Holgate Lectures and Workshops

The Holgate Lectures and Workshops sessions scheme provides session leaders who are willing to give a talk or run a workshop on a mathematical subject to groups of students or teachers.  The sessions are of mathematical content and are not, for example, careers talks.  Rather they are intended to enrich and enhance mathematical education, looking both within and beyond the curriculum.  Holgate session leaders do not charge a fee for giving talks, but local organisers are expected to pay travel expenses and subsistence costs, together with any local costs of organising the session.  The LMS will pay an annual honorarium to the session leaders.

The scheme is named in memory of Philip Holgate, who helped ensure the success of the LMS Popular Lectures.

The Education Committee has chosen the below individuals to act as session leaders.  The profiles below show their background and mathematical interests and provides contact details for anyone interested in organising a Holgate Session.  The talks provided below are firmly intended as indicative and not comprehensive.  Session Leaders will work with local hosts to develop and adapt sessions to the needs of the audience.  The LMS strongly encourages schools hosting a Holgate session to consider collaborating with other local schools.

In the interest of maximising the number of schools able to benefit from the Holgate Scheme, schools are asked not to arrange more than one session per academic year, and not to contact multiple lecturers for the same event.

Local hosts of a Holgate Session will be asked by the Society to complete a brief questionnaire about the session that will allow the Society to gather some feedback and develop the scheme.

Those interested in hosting a Holgate Session should contact the Session Leader directly by e-mail to discuss content and how the Session Leader can best work with hosts.

It is the responsibility of schools and colleges to follow safeguarding guidelines for children and young people under the age of 18 in their care. Government statutory guidance on safeguarding in education can be found here.






Contact: tomrocksmaths@gmail.com; tomrocksmaths.com/contact

Mathematical Interests: I am a tutor at St Hugh’s College, St Edmund Hall and St John’s College at the University of Oxford where I teach maths to the first and second year undergraduates. I also run my award-winning website tomrocksmaths.com and associated social media profiles on TwitterFacebookInstagram and Youtube - @tomrocksmaths. Current partners include the BBC, the European Mathematical Society, the Journal of Fluid Mechanics and Oxplore – Oxford University’s digital outreach portal.

I previously worked for the Naked Scientists – an award-winning production company that specialises in broadcasting science news internationally via the radio and podcasts – and could frequently be heard talking all things science and maths on BBC Radio 5 Live and ABC Australia. This role led to the creation of ‘the Naked Mathematician’ and the ‘Equations Stripped’ series where I strip back some of the most important equations in maths layer-by-layer so that everyone can understand…

My PhD in applied maths was completed at the University of Cambridge, where I conducted experiments looking at where river water goes when it enters the ocean. You can read more about my PhD thesis – explained in simple terms – here. Before that, I spent four years studying maths at the University of Oxford and was recently interviewed by the Oxford Alumni Voices podcast about my time as an undergraduate student (you can find more interviews on the profiles page of my website). When not misbehaving with numbers I can be found playing football, snowboarding and pretending to be a rockstar. I currently have 6 maths-themed tattoos including the Navier-Stokes equations, the Platonic Solids and the first 100 digits of the number e…

Example sessions:

1. Maths v Sport (Y9 onwards)
How do you take the perfect penalty? What is the limit of human endurance? Where is the best place to attempt a world record? Maths has all of the answers and I'll be telling you how to use it to be better at sport (results may vary).

2. Maths: it’s all Greek to me! (Y9 onwards)
You’ve probably heard of Pythagoras, Archimedes and Plato, but do you know the sins behind their stories? From murder and deceit to running naked down the street, the Ancient Greek mathematicians were anything but boring. I’ll be telling you all about their mischief – mathematical or otherwise – as I bring the history of maths to life (featuring live experiments and togas).

3. The Millennium Problems (Y10 onwards)
The seven greatest unsolved problems in mathematics, each worth a cool $1 million… In this session I’ll introduce each of the puzzles in turn and try to give you a feel for the maths that you’ll need to know if you’re planning to take one of them on. 

4. Navier-Stokes Stripped (Y12 onwards)
The Navier-Stokes equations model the flow of every fluid on Earth, but yet we know very little about them. So little in fact, there is currently a $1 million prize for anyone that can help to improve our understanding of how these fascinating equations work. In this session, I’ll strip back the Navier-Stokes equations layer-by-layer to make them understandable for all… Based on my hit YouTube series ‘Equations Stripped’.

