Skip Navigation

A A A+

IMA 50th Anniversary

The Institute of Mathematics and its Applications is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2014. To celebrate 50 years of achievement, the IMA plans an exciting series of events during 2014. These will look forward to the developments and limitless opportunities for the applications of mathematics in the next 50 years and celebrate the achievements of the past. There will also be projects to provide a long lasting legacy including an IMA@50 book and Maths Walks. Details can be found below.

News from our Patron HRH The Princess Royal

We are delighted that HRH The Princess Royal was our Guest of Honour at the 50th Anniversary Celebration on 14 May at the Royal Society. The President, Professor Dame Celia Hoyles presented an Honorary Fellowship certificate to the Princess Royal.

Ri logoIMA Fiftieth Anniversary Event

at the Royal Institution, London
on Tuesday 7 October 2014


Event Description

The IMA celebrates 50 years in 2014 and, as part of its anniversary programme, is delighted to hold this inspirational mathematical event which is organised together with the Royal Institution of Great Britain. Dame Celia Hoyles, IMA President, will welcome attendees and chair the programme.

The talks will be followed by a reception with drinks, canapés and an opportunity to see some of the Ri’s incredible collections with the Curator of Collections, Charlotte New.  Tickets need to be ordered separately for the reception and the programme of talks.

Event Programme


Registration  (Event ticket required)


Vision for Science and Mathematics Education

Dame Julia Higgins FREng, FRS,
Former Vice-President, The Royal Society


Big Data

Richard Pinch, IMA Vice-President,
Professional Affairs and Industry


The Mathematics Manifesto (First Draft)

Paul Glendinning, IMA Vice-President, Learned Society


Tea and Coffee Break


Mathematics at the Ri

Diane Crann, Ri Clothworkers’ Fellow in Mathematics


Eight Great Reasons to do Maths

Chris Budd, IMA Vice-President,
Communications and Royal Institution Professor of Mathematics


The IMA Today and Tomorrow

Dame Celia Hoyles,
IMA President


Evening Reception (Reception ticket required)

Programme of Talks – Abstracts

Please click here to read abstracts of talks.

IMA@50 Celebration at the Royal Society

To celebrate the birthday of the IMA we had a major event at the Royal Society on the afternoon and evening of 14 May 2014. All members of the IMA, together with many others, were invited to attend this meeting at a moderate cost. This was an opportunity to participate in a historic event and to celebrate the work and achievements of the IMA over the past fifty years.

We are delighted to report that Our Patron for the Anniversary Year, Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal, attended part of the programme including the lecture by Professor Ian Stewart and the evening reception.  IMA members and guests were delighted to hear The Princess Royal speak in support of mathematics.  Furthermore Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal received her certificate of IMA Honorary Fellowship at the event and kindly presented a prize certificate to the winner of the recent Maths Careers competition.

In addition, the IMA President, Professor Dame Celia Hoyles and Vice-President, Communications, Professor Chris Budd introduced the following  programme of lectures and talks:

  • A Toy Model for a Magnetic Toy: from atomistic to continuum
Alain Goriely, University of Oxford
  • 50 Years of Maths in Education
Celia Hoyles DBE, London Knowledge Lab
Institute of Education, University of London
  • 50 Years of Maths in Industry
Iain Gray CBE, FREng, Technology Strategy Board
  • 50 Years of the IMA
John McWhirter FREng FRS, Cardiff University
  • IMA Gold Medal Lecture
Clifford Cocks CB, formerly Chief Mathematician of GCHQ
  • Mathematics for the Billion

Ian Stewart FRS, University of Warwick

  • Evening speaker
Matt Parker, Queen Mary, University of London

Certificates of fifty years of membership of the IMA were presented to fifteen attendees who had joined the IMA in its inaugural year by the President.

50 Visions of Mathematics, the book which has been published to commemorate the anniversary year, was launched by Dr Ahmer Wadee.

For photographs from the event please visit the IMA's Flickr page.   Further details on this event will be included in the August 2014 issue of Mathematics Today.

IMA Gold Medal 2014

The winner of IMA Gold Medal of 2014 is Clifford Cocks - the recently retired Chief Mathematician of GCHQ. Dr Cocks gave his award lecture as part of the programme for the IMA Fiftieth Anniversary Celebration at the Royal Society on 14 May. 
For additional information

The Festival of Maths and its Applications

As part of the IMA@50 celebrations, the School of Mathematics, University of Manchester will be hosting the Festival of Mathematics and its Applications. This will be the first hands-on festival devoted to mathematics, and is being held in the Alan Turing Building at the University of Manchester because of the long-standing links between the IMA and Manchester. The Festival will comprise interactive exhibitions, popular and academic talks, maths entertainments, debates and discussions.

There are three strands to the event, and IMA members are most welcome to engage in all of the activities. Further details (including venue locations and registration) are given here.

