Skip to main content

What Can Mathematicians Do?

What Can Mathematicians Do?


What Can Mathematicians Do? is a series of online public maths presentations organised by Newcastle University’s School of Mathematics, Statistics and Physics. 

The presentations will cover a wide range of topics in maths, stats and physics, such as how colours mix, how to make a mint on the stock market, and how to pick your next Netflix binge. 

Students in school years 10 to 13 will find plenty to engage their minds and inspire further study in maths. 

All of the presenters are disabled: we hope to show that anyone can be a mathematician, and mathematicians can do just about anything! 

Each session will consist of two 30-minute presentations, followed by a question-and-answer session. 

The event is free and open to anyone with an interest in mathematics. 

Please register to attend using our form. You can register just for yourself, or for a whole class watching at school. 

The sessions will be recorded, and recordings will be made available to registered attendees shortly after each session. Recordings will be published more widely after the Christmas break. 

Technical information 

The sessions will take place over Zoom meetings. You'll receive the Zoom link by email after registering. 

A live captioner and BSL interpreter will be present. If you require anything else to take part in the session, please let us know in the registration form. 

For safeguarding, only the host and presenters will be able to share their webcams.

 If you'd like to help advertise this event, you can download an What Can Mathematicians Do? Poster. or What Can Mathematicians Do? Square.


Monday December 12th – Morning 09:30 – 11:00 

Tanya Gleadow, Loughborough University - “Giant sky lasers and other shiny things.” 

James Arthur - “Spherical pendulums” 

Wednesday December 14thAfternoon – 13:00 – 14:30 

Abi Kirk, Open University - “Shifting Shapes: Euler's Formula for Polyhedra” 

Amy Mason, University of Cambridge - What to watch next on Netflix?” 

Friday December 16th Afternoon 13:00 – 14:30 

Lucy Rycroft-Smith, University of Cambridge - “Periodic functions: the mathematics of menstruation” 

Chetna Patel - “I introduce myself as a mathematician … yes, really” 

Tuesday December 20th – Afternoon – 13:30 – 15:00 

Sophie Maclean - "How to predict the future" 

Lauren Gilbert, Newcastle University - “Disabled in Physics: how did I get here?” 

Thursday December 22nd – Morning 10:30 – 12:00 

Naomi Wray, Cardiff University - "Count to ten or count to twelve? The decimal system revised." 

Matt Mack, University of Melbourne - “Creating mathematical art using the Travelling Salesman Problem” 


If you would like to attend any of the sessions, please fill in our registration form.