My memories of Vicky

Photo of VickyVicky Neale, our much loved colleague and inspiration to so many, died on Wednesday 3 May. If you would like to share your memories of Vicky, please use the link below.

You can also visit our social media channels where many people have shared their thoughts and demonstrated just what an impact Vicky had on people's lives, mathematical and beyond.

Thank you for all the messages below.

Share your memories

Barney Maunder-Taylor
Vicky was a fantastic human being. So full of wisdom, energy, so encouraging and giving to her legions of maths students, and of course blessed with that incredible intellect and her knack for communicating complicated mathematical concepts. I learned so much from Vicky and was privileged to consider her a friend as well as a mathematician. I can still picture Vicky now saying "I'm not going to prove that but I can give you a flavour of the proof" and you knew every time you read those words that you were in for a real treat. Her loss is very sad for Balliol, for maths and for us all who knew her.
Louise McMillan
I was very sad to hear of Vicky's passing at such a young age, especially after she wrote so movingly about Maryam Mirzakhani's similarly young death. I was another female maths student in Vicky's year during our undergrad days, and as about 30% of the year were female but relatively fewer females tended to be bold enough to sit in the front at lectures and ask questions, I bumped into Vicky a lot. I fondly remember her delightfully vivid taste in trousers. Then last year I heard her snippet on an episode of the Curious Cases of Rutherford and Fry, and her voice was so familiar... It's wonderful at least that she was able to teach, support and encourage so many students before she died.
Josie Smith
Thank you Vicky.

You were my Director of Studies at Cambridge, and have taught me so much. Your patience and enthusiasm helped me through many difficult problem sheets, and helped drive my love for mathematics. It is difficult to imagine what my time at uni would have been like without you, and I will forever have a little virtual Vicky pop up in my head whenever I am doing maths, correcting and encouraging me.

First and foremost though, I will be forever grateful to you for sifting through my STEP exams, and inviting me to interview even though I did terribly!

It seems such a waste of a life with incredible potential, for you to die so young.
Thomas Forster
Vicky was never my student, tho' she did come to some of my Part III lectures. I think she was the only person ever to be a director of studies (at New Hall) while still a Ph.D. student. Probably against the rules, but New Hall knew a good thing when they saw one. I remember Sally Lowe, our long-term departmental administrator at DPMMS here in Cambridge, pointing to Vicky and saying "that girl is going to be a Vice-Chancellor one day''. I think Vicky's destiny as a future ruler of the universe was clear to many of us at that time; she was certainly spoken of in those terms. She had a rare talent for getting people to do things that they really didn't want to do, and to achieve it without actually annoying them.

When the university announced that there would be an interdepartmental University Challenge style contest to celebrate the 800th anniversary, naturally the spaced-out mathmos completely ignored it. Vicky, however, thought otherwise, and decided that DPMMS was going to put in a team, and she organised auditions. I didn't go, but a friend of mine told her "you want Thomas Forster - he has more miscellaneous rubbish in his head than anyone else I know'', so Vicky tracked me down and made me sit the test she had devised. So it came that I was put on the team. Vicky organised rehearsals, made us go to pub quizzes and generally kept us on our toes. And then we won!! It was particularly satisfying to despatch the Applied mathematicians. The historians were scary, as was the University Library team (they know even more miscellaneous rubbish than I do). The winners then took on a team of alumni at the 800th garden party and trounced them. Stephen Fry said that the alumni team had decided by five minutes into the contest that their target was to get at least half as many points as DPMMS did. Mathmos rule OK!

