Gresham College presents a ‘Mathematics in the 21st Century’, a series of free public maths lectures by Professor of Geometry Chris Budd. The series will cover the application of maths to voting, curing cancer, to art, and computing; Budd will also look at great Mathematical Myths like those around the Golden Ratio, and Equations That Have Changed the World. All of Gresham College’s lectures are live-streamed online, and seats can be reserved for schools and colleges. Visit the Gresham College website at to find out more.

Maths and Voting

Tuesday 12 November 2019, 1 pm Museum of London

We live in a democracy in which we all have a chance to vote. But does voting mean that the views of the majority are truly represented when it can be shown (mathematically) that all voting systems have flaws?  In this talk we use mathematics to look at these flaws and answer associated questions (eg. voting trends and gerrymandering). For a bit of light relief we will see how the same principles work in the Eurovision Song Contest.

Can Maths Save the Whales and Cure Cancer?

Tuesday 7 January 2020, 1 pm, Museum of London

Saving the whales and curing cancer are two of the great challenges of the present day, and mathematics has a part to play in addressing them. This talk will use these two examples to illustrate the process of mathematical modelling to gain insights into how the world works and how we can change it.

Great Mathematical Myths

Tuesday 11 February 2020, 1 pm, Museum of London

Mathematics is often thought of as being a dry and logical subject, and its conclusions are free from the vagaries of fashion and misconception. However this is far from the truth. Mathematical misunderstandings, or perhaps a misunderstanding of mathematical ideas and conclusions, can permeate the public consciousness, and once there survive for a long time. I will start by looking at the mythology that has gathered around the Golden Ratio, and also consider the fairness of cake-cutting, and changing choices in the Monty Hall problem.

The Art of Maths

Tuesday 10 March 2020, 1 pm, Museum of London

Mathematics and art are more similar than is commonly thought. Each is concerned with the process of being highly creative with abstract objects and of producing everlasting work of great aesthetic beauty. Early art inspired by geometry, symmetry, number and algebra will be considered, as will the role maths played in the art of the Renaissance. Mathematics’ influence on other artistic forms will be explored, taking us up to the work of Escher and how this inspired the study of Fractals.

Equations That Have Changed The World

Tuesday 28 April 2020, 1 pm, Museum of London

This final lecture will celebrate some of the great mathematical equations, and related algorithms, which have both changed the world as we know it and which are likely to change it in the future. The lecture will focus on a number of equations and algorithms including Laplace’s Equation, the Navier-Stokes Equations, Schrodinger’s equation, the Kalman Filter, the FFT, the Page Rank Algorithm, the Simplex method and the Conjugate Gradient Method, all of which are making a profound difference to the way that we live. Truly mathematical equations can change the world!