Forthcoming events in this series

Sat, 11 Nov 2023
Mathematical Institute

The Vicky Neale Celebration

Further Information

This autumn Oxford Mathematics and Balliol College will be hosting an afternoon to celebrate the life and contributions of Vicky Neale who died in May of this year.

November 11, 2023, 14.00–16.30
Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford
Woodstock Road, OX2 6GG

If you would like to join us, please register here by October 6th.

You can leave your memories of Vicky here.

Thu, 09 Nov 2023
Lecture Room 2

Forming a Thought into Form - Jon Keating, Maya B. Kronic, Emma Ridgway, and Conrad Shawcross with Fatos Ustek

Further Information

Turning thought in to form is a mysterious process with which artists, scientists, philosophers and, indeed, all of us engage. But though the outcomes, mathematical, artistic, philosophical, may be different, might there be much that is common to all?

In the last lecture of the four-part series organised as part of Conrad Shawcross' 'Cascading Principles' exhibition in Oxford Mathematics, we bring together a panel comprising Jon Keating, Sedleian Professor of Natural Philosophy at the University of Oxford, Emma Ridgway, Director of the Foundling Museum,  Maya B Kronicg, philosopher and Director of Urbanomic, and Conrad himself. The discussion will be chaired by Fatos Ustek, curator of the 'Cascading Principles' exhibition.

There will be an opportunity to view the exhibition with the curator at 4pm on the day of the lecture.

Please email @email to register for the in-person event.The lecture will be broadcast on the Oxford Mathematics YouTube Channel at a later date.

Thu, 28 Sep 2023
Lecture Theatre 1

Patterns in Science and Art -  Liliane Lijn, Marcus du Sautoy and Fatos Ustek with Conrad Shawcross

 Liliane Lijn, Marcus du Sautoy and Fatos Ustek with Conrad Shawcross
Further Information

The search for and creation of patterns is intrinsic to both science and art. But so is the desire to understand how and why those patterns break down and to uncover the implications for the scientist and the artist.

Artist Liliane Lijn, curator Fatos Ustek and mathematician Marcus du Sautoy will share their experience and understanding of pattern and where it has taken them in their scientific and artistic careers. Conrad Shawcross will chair the discussion and provide his own unique perspective as represented by his 'Cascading Principles' Exhibition.

Liliane Lijn is an American-born artist who has exhibited at the Venice Biennale, and was recently short listed for her design for the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square. Marcus Sautoy is a mathematician and Professor for the Public Understanding of Science in Oxford. Fatos Ustek is curator of the 'Cascading Principles' exhibition and curator of the sculpture park at Frieze London. Conrad Shawcross is an artist specialising in mechanical sculptures based on philosophical and scientific ideas.

Please email @email to register.

Thu, 20 Jul 2023
Lecture Theatre 1

The hat: an aperiodic monotile

Further Information

The theory of tilings in the plane touches on diverse areas of mathematics, physics and beyond. Aperiodic sets of tiles, such as the famous Penrose tiling that you see as you walk into the Mathematical Institute, admit tilings of the plane without any translational symmetry. The Penrose tiling is made of two elementary shapes, or tiles, and mathematicians have long wondered about the existence of a single tile that could tile the plane aperiodically. Earlier this year such a shape was discovered: the hat! This hat turned out to be the first of a whole family, and is being celebrated across a two-day meeting in Oxford.

For this public talk, organised in partnership with the Clay Mathematics Institute, Chaim Goodman-Strauss (National Museum of Mathematics/University of Arkansas), one of the authors of this new work, will give an overview of the hat.

This will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Craig Kaplan (University of Waterloo), Marjorie Senechal (Smith College) and Roger Penrose (University of Oxford) as well as Chaim Goodman-Strauss. The discussion, about the impact of this new discovery and future directions will be chaired by Henna Koivusalo (University of Bristol).

Register The whole programme on 20th July will be highly accessible, so please do come along earlier if you can.