After that she rather let the side down by bunking off to The Other Place. When I chided her for this she said "They offered me my dream job''. And now she is no longer there either. A terrible loss; so talented, energetic and companionable. Someone who made things happen. Perhaps the Gods will send us another one like her to try to make amends for taking her from us. Let us not despair.
M Hussain
How tragic... she gave so much in her lifetime and plainly had so much more to give... life is beyond cruel sometimes... to those who can make it happen I say please continue to keep her memory alive and allow the memory of her to endure and to withstand the test of time... 39 years old is no age.
Cathy Shaw
we are shocked and saddened to hear of the death of the marvellous Vicky Neale. what a huge loss. My daughter Isobella and I and the honour of attending one of her lectures at the Oxford open day in 2022. she was truly inspirational, mesmeric, passionate and human. I drew sketches of her whilst my daughter solved the equation she proffered. Our love goes out to her family, friends, colleagues and students. rest in peace Vicky xx
Alice Bateman
I have just heard about Vicky's death on Radio 4's More Or Less programme. I am not a mathematician and never met Vicky but did attend her online lecture on prime numbers and the Twin Primes Conjecture, which was the first of a series on a range of subjects organised by Balliol during lockdown in the spring of 2020. Vicky's lecture was perfectly pitched at an audience that included a lot of non-specialists and was hugely interesting and stimulating. And I loved her prime numbers scarf! It is sad when anyone is taken so young and particularly when, like Vicky, they had so much still to give. My condolences to her family, friends and colleagues.
Hayley Horne (Compton)
I was luckily enough to go to school with Vicky, primary and secondary. Even then as a small child you knew you were in the presence of greatness. Her intelligence and brilliance were obvious. I remember doing a project together when we were about 9, creating a map of a fairy tale land and having a discussion about the economics of the town and in particular how the blacksmith would be a thriving business! I hadn't seen her since school and had recently looked her up to see if she was doing something amazing with her life and changing peoples lives; I was thrilled to see that she was sharing her love of mathematics with her students and making a difference with her work. I'm so sorry to hear that she's died but glad that she's left a legacy and she'll be remembered for how wonderful she was.
Olivia Weiner
I first heard about Vicky Neale when I bought her book "Closing the Gap" for my personal statement last year. I was lucky enough to meet Vicky back in April 2022 at the open day when she signed my copy of the book. Her infectious passion for number theory inspired me to research further and her work represents a large part of my personal statement which helped me into many top universities. When I start my degree in September, she will continue to inspire me and I will never forget how much she has helped shape my passion for pure maths and I'm sure that there are so many other sixth form and university students who have also been inspired by her outstanding work.
Beth Thomas
Vicky has been a huge inspiration to me for many years. I first met her at various outreach events while I was in sixth form and considering whether or not to pursue maths. Her engaging presentation style made me realise that maths could be fun, inspiring and was not a field exclusively dominated by men.

Vicky was the reason I applied to Balliol, and I subsequently had many excellent tutorials and lectures from her. She cared so much for her students - after maths classes in Balliol she’d take us all to the Balliol buttery for a drink and a chat. During my second year she started a routine of going on Thursday afternoon walks around Oxford which her students could join in with and I joined her each week I could, sometimes it was just me, sometimes other students too. I had such lovely times on these walks, discovering areas of Oxford I hadn’t seen before (Vicky showed me the Mesopotamia walk, one of her favourites in Oxford). We discussed everything from maths, to maths outreach, to crochet to nature facts of which Vicky had many.

Vicky played such a fundamental role in my maths journey and time at university and lessons she has taught me will live on with me for life.
Jessica Spencer
Vicky Neale was an inspiration and role model for me, not just as a teacher but also as a champion of equal access to maths education. We only overlapped at Oxford for one year, 2014-15, but her down-to-earth manner and excellent teaching made a deep impression. I was in her class for Graph Theory and remember it as one of the highlights of my week. She was also a huge support and source of advice in setting up the Mirzakhani Society, of which she was the senior member.

In the days since she died, I've been thinking a lot about this quote from her, which speaks to what I'm trying to do with my life: "One of the challenges of mathematics is that tackling more sophisticated problems often means first tackling more sophisticated terminology and notation. I cannot find a piece of mathematics beautiful unless I first understand it properly – and that means it can take a while for me to appreciate the aesthetic qualities. I don’t think this is unique to mathematics. There are pieces of music, buildings, pieces of visual art where I have not at first appreciated their beauty or elegance – and it is only by persevering, by grappling with the ideas, that I have come to perceive the beauty."

May her memory be a blessing.
Sam Field
I've known many people with a love of mathematics, but none with the same passion Vicky had for sharing this love with others. I was lucky enough to be tutored by Vicky at Balliol College. She had an incredible understanding of the way mathematics is learned, and always had ways of explaining the most complex concepts that not only made them seem simple, but also revealed the beauty and fascination in each theorem and proof. I had uncountable "Oh, I get it now!" moments in her tutorials and lectures. Her skill, empathy and sense of humour made learning mathematics a joy.

But the parts of Vicky that had the biggest effect on me had nothing to do with mathematics: her kindness and warmth were unparalleled, and I think I speak for many of her students in saying she was a huge factor in making me feel settled in an unfamiliar environment when I started my university studies. She was a trusted source of advice and support who I always felt like I could come to with any problem.