5. How to make everything about maths (Teachers)
Since completing my PhD, I have transitioned from maths researcher to maths communicator with the launch of my outreach programme ‘Tom Rocks Maths’. In this session I will discuss the most successful ways to increase engagement with maths through examples from my work with the BBC, the Naked Scientists, and from my YouTube channelwebsite and social media pages @tomrocksmaths



Contact: r.h.elwes@leeds.ac.uk
Website: www.richardelwes.co.uk

Mathematical Interests: I teach maths at University of Leeds, mainly concentrating on pure and computational topics. In the past, I worked as a full-time popular science writer, writing 5 books on the subject for non-expert readers. As a result, I have broad interests in mathematics and its applications, as well as a longstanding curiosity about the history of our subject. I still enjoy writing about mathematics, including on my own website Simple City.

My PhD and research background are in an abstract branch of logic called Model Theory, which investigates familiar mathematical structures by comparison with more exotic objects (“non-standard models”) which follow similar – but subtly different – rules. However, recently I have been focussing on trying to predict the evolution of simple random processes, including the architecture of random networks, and generally attempting to find order in unpredictable situations. For instance, with some friends I undertook a rigorous study of a simple model of racial segregation invented by the economist Thomas Schelling. Demonstrating the deep and often unexpected interconnectedness of science, this process turns out to have unexpected similarity to models of magnetism studied by statistical physicists. I wrote a gentle introduction to it here.

Example Sessions: Depending on the time available, and the size and ages of the group, I am happy either to lead interactive workshops or to deliver accessible lectures. Here are some of the sessions I do regularly:

  • Knot Maths! Workshop (1-2 hours) for Key Stages 3 and 4, covering several topics from the deep and fascinating theory of knots.
  • Untangling Knot Theory. Similar to the above, but more algebraically sophisticated. Suitable for Maths A-level students (or above).
  • Strategies of Simple Games. Workshop (1-2 hours) on game theory and mathematical strategy, using some deceptively simple two player games based on Nim. Suitable for Key Stage 3 or older.
  • Unpicking Pick’s Theorem. Workshop (1½-2 hours) for Key Stages 4 and 5, discovering & proving some beautiful geometric facts about shapes drawn from straight lines on a square grid.
  • Infinity & the Limits of Mathematics. An accessible lecture (approx. 1 hour) about Georg Cantor’s amazing discovery in the 19th century that there are different levels of infinity, and the consequences this had for the mathematicians who came later. Suitable for Maths A-level students (or above).
  • The Maths that Makes the Modern World. An accessible lecture (approx. 1 hour) about some of the aspects of mathematics that lie behind the hi-tech interconnected age in which we live. Suitable for Maths A-level students (or above).

I am also happy to design individual sessions on a variety of pure & applied mathematical topics - so long as approached sufficiently far in advance!



Contact: hello@jonny-griffiths.net
Websites: risps.co.uk; making-statistics-vital.co.uk; carom-maths.co.uk

Before becoming a Holgate Lecturer in January 2019, I taught for 25 years in sixth form colleges and in an 11-16 school. Now I earn my living by writing mathematical resources for a variety of organisations. My Risps website, which offers 40 pure investigatory activities for A Level Maths students, has proved popular, as have its sister sites Making Statistics Vital and Carom.

I can offer the following workshops:

1. The Scroll Tile (for primary and early secondary).

This remarkable tile can produce a number of regular polygons, all with the same area, in a simple way. Besides providing an engrossing practical activity, it leads on to a good discussion of angles in regular shapes. Produces excellent posters!

2. The Dots Problem (primary to Year 13).

You are given a row of dots that are either black or white. You form a row underneath with one less dot using these rules;

  • two blacks go to a white
  • two whites go to a white
  • a black and a white, or a white and a black, go to a black. 

Keep going until you get down to one dot. Can you predict the colour of the final dot without drawing out the whole triangle? This deceptively simple problem has hidden depths, that mean students of any age can come away with a satisfying mathematical experience. Areas covered include odd and even numbers, the use of algebra, Pascal’s Triangle and the nature of proof. 

3. Volume, Surface Area, and Edge-length (all secondary students).

Given a cube of side x, it is easy to find V = volume, S = total surface area, and E = total edge-length. There are six possible orders for V, S and E in terms of numerical size; which are possible? An exploration of the relationship between V, S and E that brings in inequalities, polynomial equations, and computer graphing.   

4. Prime numbers and triangle numbers (all secondary students)

When is the difference between two triangle numbers prime? An investigation that enables students to explore what they know about these types of number using calculation, tables and algebra. A nice introduction to ideas about proof.

5. The Mandelbrot Set (A level students)

We’ve probably seen pictures of the Mandelbrot set, but how is it defined? What are complex numbers, and why do we need them? Could we ourselves draw a rough Mandelbrot set, with the help of Excel? An introduction to the beautiful world of fractals.  

There are possibilities for other workshops; my websites could provide a starting point for alternatives. To discuss any activity in more detail and to explore how it could work for you and your students, please email me.