Sat, 27 May 2023
Lecture Theatre 1

The Villiers Quartet at the Mathematical Institute - Late Beethoven Series III

Villiers Quartet
Further Information

We are delighted to welcome the Villiers Quartet back to Oxford Mathematics on May 27th 2023 when they continue their 'Late Beethoven' series with three works:

Benjamin Britten - Three Divertimenti
Alexander Goehr - Quartet No. 5 "Vision of the Soldier, Er"
Ludwig van Beethoven - Quartet Op. 130

May 27th, 7.30pm. Tickets £20 and £5 student concession

There will be a pre-concert talk 6:45pm from Dr. Peter Copley who will outline the musical impetus behind the Op.130, one of Beethoven's most personal works.

Please book here

Photo of the band

Wed, 28 Sep 2022 09:00 -
Sun, 30 Jun 2024 17:00
Mathematical Institute

Cascading Principles - a major mathematically inspired exhibition by Conrad Shawcross - extended until June 2024

Further Information

Oxford Mathematics is delighted to be hosting one of the largest exhibitions by the artist Conrad Shawcross in the UK. The exhibition, Cascading Principles: Expansions within Geometry, Philosophy, and Interference, brings together over 40 of Conrad's mathematically inspired works from the past seventeen years. Rather than in a gallery, they are placed in the working environment of the practitioners of the subject that inspired them, namely mathematics.

Conrad Shawcross models scientific thought and reasoning within his practice. Drawn to mathematics, physics, and philosophy from the early stages of his artistic career, Shawcross combines these disciplines in his work. He places a strong emphasis on the nature of matter, and on the relativity of gravity, entropy, and the nature of time itself. Like a scientist working in a laboratory, he conceives each work as an experiment. Modularity is key to his process and many works are built from a single essential unit or building block. If an atom or electron is a basic unit for physicists, his unit is the tetrahedron.

Unlike other shapes, a tetrahedron cannot tessellate with itself. It cannot cover or form a surface through its repetition - one tetrahedron is unable to fit together with others of its kind. Whilst other shapes can sit alongside one another without creating gaps or overlapping, tetrahedrons cannot resolve in this way. Shawcross’ Schisms are a perfect demonstration of this failure to tessellate. They bring twenty tetrahedrons together to form a sphere, which results in a deep crack and ruptures that permeate its surface. This failure of its geometry means that it cannot succeed as a scientific model, but it is this very failure that allows it to succeed as an art work, the cracks full of broad and potent implications.

The show includes all Conrad's manifold geometric and philosophical investigations into this curious, four-surfaced, triangular prism to date. These include the Paradigms, the Lattice Cubes, the Fractures, the Schisms, and The Dappled Light of the Sun. The latter was first shown in the courtyard of the Royal Academy and subsequently travelled all across the world, from east to west, China to America.

The show also contains the four Beacons. Activated like a stained-glass window by the light of the sun, they are composed of two coloured, perforated disks moving in counter rotation to one another, patterning the light through the non-repeating pattern of holes, and conveying a message using semaphoric language. These works are studies for the Ramsgate Beacons commission in Kent, as part of Pioneering Places East Kent.

The exhibition Cascading Principles: Expansions within Geometry, Philosophy, and Interference is curated by Fatoş Üstek, and is organised in collaboration with Oxford Mathematics. 

The exhibition is open 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday. Some of the works are in the private part of the building and we shall be arranging regular tours of that area. If you wish to join a tour please email @email.

The exhibition runs until 30 June 2024. You can see and find out more here.

Watch the four public talks centred around the exhibition (featuring Conrad himself).

The exhibition is generously supported by our longstanding partner XTX Markets.

Images clockwise from top left of Schism, Fracture, Paradigm and Axiom

Schism Fracture

Axiom Paradigm

Mon, 27 Jun 2022 09:00 -
Fri, 22 Jul 2022 17:00
Mathematical Institute, Ground and Mezzanine levels

All we ever wanted was everything / 24.02.22 (for Ukraine)

Andy Bullock
Further Information

On June 27th, in the Reception area of the Mathematical Institute, Oxford artist Andy Bullock unveiled his most ambitious knot sculpture to date, a large floor-based work titled ‘All we ever wanted was everything / 24.02.22 (for Ukraine)’ constructed using 70 metres of metal trunking. As with all his knot sculptures they often reference issues of complexity with situations and people, the personal and interpersonal; focusing on what it means to be human.