I feel so lucky to have known Vicky and had so many interactions with her. She will be missed by Balliol, the world of mathematics and everyone who knows her.
Aleksandra-Sasa Bozovic
Dear Vicky,

I have first met you when I participated in PROMYS Europe, where you were one of the organisers. I remember attending several of your graph theory lectures, which began with the iconic phrase “it’s graph theory o’clock” and talking to you about crosswords at Bletchley Park. My time at PROMYS had inspired me to apply to study mathematics at Oxford, and I chose to apply to Balliol College, not knowing that you were a tutor there. I remember your interview with me, and how you led me to finding the solutions to the problems I was given. My application was successful in the end, and you became my personal tutor at Balliol. Your lectures were clear and interesting, and your tutorials and classes were very helpful and engaging. You brought much energy and enthusiasm to all your teaching, used many memorable and vivid examples and analogies to bring the material closer to us, and gave us bonus questions which led us to expand our thinking beyond the limits of the courses. Aside from the mathematics itself, you taught us how to work together with each other on mathematical problems, and how to present mathematical ideas in a concise and interesting way.

You were far removed from the stereotypical stuffy and formal image of an Oxford professor, and I remember little things such as your cats intruding in the online classes, the crocheted hedgehogs in your office, and you arriving to our exams in a more casual blue outfit as opposed to the formal attire of the other examiners. You organised many fun activities for the students at Balliol, such as your weekly walks through the parks and meadows of Oxford, which I attended as often as possible before the pandemic. I remember learning about the various birds and flowers in the parks from you, and hearing about your other work in mathematical teaching and outreach. As a personal tutor, you were always warm, caring and approachable, and I could always turn to you for support with applications, exam practice or my general wellbeing, especially during the most stressful times during the pandemic. You advised me about my applications for graduate study, and I am currently studying at a PhD programme which you recommended to me.

I will miss you greatly and always be grateful for the impact your presence in my life has made on my development as a mathematician and a person, and the joy and love for mathematics you brought to your teaching will always be an inspiration to me.
Bojana Bozovic
I feel a need to express my great sorrow over the untimely passing of our dear Professor Vicky Neale.

Not only has she touched the life of my daughter Aleksandra-Saša, but she has shaped and directed it when it was most needed.

In 2017, Aleksandra participated in the PROMYS Europe programme, which inspired her to apply to a course in Mathematics at the University of Oxford. In her application, she chose Balliol College, not knowing that it was the very college where Vicky was a tutor.

Vicky became her personal tutor, who guided her during her four-year course, and had a strong influence not only on her mathematical development, but also her personal growth.

Vicky also suggested to Aleksandra to apply to the London School of Geometry and Number Theory, where she is currently studying for a PhD, and wrote letters of recommendation for her other applications for graduate study.

Last year I had the honour of meeting Vicky and thanking her in person for everything she had done for my daughter, and I am grateful to have had this opportunity.
It was a great privilege to know that Aleksandra could turn to Vicky for her advice and assistance in any situation she faced.

She will always live on in our hearts and memories, and we are grateful and proud that she was a part of our lives.
Elena Lombardi
I am a colleague of Vicky’s at Balliol College. I still remember fondly Vicky’s openness, kindness, and wisdom in college meetings, how fun it was to meet her at lunch and hear her talk about so many different things and all the skills that she had. I still remember the exciting online lecture she gave in April 2020 during Covid for the Balliol community: it was entitled ‘Closing the Gap: The Quest to Understand Prime Numbers’: it was so engaging that it made even people like me, who are a bit shy about science and especially mathematics, forget out fears and enjoy maths. I cannot believe she is no longer with us.
Ella Caulfield
My first recollection of Vicky was her giving a sample lecture at an open day I attended in 2017, I remember her style being engaging, and the content she spoke of was exactly the type of maths that I thought I wanted to explore further, and indeed I’ve now covered that content in the third year Number theory course. Between that open day and my application to Oxford I watched a number of lectures on YouTube, many given by Vicky, where she displayed the same skill of engaging the audience and teaching.

Although my application to Balliol College had nothing to do with the fact that Vicky was a tutor there, I was so glad to discover this when I got to interviews And did feel a little starstruck when being interviewed by Vicky, who was great at putting me at ease and also adapting to my additional accessibility needs. The one regret I do have about not getting into Balliol is that I missed out on having Vicky as a tutor for my first two years at Oxford.

