn i’r dysgwr gadw perchnogaeth ar y testun dan sylw.
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Patience, the ability to listen and knowing how to ask open questions so that the learner maintains ownership of the subject matter.

Any advice you may have for other individuals considering your career path?
Mae angen diddordeb mewn mathemateg a diddordeb hefyd mewn dysgwyr – yn blant ac yn oedolion – os am lwyddo.
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You need an interest in mathematics as well as an interest in learners – be they children or adults – in order to succeed.

Your future career plans?
Parhau i geisio ysbrydoli eraill i sylweddoli ein bod i gyd yn fathemategwyr a bod pawb yn cyfrif.
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Continue to try to inspire others to realise that we are all mathematicians and that we all count.