In a first for the artist, Bullock will be inviting members of the recently arrived Ukrainian refugee community to contribute to the artwork by incorporating items of personal relevance. Bullock is reaching out to Oxfordshire’s Ukrainian community in a collaboration with Yulia Astasheva, a recent arrival herself from the Dnipropetrovsk region, where she still has close family living only miles from the Russian-occupied region.

The idea for the work came initially from a commission from Oxford Mathematics for Bullock to create an exhibition of his maths-related painting, photography and sculpture to be open to the public this summer. The core of his fine art master’s degree show last year was a creative examination and exploration of the topological subject of knot theory, and in particular the work of Clifford Hugh Dowker (1912-82) an eminent mathematician whose work is still studied today. “I find a poetic beauty in the mathematics I researched even though my understanding of the subject is virtually nil” said Bullock. “My final dissertation for my master’s degree examined the similarities in thought of mathematicians working in these areas and that of artists working in a more conceptual arena”.

In the lower ground floor space of the building there is an exhibition of some of Andy Bullock’s ‘knot variation’ paintings and photographs and a display of original handwritten manuscripts from Dowker’s personal archive alongside Andy's own sketchbooks, allowing an insight into the respective processes of mathematician and artist.

For further information:

Andy Bullock - @email - 07582 526957 -

Yulia Astasheva - @email

Sun, 20 Mar 2022

17:30 - 18:30

Bach, the Universe & Everything - The Mathematics of Decisions

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment & Sam Cohen
Further Information

Oxford Mathematics in partnership with Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment - Bach, the Universe & Everything

The Mathematics of Decisions
Sunday 20 March, 5:30-6.30pm
Mathematical Institute, OX2 6GG

The Science:
In this talk, Oxford Mathematics's Samuel Cohen asks: how do you make decisions today when you know things will change tomorrow?

The Music:
JS Bach: Liebster Jesu, mein Verlangen (Dearest Jesus, my Desire, BWV 32)
This Cantata is in the form of a dialogue. It reminds us of what we have lost and what we can find.  

JS Bach: Prelude, Freu dich sehr, o meine Seele (BWV Anh. II 52)
William Byrd: Christe qui lux es et dies
Tomaso Albinoni: Adagio from Oboe Concerto Op 9 No. 2

Tickets £15: Buy tickets here

Thu, 17 Feb 2022 19:30 -
Sat, 19 Feb 2022 19:30
North Mezz Circulation

The Axiom of Choice - a new play by Marcus du Sautoy SOLD OUT

Further Information

From the Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University comes the premiere of a ground-breaking new play: The Axiom of Choice.

Join eminent mathematician Andre Weil and his fictional creation Bourbaki, on their journey from zero via France, India and Finland to the edge of infinity, as they try to make sense of whether we really have free will or if our choices are pre-determined. 

Imprisoned in Rouen during the Second World War, our hero, Weil, faces a choice that will determine his fate. And yet his final decision just doesn’t make sense. Bourbaki are here to solve this equation, recreate their creator and offer a proof to the problem. Life, they believe, is like a mathematical theorem made up of interconnected logical strands. But does a life always add up?

Written & Directed by Marcus du Sautoy 
Co-Directed by Lu Curtis
Produced by Claire Gilbert Ltd. 
Supported by Dangor Education, Stage One Bursary Scheme for New Producers & Charles and Lisa Simonyi Fund for Arts and Sciences

Thursday 17 February 7.30pm
Friday 18 February 7.30pm + Post Show discussion 
Saturday 19 February 2pm & 7.30pm 
Tickets: £10 
Concessions: £5
Mathematical Institute, Woodstock Road, Oxford, OX2 6GG

60 minutes, no interval. Book your tickets here

Wed, 02 Feb 2022

Castalian String Quartet - Mozart & Mendelssohn

Further Information

As part of our partnership with the Faculty of Music in Oxford, we are delighted to welcome the Castalian String Quartet to the Andrew Wiles Building. The  Quartet holds the Hans Keller String Quartet Residency at the Faculty of Music for the academic years 2021-24.