Vicky did lecture the Linear Algebra and Groups courses in my first year however, and once again displayed her amazing talent at lecturing, she was able to remember and manipulate large matrices and sets of linear equations, make jokes and tell anecdotes, in short, keep us all engaged and kind of comfortable, despite perhaps feeling quite overwhelmed. Vicky also went an extra step for me when some additional accessibility arrangements were recommended, she was the only one of my first year lecturers to do so, so she rows in my esteem even more!

I was lucky enough to get into The Graph Theory class in my third year tutored by Vicky, even the baseline of her teaching was amazing, but once again she went the extra step for me by producing physical models that I could feel and manipulate so that I could also get the full picture of a Concept we were discussing.
Vicky has been an inspiration, she was an excellent teacher and cared about the experience of her students, particularly going to additional effort to make sure that her teaching was accessible and fun. Her enthusiasm for all the outreach programs that Oxford run also made her a role model for me, as through her and others’ examples, I know that encouraging participation in mathematics and university level mathematics is what I wish to do.

It was a huge shock to hear of Vicky‘s death, I am sad that I will no longer get to experience her teaching, or get to know her further through outreach activities, but I am determined to follow her example as a woman in mathematics, to achieve as much as possible and hopefully encourage future generations of undergraduates through outreach activities.

Vicky, you are a legend, and you will be sincerely missed X
Lisa Pollard
Vicky and I crossed paths a number of times and we shared a love for the work of Mary Everest Boole and curve stitching. I was a pleasure to work with Vicky and to host her at our Boolean Maths Hub conferences, and our roles with MESME maths circles. Her enthusiasm and passion in inspiring future generations to love mathematics will be missed.
Diana Mocanu
I met Vicky in my first undergraduate year, as she was teaching the Groups and Group Actions course and I immediately grew fond of her teaching style and passion for the subject. Since then, she continued to be an inspiration to me. I didn’t miss any occasion to attend her talks or speeches throughout the Maths Institute. I was lucky enough to have dined with her before one of the Invariants talks she gave, and I got to know her kind personality and admired her even more. Her book, “Closing the Gap”, inspired me to pursue a career in Number Theory.

The news of her passing away unspeakably sadden me and I am convinced she will be missed in the department. I find peace in the thought that she will never be forgotten by the many people she inspired throughout her life.
Shati Patel
I haven't interacted with Vicky for a number of years, but the news of her passing still hit hard...

I enjoyed having Vicky as a lecturer, and later as a class tutor. She was passionate and inspirational and I learned a lot through her joke-y and fun teaching style. Not just in a purely mathematical sense, but also how to communicate and teach maths to others.

I also shared her passion for origami and mathematical arts and crafts. I have fond memories of working with her during arts and crafts sessions at the Oxford Maths Festivals.

Thank you, Vicky, for everything you've done. We miss you ♥
Jennifer Rogers
There’s one word that comes to mind when I think of Vicky. And that’s inspiration. Vicky was committed to inspiring the next generation of mathematicians and I was always in awe of her passion for it. She was a true role model and someone to aspire to. Fiercely intelligent and also just the loveliest person to be around. I loved doing events with her, her enthusiasm was infectious. She will a huge loss to the mathematics world and an incredibly huge loss to the public engagement world. Our profession needs more Vickys.
Ben Solomons
Seeing Vicky Neale would be teaching us for Analysis I, and recognising her and her voice from countless BMO solution videos felt like learning from a celebrity. While Analysis I had the potential to be a horribly daunting subject to students new to university maths, Vicky taught with fantastic energy and humour, and made everything easy. The dedication and planning she put into her lectures shone through. She'd disassembled a lamp just so she could get better lighting for her diagrams, with which she managed to make even the most foreign concepts intuitive. She told the most absurd stories, tigers on Broad Street, a shady functions dealer, who was an "unscrupulous individual" for selling you a function without a domain and codomain, and her tales of the 'evil opponent' picking epsilon! She spent hours adding perfect captioning to her lecture videos, responded in detail to all the feedback she received, and worked tirelessly to deliver lectures of the highest quality, which brightened your day to watch. We have lost someone truly special.
Helen Byrne
Dear Vicky

You've helped so many people, in so many ways, it's impossible to do you justice in a few short words.

On EDI committees, you challenged me when I needed to be challenged, but you also supported me when I needed it.

Your ability to find real-world analogies to explain complex mathematical concepts never ceased to amaze me.

And, finally, for putting me at ease when we recorded our cancer podcast, I thank you.

You are sadly missed.

