Popular Lectures

The London Mathematical Society Popular Lectures present exciting topics in mathematics and its applications to a wide audience. The LMS Popular Lectures usually 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 another venue in the UK. For the past few years this has been Birmingham. 


The 2016 Popular Lectures will be held:

LONDON (Institute of Education) - 29th June, starting 19:00.  The lectures will be in the Logan Hall and a map to the venue is available.

BIRMINGHAM (Birmingham University) - 21st September, starting 18:30.  The lectures will be in the Bramall Music Building which is marked R12 on the map.


At each event, there will be two lectures:

Heather Harrington (University of Oxford)

The shape of data in biology

From epidemics spreading across the globe to proteins interacting inside a cell, biological systems have complex interactions that can behave in unexpected ways and generate vast amounts of data. Branches of abstract mathematics such as algebra and topology in combination with computing and statistics, can help us understand these systems by looking at their data in new ways. Dr Harrington will focus on how computational developments in abstract mathematics can provide new insights to biological systems with data.


Julia Wolf (University of Bristol).

One, Two, Red, Blue

Ever wondered why the popular game Noughts and crosses always results in a draw? Is the same true if we play on a larger grid, or one in three dimensions? In this talk Dr Wolf will explore the mathematics behind Noughts and crosses and its variants, which in spite of the frivolous starting point turns out to run surprisingly deep. 



Those wishing to attend the 2016 popular lectures are asked to use the online registration system:

London online Registration 

Birmingham online Registration

Those wishing to register groups of more than 10 people or who are attending as a school group are asked to register using the paper form below:

Registration From (word)

Registration Form (PDF)


We have been informed by the Institute of Education that due to a temporary restriction on their building they can not at present provide wheelchair access for the 2016 London Popular Lectures at the Logan Hall. Due to a fire safety inspection the venue now understands that for health and safety reasons it is not able to provide access to those with restricted mobility and all visitors to the floor where the Lecture Hall is located must be able to exit the building by going upstairs, on foot, should an emergency arise.  At present the IoE does not have suitable evacuation equipment available.

Venue booking for such an event happens many months in advance and unfortunately we have been unable to find another venue in the vicinity that will accommodate the anticipated numbers of attendees at such short notice. The popular lecture will therefore go ahead at the IoE venue, which will make a live TV stream of the lecture available in a separate room to any wheelchair users on the evening.

We understand that the venue is taking steps to upgrade its facilities and will ensure that the building is fully accessible to wheelchair users for the 2017 lectures, but we will additionally look into alternative venues for future events should the building not be accessible to wheelchair users for 2017.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause. 


Popular Lectures Mailing List

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