Mozart - String Quartet No. 15 in D minor, K. 421

Fanny Mendelssohn - String Quartet in E flat major


Felix Mendelssohn – String Quartet No. 6 in F minor, Op. 80

The Castalian String Quartet presents a programme of three string quartets from Viennese composers. Starting with one of Mozart's quartet tributes to Haydn, his String Quartet No. 15 in D minor; this is followed by one of the earliest known string quartets written by a woman composer, Fanny Mendelssohn's String Quartet in E flat major; and ending with Felix Mendelssohn’s final String Quartet, his last major work, powerful and tempestuous.

The concert will be preceded by a talk by Dr Sebastian Wedler at 6.30pm. The concert will start at 7.30pm.

Mathematical Institute, Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6GG.

Tickets £15, free entry for all under 21s. Book tickets here.

[[{"fid":"64700","view_mode":"media_397x223","fields":{"class":"media-element file-small-image-100px-h","data-delta":"1","format":"media_397x223","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"class":"media-element file-small-image-100px-h","data-delta":"1","format":"media_397x223","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-media-397x223","data-delta":"1"}}]]


Sun, 30 Jan 2022

17:30 - 18:30

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Tim Harford - Schooled by Randomness

Tim Harford
((Oxford University))
Further Information

Oxford Mathematics in partnership with Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment: Bach, the Universe & Everything

Schooled by Randomness
Sunday 30 January 2022, 5:30-6.30pm
Mathematical Institute, Woodstock Road, OX2 6GG

The Science: Tim Harford
There’s been a mistake. The venue has provided the wrong piano. The black notes are sticking, the white notes are out of tune, the pedals don’t work and the instrument itself is just too small. What do you do? Tim Harford talks about how random obstacles and frustrations can inspire us to be more creative.

The Music: J.S. Bach
BWV 81 Jesus schläft, was soll ich hoffen? (Jesus sleeps, what shall I hope for?). Today’s cantata draws upon those moments in life when confusing and random obstacles in our path make us fear for the future and we need to be shown a way out.

Bach, the Universe & Everything is a collaborative music and maths event between Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Oxford Mathematics. Through a series of thought-provoking Bach cantatas, readings and talks from leading Oxford thinkers, we seek to create a community similar to the one that Bach enjoyed in Leipzig until 1750.

Buy tickets here (£15)

Sun, 21 Nov 2021

17:30 - 18:30

Oxford Mathematics and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment: Bach, the Universe & Everything - Can you hear the shape of a drum?

Jon Chapman
((Oxford University))
Further Information

Can you hear the shape of a drum? 

Discover the answer to this pressing question and more in the new series of Bach, the Universe & Everything. This secular Sunday series is a collaborative music and maths event between the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Oxford Mathematics. Through a series of thought-provoking Bach cantatas, readings and talks from leading Oxford thinkers, we seek to create a community similar to the one that Bach enjoyed in Leipzig until 1750.

Book tickets here: £15


Thu, 27 Feb 2020

17:00 - 18:30

Hidden histories: Oxford’s female computing pioneers

Ursula Martin, Georgina Ferry and Panel
(University of Oxford)
Further Information

Join us in Oxford Mathematics on 27th February 2020 for a talk and discussion celebrating the Bodleian Libraries' release of interviews by Georgina Ferry of some of Oxford’s female computing pioneers.

Some remarkable women shaped Oxford computing: Dorothy Hodgkin won the Nobel Prize for work on insulin; Susan Hockey pioneered digital humanities; Shirley Carter, Linda Hayes and Joan Walsh got the pioneering software company NAG off the ground in 1970; and female operators and programmers were at the heart of the early large-scale computing efforts powering 20th-century science.