May you rest in peace

Adam Cutts
Vicky was someone who really cared about making other people understand and enjoy maths. In our tutorials, she was always passionate about getting to the very root of what we didn't understand. She really did have a psychic ability to work out when you didn't understand a tricky idea, but were just nodding along, hoping to get away from the scary abstract algebra as quickly as possible. There was nowhere to hide! But she undid the fear of the hard maths, by showing everyone that with enough patience, every detail could be worked out. She gave you confidence in your own ability. This was true at every level, from the general public outreach she did, to the open days at the Maths Institute, to the tutorials we had at Balliol. She was a gift to teaching and I will dearly miss her as a tutor.
Jane Taylor
I was lucky enough to work with Vicky on many occasions and was always struck by how generously and enthusiastically she would volunteer her time to supporting the various projects I was involved in. Vicky was always one of the first people I would call upon whenever I set out on a new project to improve students learning experiences, not just because I knew that it was an issue about which Vicky cared deeply, but also because she would always open up new ways of thinking about what ever question it was that we were trying to answer. She never did things by halves and when she volunteered to contribute to a project I knew she would have read everything down to the last detail and would have so much valuable feedback to pass on. In her feedback, she was never afraid to challenge and question, and she did so with consideration and kindness. I feel very fortunate to have had so many thoughtful and enjoyable conversations with Vicky about teaching and learning. It is so saddening to know that we won’t have any more of these conversations or opportunities to work together, and that is such a huge loss to so many.
Peter Ransom
I got to know Vicky well when we were both on the London Mathematical Society's Education Committee in the 2010s, where it transpired that as a teenager she had attended one of the Saturday morning mathematics masterclass I'd given in the 1990s. Her wit, wisdom and good advice at meetings were greatly appreciated. Our paths continued to cross over the years at the LMS and at The Mathematical Association's annual conferences. She gave a stunning and entertaining after dinner talk at the MA's Annual Conference in Oxford in 2016 on twin primes. She inspired so many mathematicians of all ages, giving talks at UKMT masterclasses for 13/14 year olds and sessions for student mathematics teachers. In 2021 I bought some oboe and cor anglais reeds on eBay and what a surprise! It was Vicky who sold them to me, so we had a good e-chat about the merits of playing the cor anglais. What an amazing person she was with hidden talents.
Lilly Hong
Though I was never formally taught by Vicky, I recall the buzz around L1 in the minutes leading up to what would have been her first lecture for Analysis I 2022-2023. Even us freshers knew her to be a phenomenal and enthusiastic lecturer!

Before coming to Oxford, I recall watching her YouTube videos and feeding off her infectious love for mathematics. What struck me was how she would often ‘gamify’ maths to simplify otherwise complex concepts. Her passion, both for mathematics and teaching, really came through in that regard.

Hearing of her passing surprisingly shocked me, but her legacy clearly lives on. I hope to embody the love of mathematics that she so greatly had and equally inspire others to get involved.
Rachel Massey-Chase
I was at secondary school with Vicky and her love of maths was fundamental to her identity from such an early age. We were part of a public speaking team together and her chosen topic for the speech was maths (starting off the speech in German to make the point that to many people maths is like a foreign language). She wanted to share her passion with others and was incredibly skilled at making the subject accessible and relevant even to non mathematicians. I am so pleased that she had such a fantastic career in the subject that she loved and it is wonderful to hear how many lives she touched and inspired. It is clear that she will be missed by many and that she leaves a legacy of inspiration to young mathematicians.
Joo-Hyun Kim
I remember Vicky as the one who helped me survive the pure modules in the first and second year. When I asked questions, instead of giving straight answers, she would often ask questions back in the way that guided me into answering my own questions.

Truly she was one of the best educators and inspirations. Thank you Vicky.
Yuan Yuan Zheng
Vicky was my supervisor for first year Probability and second year Complex Analysis, when she was still a PhD student. I was struggling with Complex Analysis. Vicky generously regraded a long example sheet which I redid after doing the readings she recommended. It’s a book I still carry with me after numerous moves.

I was in fact struggling with Maths overall, and started art school application in my second year of undergraduate Maths. Luckily Vicky was the Number theory lecturer in my third year. Those lectures are still the best I have ever had. Although not a member of Murray Edwards College, I started participating in the weekly maths quizzes and the maths crafts at the college, all organized by Vicky.

The experience converted me back to Maths, encouraged me to get more involved in maths events, and eventually convinced me to continue for Part III and a PhD.

