Public Lecture

Please note that the list below only shows forthcoming events, which may not include regular events that have not yet been entered for the forthcoming term. Please see the past events page for a list of all seminar series that the department has on offer.

Past events in this series
24 April 2018

The Simonyi Lecture is an annual lecture under the auspices of the Charles Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science, Marcus du Sautoy. It is not part of the Oxford Mathematics Public Lectures series but its themes and topics touch not only on mathematics but the wider natural sciences and beyond. All are very welcome and there is no need to register.


In this year’s Simonyi Lecture Geoffrey West discusses universal laws that govern everything from growth to mortality in plants, animals, cities and companies. These remarkable laws originate in the networks that sustain life from circulatory to social systems and help us address big, urgent questions from population explosion, urbanization, lifespan and cancer, to the accelerating pace of life and global sustainability. Why do we stop growing and live about 100 years rather than 1000, or just two like mice? Why do we sleep eight hours a day and not three like elephants? Why do all companies and people die whereas cities keep growing? How are these related to innovation, wealth creation, and “singularities”? And is any of this sustainable? 

Geoffrey West is a theoretical physicist whose primary interests have been in fundamental questions in physics, biology and social organizations  West is a distinguished professor at the Sante Fe Institute, where he served as the president from 2004-2008. He is author of the recent best-selling book 'Scale'.



17 May 2018
Michael Atiyah

Archimedes, who famously jumped out of his bath shouting "Eureka", also invented $\pi$. 

Euler invented $e$ and had fun with his formula $e^{2\pi i} = 1$

The world is full of important numbers waiting to be invented. Why not have a go ?

Michael Atiyah is one of the world's foremost mathematicians and a pivotal figure in twentieth and twenty-first century mathematics. His lecture will be followed by an interview with Sir John Ball, Sedleian Professor of Natural Philosophy here in Oxford where Michael will talk about his lecture, his work and his life as a mathematician.

Please email to register.

26 June 2018
Richard James

Richard James' main area of research is phase transformations in materials - especially shape memory and multiferrroic materials - at large and small scales. This involves the development of mathematical methods for the analysis of materials at atomic and continuum scales.

Richard D. James is Distinguished McKnight University Professor at the University of Minnesota.

Please email to register

5 September 2018
Persi Diaconis

Persi Diaconis is world-renowned for his study of mathematical problems involving randomness and randomisation, notably coin flipping and the shuffling of playing cards. He is the co-author of 'Ten Great Ideas about Chance (2017)' and his Public Lecture will be based on the book.

Persi is the Mary V. Sunseri Professor of Statistics and Mathematics at Stanford University. 

24 September 2018
Roger Penrose

Roger Penrose's work has ranged across many aspects of mathematics and its applications from his influential work on gravitational collapse to his work in quantum gravity via twistor theory.

However, Roger has long had an interest in and influence on the visual arts and its connections with mathematics, most notably in his relationship with Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher. In this lecture he will use Escher's work to introduce and connect mathematics to a wider public.

Oxford Mathematics is pleased to host this lecture in partnership with the Clay Mathematics Institute during their Annual Conference. After the lecture Roger will be presented with the Clay Award for the Dissemination of Mathematical Knowledge.

More details on how to register will follow later in the year.

15 November 2018
Michael Berry

Sir Michael Berry is a mathematical physicist at the University of Bristol specialising in semiclassical physics. His interests span a wide range of areas and, in his own words, a particular "source of delight is uncovering down-to-earth or dramatic and sometimes beautiful examples of abstract mathematical ideas: the arcane in the mundane.

More details to follow.

Please email to register

12 December 2018
Hannah Fry - University College of London

Dr Hannah Fry is a lecturer in the Mathematics of Cities at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at UCL. She works alongside a unique mix of physicists, mathematicians, computer scientists, architects and geographers to study the patterns in human behaviour - particularly in an urban setting. Her research applies to a wide range of social problems and questions, from shopping and transport to urban crime, riots and terrorism.

Hannah is also a well-respected broadcaster and the author of several books including 'The Mathematics of Love' and, most recently, 'The Indisputable Existence of Santa Claus.'

Please email to register.

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