Popular Lectures

The London Mathematical Society Popular Lectures present exciting topics in mathematics (and its applications) to a wide audience. Each year, the LMS Popular Lectures feature two lecturers, who have been chosen for their mathematical distinction and communication skills.  The Society aims to present a wide range of mathematical topics in the lectures, which are suitable for all who have an interest in mathematics.


The Popular Lectures are a free annual event held during either June or July in London and repeated in late September at one other UK venue; for the past few years, this has been Birmingham.  As a part of the celebrations to mark the 150th Anniversary of the LMS there will be four popular lectures held in 2015.  In addition to lectures in London and Birmingham, popular lectures will also take place in Leeds and Glasgow.




For 2015, the Popular Lecturers will be:

Professor Martin Hairer, FRS - University of Warwick

Professor Ben Green, FRS - University of Oxford

Dr Ruth King - University of St Andrews

Dr Hannah Fry - University College London


The lectures will take place on:

London (Logan Hall, Institute of Education) - 25th June (7:00pm) - Speakers: Martin Hairer and Ruth King

Birmingham (Bramall Music Building, University of Birmingham) - 23rd September (6:30pm) - Speakers: Ben Green and Martin Hairer

Glasgow (Main Auditorium, University of Strathclyde) - 21st October (6:30pm) - Speakers: Hannah Fry and Ruth King

Leeds (The Great Hall, University of Leeds) - 11th November (6:30) - Speakers: Hannah Fry and Ben Green



Professor Martin Hairer, FRS Regius Professor of Mathematics, University of Warwick

The mathematics of randomness

From the gambling machines in a Casino to the predictions of next week's weather, the world that surrounds us is governed by seemingly random events. How do mathematicians make sense of this and what does it even mean to "predict" something inherently random? We will explore these questions and see what are the main guiding principles of our modern understanding of randomness.

Along the way, we will see how the works of an 18th century egyptologist and a 19th century biologist allow today's banks to model the stock market.


Dr Ruth King, Reader in Statistics, University of St Andrews (from 1st September, the Thomas Bayes Chair of Statistics at the University of Edinburgh)

How many...? (Estimating population sizes)

The question of “How many...?” arises in many different fields. However, for many applications, it is not possible to simply count the members of the population of interest. For such cases, I will discuss mathematical tools that can be applied to provide an estimate of the total population size. Applications range from the number of webpages on the Internet on a given topic or the number of bugs in a computer code to the number of drug addicts or animals in a given area.


Professor Ben Green, FRS, Waynflete Professor of Mathematics, University of Oxford

A good new millennium for prime numbers

The prime numbers 2,3,5,7,11... are the building blocks of arithmetic and have been studied by mathematicians for around 2500 years. While the primes remain mysterious, mathematicians have made a lot of progress in the 21st century. The talk will endeavour to describe some of this progress and to explain why studying prime numbers is hard. 


Dr Hannah Fry, Lecturer in the Mathematics of Cities, Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, University College London

Patterns in human behaviour

We all like to think of ourselves as strong, independent and single-minded individuals. But despite our illusion of free will, most of the time we find ourselves swept along by the actions of those around us. The hidden connections between us can be used to understand the mathematics of friendships and even to catch criminals. Hannah takes you on a whistle stop tour of how the patterns in our behaviour make us surprisingly predictable.


Registration for the lectures will open shortly


Popular Lectures Mailing List

If you would like to be included on the Popular Lectures mailing list, please email education@lms.ac.uk