On a sunny afternoon during my PhD, I suddenly remembered a silly probability question I asked Vicky in a first-year supervision. Vicky left it as an exercise for me, without answering it. By the time I remembered it again, the answer was obvious. Everything seemed to be much easier after a few years in the field. But Vicky was always humble when explaining her thoughts. From her I learnt how to take one step at a time and start from easy examples when tackling a hard problem, which I am benefiting until today.

Thank you, Vicky. We will miss you very much.
Waldemar Schlackow
I first met Vicky at the Young Researchers in Mathematics conference in 2009 in Cambridge, though I didn't really get to know her until she started at Maths in Oxford. Our initial interactions with Vicky were through my IT work where her requests were always pleasantly accurate, always very friendly yet determined and constantly in the spirit of collaboration of trying to resolve an individual or systemic issue. Vicky always spotted if something that affected her may also affect others and always tried to resolve the issues she was experiencing for others.

I then had the privilege of working very closely with Vicky over the pandemic to create hybrid teaching concepts and docs which had to be done very quickly when the pandemic suddenly hit. Vicky always did everything with such a passion be it recording videos, creating pictures, coming up with creative new ideas (streaming handwritten lectures by balancing a phone on a pile of books was a great hit). Vicky also was a very strong driving force behind creating the most user friendly and yet feature rich VLE for the department and she always considered the issues that were important to students, faculty and staff. She was always very understanding of the issues of the various groups constantly trying to improve on her ideas.

Whilst working with her, I got to regularly see her cats on the screen, which she was very fond of, and talk to her about fun maths things, such as Vicky's mathematical knitting. Later my kids also got to experience her passion, ideas and friendly guidance at the various MathsFest events where she would, as usual, dedicate a lot of her time to promote mathematics to kids of all ages.

When teaching Mathematics, I was lucky to teach some of the courses that Vicky designed and lectured, and whenever she took on a new course, she would rework the notes and problem sheets meticulously typing everything up and also providing extremely detailed solutions to tutors often with multiple ways to solve a problem. Vicky's materials were of such a high quality that as far as I can see most if not all are still in use long after she stopped lecturing the course. My students were also always very complimentary of her teaching.

I will very much miss working with and talking to Vicky. She was such a humble and witty person and at the same time she was extremely professional, well organised and very smart. She managed to retain all those qualities throughout her illness, when she continued working tirelessly and volunteering whenever she could, which must have been so very hard. Vicky very strongly touched mine and my family's life and I will always remember her and try and learn from her as best I can.

Vicky is such a very sad loss to all of us and to all of mathematics.
Dan Abramson
I first heard about Vicky from a colleague at King's Maths School, who described her as a much-loved and brilliant teacher and tutor. Our students have been lucky enough to be welcomed by her at Oxford several times, always with a fascinating mathematical talk/activity which opened their minds to the wonders of number theory. Those who have attended PROMYS Europe have returned with their passion for mathematics (alongside their knowledge and understanding) multiplied. Her dedication, insight and care is second to none, and I've come to see this through the many conversations we've had discussing MESME's maths circles, which have thrived through her work as an early supporter and Trustee. Vicky's love for mathematics was infectious. Her warmth, kindness, curiosity and professionalism will be sorely missed. May her memory be an inspiration to us all.
Alexander Gordon
My interactions with Vicky were almost exclusively in the context of the department's Good Practice/EDI committee, where I think we all benefited from her contributions to make the department a pleasanter and more equitable place to work and to study. I particularly valued her work (with Chris Hollings) on diversifying the mathematics curriculum and her work (with Jenni Ingram and Ursula Martin) to examine how interactions between various background characteristics impact attainment outcomes for students. Whilst neither of these issues might now be said to be resolved, Vicky made material progress to move the department in the right direction. I am sorry that we will no longer enjoy her generosity of spirit, but am grateful for her gift of it when she was here.
Auri Guarino
I found Vicky a real inspiration in school. Her online lectures and open day talks made maths seem so exciting and accessible – a feeling that I was not able to get from school. This motivated me to apply to Balliol and, after a (really quite fun) interview with Vicky where we discussed a problem involving bugs of different colours colliding, I was very fortunate to be accepted to Balliol. Vicky was a brilliant tutor – the benchmark for what an educator should be. She made every problem clear and accessible, and had a remarkable knack for figuring out what exactly is the core of my confusion and clearing it up. She was always on hand to receive questions outside of tutorials (whether through emails or office hours) and went far out of her way to answer them (including giving extra problems, hints, and offering one-on-one calls to clear things up if needed). I must add that Vicky was also an incredibly kind and thoughtful person who really cared about her students. Vicky’s enthusiasm, love for maths and education, and her calm and kind nature continue to inspire me today.
Drummond Bone
Very hard to believe such a wonderful colleague is no longer with us.
Otilia Casuneanu
Vicky was a true inspiration as a lecturer and as a tutor. Her dedication to teaching and mathematics changed the course of life for better for so many people, among which I am lucky to be. As a student at Balliol, the Vicky walk was one of my favourite moments of the week as Vicky would manage to lift up my spirits even in the most stressful times. Her energy and general good spirits were so contagious. She was such a great mentor and, dare I say, friend. She will be truly missed!
Rebecca Crossley
Nearly all of my interactions with Vicky were through outreach and teaching events in Oxford. She was always an excellent role model, promoter of women in maths, and so inclusive of everyone. Vicky encouraged many younger students, including myself, to keep pursuing maths and share our knowledge with a wider and younger audience wherever possible. She always had time for the individual, and in doing so, taught me so much about how to teach, amongst other things, right to the end, without ever once complaining. Truly a wonderful person, and an inspiration to many - she will be sorely missed! Thank you, Vicky. Rest in Peace.
Isabella Done
Thank you Vicky for teaching me Analysis I. I will never forget your passion and rigour in teaching the subject. A particular favourite of mine was the way you explained the scenic viewpoint theorem. I owe a lot to you.
Philip Maini
I will never forget the last time I saw Vicky - it was for the cancer podcast series she did. I was very nervous about it but she made me feel so comfortable and it ended up being a really enjoyable chat. It speaks volumes about her incredible strength that she could talk so freely (and with a smile) about a disease that was threatening her.

