Maths Fan Online Lecture Series


Celebrate all things maths with Dr Tom Crawford and friends. Hear from fellow YouTuber Simon Clark about the mathematics of climate change; solve puzzles with best-selling author Rob Eastaway; and explore the fun-side of maths with Numberphile presenter Sophie Maclean, and the one-and-only James Grime. A lineup for the true maths fans!

There are no pre-requisites - an interest in maths and a desire for knowledge are all that is required.

How this lecture series will work

Each speaker will give a 1-hour pre-recorded lecture, which will be livestreamed (with an interactive element) each week at 7-8.30pm BST (UTC+1). All the lectures will then remain available to review until Thursday 11 July. The full programme is outlined below.

Programme details

Thursday 6 June 2024
The equation that ruined my life (for four years)
Simon Clark

Most of my PhD was spent bashing my head against a brick wall of how to solve one, deceptively simple, equation. How hard can it be to disentangle the influence of different parts of the atmosphere on the surface? In order to answer that question, I will introduce you to the basics of atmospheric dynamics, numerical problem solving, and how a PhD teaches you to think like a scientist (and own your mistakes).

Thursday 13 June 2024
"I wasn't expecting that..."
Rob Eastaway

As humans we depend on our intuition to make many of our decisions. And most of the time it works. But when intuition doesn’t work it can go spectacularly wrong. Rob Eastaway reveals some of his favourite examples, including several that relate to everyday situations, and reflects on why mathematicians so often seem to delight in the counter-intuitive.  Brace yourself for some surprises... and be prepared to get things wrong.

Thursday 20 June 2024
How to get rich quick
Sophie Maclean

From fairground games to the stock market, knowing what will happen is a great advantage. In this session, Sophie gives an introduction to the world of finance and shares some of the Maths she used working as a trader.

Thursday 27 June 2024
Alan Turing and the Enigma Machine
James Grime

Alan Turing is best remembered as one of the leading code breakers of Bletchley Park during World War II. It was Turing's brilliant insights and mathematical mind that helped to break Enigma, the apparently unbreakable code used by the German military. We present a history of both Alan Turing and the Enigma machine, leading to this triumph of mathematical ingenuity.

Thursday 4 July 2024
Pokemaths: the maths of the video game
Tom Crawford

How many Pikachus does it take to power a lightbulb? How much do you need to feed your pet Charizard? And why does the world of Pokémon seem to ignore the basic laws of physics? Dr Tom Crawford looks at the maths of one of the world’s favourite video games.


Description Costs
Course Fee £55.00


If you are in receipt of a UK state benefit or are a full-time student in the UK you may be eligible for a reduction of 50% of tuition fees.

Concessionary fees for short courses


Dr Simon Clark


Simon Clark is a science communicator from Bath, UK. After finishing his PhD in eponymous YouTube channel about various topics in Earth and climate science, atmospheric physics at the University of Exeter, he started creating videos on his accruing over half a million subscribers and fifty million views to date. Alongside this work he wrote Firmament, an introduction to and history of atmospheric science, published by Hodder and Stoughton. He also co-hosts the How To Make A Science Video podcast.

Rob Eastaway


Rob Eastaway is a maths author and broadcaster, whose books include the bestselling Maths on the back of an envelope and Why Do Buses Come In Threes?  Until 2023 he was the editor of the weekly maths puzzle in New Scientist Magazine and he is a regular guest on BBC Radio 4’s award-winning podcast, More or Less.

Ms Sophie Maclean


Watch Sophie on Numberphile here:  

Dr James Grime


James Grime is a mathematician and public speaker. James travels the UK and the world giving public talks about mathematics. James is also an associate lecturer for the Open University, content developer for MathsCity Leeds, the UKs first national mathematics discovery centre, and presenter on the popular YouTube channel called numberphile.

Dr Tom Crawford


Tom is the Public Engagement Lead at the Department and is also a Fellow by Special Election at St Edmund Hall where he teaches mathematics to the first and second year undergraduate students.

Alongside his teaching commitments, Tom runs an award-winning outreach programme through his website ’Tom Rocks Maths’ which hosts videos, podcasts, puzzles and articles that aim to make maths entertaining and understandable to all. Tom works with several partners including the BBC and the Numberphile YouTube channel – the largest maths channel on the platform with over pi-million subscribers. With over 20 million YouTube views, 2 TEDx talks, and guest lectures at the Royal Institution and New Scientist Live, Tom is well on his way to his goal of bringing maths to the masses.


Please use the 'Book' button on this page. Alternatively, please contact us to obtain an application form.

IT requirements

You will receive an email invitation to be added to the learning platform, Canvas, shortly before the first lecture, which is where the recordings will be uploaded. The livestream of the lectures each week will take place on Zoom. Further joining details, including the Zoom link, will be sent two days before the series begins.