In summary:
1. Public Lecture
On the evening of 3 July at 5.30pm there will be a major public lecture by Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter FRS, Winton Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk. This is entitled 'Sex, Drugs and Sausage Rolls', and will be followed by a reception at 6.30pm-7.30pm. Both the lecture and reception will be held in the Samuel Alexander Building, University of Manchester.

This popular lecture is accessible to mathematicians and non-mathematicians alike and is open to the general public. David is a brilliant communicator of science, and is a regular presenter and interviewee on TV and radio. Of his talk, he says: "You take a risk whenever things may turn out well, or not so well, and you don't know which it will be. So you take risks all the time, but this does not mean you have to be reckless. I will talk about how you can use the probability ideas to take daily risks apart, and how this might help decide whether you should go for it or not. Examples will include sex, drugs, sausage rolls, and Total Wipeout."

There is no charge for attending the lecture and reception. Registration is not mandatory for this event, but to gauge numbers it would be helpful if you could register your interest here.

After the reception (at 8pm) participants may join us for dinner at the Tai Pan restaurant. There is a charge of £25 for attending the dinner, and registration is essential. Please register here.

2. Seminars on the Challenges for Mathematics
These seminars are intended to provide a stimulating discussion of major topics in mathematics (education, industry and research) and are open to all. The full programme is now available here.

Although there is no cost for attendance, registration is required to estimate numbers for lunch. Please register here.

In summary, there will be four half day sessions on:
3rd July AM 'Maths Education and Policy'
led by Professor Dame Celia Hoyles (IMA President, University of London) and Professor Nigel Steele (Coventry University)

3rd July PM 'What has mathematics done for us?'
led by Dr Snezana Lawrence (Bath Spa University) and Dr Peter Rowlett (Nottingham Trent University)

4th July AM 'Mathematics in Industry'
led by Dr Robert Leese (Smith Institute) and Professor Alan Champneys (University of Bristol)

4th July PM 'Mathematics in a Changing World'
led by Professor Robert MacKay FRS (University of Warwick) and Professor Peter Grindrod CBE (University of Oxford)

PhD Student/Early Career Bursaries
We have a limited number of bursaries available to PhD students and Early Career Researchers (up to five years research experience following their PhD) to enable them to attend these seminars. Bursaries of up to £100 can be granted to support travel and subsistence for one or two days. Please complete an online application form here.

3. Festival of Mathematics and its Applications
Downstairs in the Alan Turing Building there will be events for the general public, especially school students, from 10am to 4pm on both 3rd and 4th July. There will be a series of popular talks given by well-known communicators (including James Grime, Steve Mould, Steve Humble, Rob Eastaway, and Colin Wright), interactive workshop sessions and popular exhibitions and stands that will include hands-on maths-focused displays. There is no charge for attending the downstairs activities and registration is not required.

The latest version of the downstairs programme of events is available here.

For photographs from the event please visit the Manchester University Maths Flickr page.

Maths Walks

During 2014 we will also be launching a series of legacy projects. One of these will be a set of regional maths walks. Maths walks are projects which could be done by a local branch, a school, an undergraduate maths society, a company, or any group of interested volunteers. They are guides to a town or region, based on its mathematical features, and are meant to inspire families, school parties or anyone visiting who would like to learn a bit of maths as well. The walks are intended to raise awareness of mathematics in our daily lives and in particular to stimulate the interest of many young people so that they will go on to be the mathematicians of the future. A group of IMA members, led by Garrod Musto CMathTeach FIMA and Steve Humble FIMA (aka Dr Maths) had a pleasant evening wandering around Bath, looking at the sights and thinking up mathematical issues, questions and puzzles related to them. Later on in the evening (at the pub) the notes were compared and the beginnings of the maths walk started to take shape. A bit of extra work later and we had the IMA Bath Maths Walk. We challenge all IMA members to do likewise. The walks will be in the form of a leaflet which will also be placed on the IMA website. If you would like any further information or support to help you create such a maths walk to launch in 2014 please contact Garrod Musto

IMA@50 Book – celebrating 50 great things about mathematics

As a further, and hopefully long lasting legacy project, a book has been commissioned that will be published by Oxford University Press. It will comprise fifty accessible and thought-provoking articles on a wide variety of topics through the spectrum of mathematics and its applications. The intended audience is a general reader with an interest in maths who would like to learn some more about maths, its applications and its relevance to their lives. The editors of the book are Chris Budd CMath FIMA, Alan Champneys CMath FIMA (Chair), Marianne Freiberger, Paul Glendinning FIMA, Steve Humble FIMA, Rachel Thomas and Ahmer Wadee CMath FIMA, CSci. The contents of the book will include invited articles from well-known mathematicians and maths communicators.

The IMA@50 Book – Fifty Visions of Mathematics – is available to pre-order from the OUP website. Now only £18.99 with an exclusive discount for members of the IMA*.

*See the February 2014 issue of Mathematics Today for the discount code which is valid until 01/06/14.


Support the IMA 50th anniversary

Alternatively you can send your donation directly to the IMA »

Corporate sponsors of IMA@50 Celebrations include:

dstl logo


University of Manchester

           Winton logo