Vicky was a true role model - she was someone who passionately cared about mathematics and education, and fully devoted herself to helping others and, in doing so, positively impacted so many people. She will live on in our hearts and minds.
Feiyang Shi
Vicky is definitely the first Oxford mathematician I ever met, it was back in secondary school when I was practicing for BMOs. At that time, number theory was a nightmare to me, even today, and Vicky did all the solution videos for the BMO number theory questions. So I have to admit that I was first scared by her totally because of number theory. But at that time, I had the privilege to take a lecture by Vicky on some content I cannot recall, but I had the only chance to talk to her, about how to prepare for BMOs, although her answer was quite genuine, something like the best way to prepare is to do more past papers, but that seems so precious today.

When I was at UNIQ summer school, fortunately, I met Vicky again, and unfortunately, she brought more content for number theory. Nonetheless, Vicky is a great lecturer, and her cat is so cute! And later on, it might be because of her, I decided ox over cam. Analysis One was definitely the best course in MT21, purely due to the fact Vicky is such a wonderful lecturer, and this time, I didn't get scared by her, I still think that analysis is my favorite course in the first year.

How I wish I could have her as a lecturer more often, How I wish I could ask some more interesting questions back then. Upon writing, it was truly a great sorrow to me, and to everyone in the math department. May her rest in peace.
Siddharth Unnithan Kumar
Vicky taught me group theory during the first year of my undergraduate studies. Her passion and energy still ring clearly in my ears, and her down-to-earth spirit made a big impression on me. She embodied the art of making abstract algebra tangible and meaningful. I'm deeply sad to hear of her passing, and as I now return to group theory in my work many years after attending her lectures, I am finding that so much of her teaching has stayed with me - a testament to her ability to teach and inspire others. My thanks to you Vicky, and go well.
Tudor-Ioan Caba
I first met Vicky as a a highschooler at PROMYS. I remember just how surreal it felt to be meeting her in real life after having seen the famous "Intro to complex numbers" lecture video. I've had the opportunity to have Vicky both as a lecturer as well as a leader twice when I was a PROMYS counselor, and not only was she such an AMAZING lecturer and mathematician, but she had this absolutely magic ability of coming up with the most sensible and reasonable solutions to absolutely. every. single. situation that ever came up. Vicky is my definition of what it means to be a leader and of what being truly passionate about your work looks like. She was a beacon that guided so many people towards pursuing maths - and I wouldn't have been where I am now had it not been for Vicky's encouragement. Thank you, Vicky!
Uzu Lim
I had an impression of Vicky as a passionate lecturer who was eager to spread the beauty of mathematics to the public. I talked to Vicky briefly whilst making annotations of her graph theory revision class. Her explanations were engaging and straightforward, and eagerly responded to requesting additional material from the class. Even though I didn't know her very well, the news is terribly sad because she was an icon for Oxford Mathematics. I hope we can remember her by spreading kindness and enthusiasm to people around us, mathematically or not.
Rosemary Walmsley
I'm so sorry to hear that Vicky Neale has passed away. I didn't know her very well, but she has been an inspiration to me for many years. I first heard her speak at an open day. Her talk was fantastic - I talked about it all the way home. She was a wonderful undergraduate lecturer, infectiously enthusiastic and scrupulously clear. But she also marked my time as an undergraduate in other ways. She organised summer research placements in the maths institute. Even though I was enjoying an undergraduate maths degree, I'd never considered maths research as a possibility. I remember an email from Vicky to all undergraduates. I don't remember what it said, but I remember vividly sitting in the maths institute and thinking for the first time "oh, I could do that" (I did, and later went on to do a DPhil). I interacted with Vicky most directly through outreach, and she was so inspiring. She lit up the room when talking about maths - any maths - and always made you remember the best bits. And she had time for everyone - whether it was helping a small child with a mathematical craft or explaining something sophisticated about prime numbers. She was so generous. And not just with the general public - one time I was helping at an outreach event with her, and we ended up talking about the undergraduate tutorials I was teaching at the time. I'd been struggling with finding extension materials, and she very generously sent me a selection of problems she used. (Incidentally, my students found her lectures just as great as I had done, coming into tutorials with enthusiastic demonstrations based on "Vicky Neale's methods".)

