LMS/Gresham Lecture 2024 - with Oliver Johnson

Barnard's Inn Hall, London and online
Start date
Meeting Date
Logarithms: Mobile Phones, Modelling & Statistics?

The LMS/Gresham Lecture is an annual event held in collaboration with Gresham College.

Gresham College in London has been presenting mathematics lectures to the public since 1598, when Henry Briggs (co-inventor of logarithms) was appointed the first Gresham Professor of Geometry. Later holders of that Chair have included Isaac Barrow, Robert Hooke, and more recently Sir Christopher Zeeman, Ian Stewart and Sir Roger Penrose. The current position now covers all areas of mathematics, not just geometry.

In 2007, the Society and Gresham College established a yearly joint lecture with the Society providing the speakers while Gresham provides the attractive venue and covers the costs of the lecture and a reception. These events are usually held in May.

This year's speaker is Oliver Johnson, Professor of Information Theory in the School of Mathematics at the University of Bristol.

You can watch previous LMS/Gresham Lectures here.

Programme (all times in BST):


Oliver Johnson (University of Bristol)

Logarithms: Mobile Phones, Modelling & Statistics?

Logarithms were perhaps once thought of as just an old-fashioned way to do sums on slide rules. But they underpin much of modern life, from modelling the COVID pandemic to Claude Shannon’s mathematical theory of information (which makes mobile phones a reality) and making sense of Cristiano Ronaldo’s crazy Instagram follower numbers.

This lecture will explore the basics and history of logarithms, and then show how they are a natural way to represent many models and datasets.



For details on accessibility, please visit the venue's website here.

If you have further accessibility questions not answered at the above link, please contact hall-booking@gresham.ac.uk.


To register, please click here.

This event is free of charge and open to all ages, whether LMS/Gresham College members or not.

Grants of up to £200 are available to parents and carers who wish to attend this event and require help towards caring costs. Please see the Caring Supplementary Grants page on the LMS website. Please submit your application no later than 15:00 on Thursday 16 May. For any questions on Caring Grants, please contact womenanddiversity@lms.ac.uk.

For all other queries, please contact education@lms.ac.uk.