4.30pm: Welcome tea
5.00pm: Professor June Barrow-Green - Hidden histories: Oxford’s female computing pioneers
5.45pm: Panel discussion chaired by science writer Georgina Ferry and featuring some of the the pioneers themselves

No need to register.

Sun, 23 Feb 2020

17:30 - 18:30

Bach, the Universe and Everything - The Beauty of Mathematics SOLD OUT

Vicky Neale and The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Further Information

Bach, the Universe and Everything is a partnership between Oxford Mathematics, Music at Oxford and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment where we put on our very own Sunday service for curious minds; a place where music and science rub shoulders. And a place where you get to join in.

The Science
You’ve heard that some people find mathematics as beautiful as Bach’s music, but you’re not really sure why. Dr Vicky Neale is here to convince you it is, as she explores the intoxicating mysteries of prime numbers and how they push the limits of human understanding.

The Music
BWV 196 is one of Bach’s first cantatas, written when he was in his early twenties for a friend’s wedding. It features a striking soprano aria, and an overall theme of ‘partnership’, with two factions of instruments uniting to become one.

Book here

Tue, 10 Dec 2019 09:00 -
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 18:00
South Mezz Circulation

The Penrose Proofs: an exhibition of Roger Penrose’s Scientific Drawings 1-6

Roger Penrose
(University of Oxford)
Further Information

As you might expect from a man whose family included the Surrealist artist Roland Penrose, Roger Penrose has always thought visually. That thinking is captured brilliantly in this selection of Roger’s drawings that he produced for his published works and papers.

From quasi-symmetric patterns to graphic illustrations of the paradoxical three versions of reality via twistor theory and the brain, this selection captures the stunning range of Roger’s scientific work and the visual thinking that inspires and describes it.

Mezzanine Level
Mathematical Institute

10 December 2019- 31 March 2020

[[{"fid":"56998","view_mode":"media_397x223","fields":{"format":"media_397x223","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"media_397x223","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-media-397x223","data-delta":"1"}}]]

Sun, 01 Dec 2019

17:30 - 18:30

Bach, the Universe and Everything - The Creativity Code

Marcus du Sautoy and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
((Oxford University))
Further Information

The second in our fascinating collaboration with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (OAE) and Music at Oxford combines the muscial intelligence of the eighteenth century with the artificial intelligence of the twenty-first. Come along and hear the beauty of Bach's Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland (Now come, Saviour of the Gentiles) and the modern beauty of machine learning which may itself be the musical choice of audiences in 300 years' time.

The OAE provide the music (you even get to join in), Marcus delivers the sermon. Maths and Music; saying everything.

Book here

Mon, 18 Nov 2019

18:45 - 19:45

Applied Pure at the Mathematical Institute, Oxford: Music & Light Symbiosis no.3 - An Art Exhibition and a Light & Music Concert

Medea Bindewald & Katharine Beaugié
Further Information

An Art Exhibition and a Light & Music Concert

Katharine Beaugié - Light Sculpture
Medea Bindewald - Harpsichord
Curated by Balázs Szendrői

Concert: 18 November, 6.45pm followed by a reception
Exhibition: 18th November – 6th December 2019, Mon-Fri, 8am-6pm

Applied Pure is a unique collaboration between light sculptor Katharine Beaugié and international concert harpsichordist Medea Bindewald, combining the patterns made by water and light with the sound of harpsichord music in a mathematical environment.

Katharine Beaugié will also be exhibiting a new series of large-scale photograms (photographic shadows), displaying the patterns of the natural phenomena of human relationship with water and light.

The Programme of music for harpsichord and water includes the composers: Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757), Johann Jakob Froberger (1616-1667), Enno Kastens (b 1967) and Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750).

For more information about the concert and exhibition which is FREE please click this link

Image of Drop | God 2018

[[{"fid":"56134","view_mode":"media_square","fields":{"format":"media_square","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"media_square","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"attributes":{"style":"height: 300px; width: 300px;","class":"media-element file-media-square","data-delta":"1"}}]]