I am so sad for Vicky, for her family and friends, and for everyone who knew and was touched by her. In many ways I hardly knew her, but these small points at which she touched my life have had a profound influence. I have no doubt that there are many others in the same position, and that is a testament to the great mathematician, teacher, and most importantly person she was. I am so sad for the generations of students who will not know her and have the privilege of being taught by her. I will remember Vicky, her brilliance, her joy in maths, and her generosity - and will try to keep spreading that mathematical enthusiasm in the world.
Fryderyk Wiatrowski
I first encountered Vicky at PROMYS, and later, she became my lecturer and examiner during my undergraduate studies at Oxford. Vicky was an exceptional lecturer—always thoroughly prepared and well-organized. She was a true icon of Oxford Mathematics. Her linear algebra, group, and graph theory lectures at both Oxford and PROMYS stand as great examples of impeccable organization and profound understanding.
Daniel Gagliardi
From open days to interviews Vicky had a way to make to make the potentially terrifying always seem approachable, whether it was maths or going through the application process. Being a good teacher is rare and difficult, but she had a sixth sense for figuring out where and how you were stuck. She also motivated what we were learning, and provided fun "historical anecdotes" so we could get a sense of how the mathematics was built. She made mathematics as human as you could possibly want. She will be missed.
Manaul Hoque
I remember Vicky Neale's sessions in the 2016 UNIQ summer school, and I had the privilege of contuining to sit at her lectures in Prelims. If there was ever someone passionate about their field, it was her.

I, like many others apparently, have always remembered to obtain a "group-y feeling" when thinking about groups, as strongly as I get a "triangle-y feeling" when I think about triangles.

Such off-handed remarks resonated with many of us because through them, I believe, we learned from Vicky Neale the value of mathematical understanding and intuition. Everyone could learn, just by Vicky Neale's example, to value mathematics.
Katie Zhang
Vicky's endless enthusiasm and unparalleled ability to translate new Maths content into intuition and a sense of adventure has inspired me since a UNIQ summer school before I came to Oxford and during the Analysis 1 course in Prelims, and has stayed with me since. I'm incredibly grateful to her and will miss her very much.
Jesse Pajwani
Vicky was a genuinely fantastic lecturer, and I still remember her group theory lectures as being incredibly clear, interesting, and filled with so much passion. She made maths approachable and entertaining. I feel very lucky to have attended her lectures, and she's a huge loss for maths
Yuhan Jiang
During my very first week here, I was collared by a second-year student who overheard us talking about our timetable, telling me that I MUST go to Vicky's lectures because they were not only great lectures but actually a lot of fun and that everyone loved her (at which point a couple of people around chimed in agreement) but, anyway, to go to Vicky's lectures or I would most definitely be missing out.
Miroslav Marinov
Typical students at PROMYS Europe:

"How are we assigned to a roommate or to a counsellor?? Do the counsellors agree amongst themselves on who to pick?"

Me: "No. It is known as Vicky Neale Magic. In fact, I am sure that if you compare counsellor choices against Vicky's, at least 95% of the time she will perform better. This is one of many talents you shall see from her, the teaching skills are only just the beginning."
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