Soccermatics: how mathematics is changing the beautiful game, a talk by Professor David J.T. Sumpter (Uppsala University, Sweden)
The University of Manchester’s 2017 Dame Kathleen Ollerenshaw Lecture
Football is not only the most beautiful of sports,but it is also the most mathematical. From shot statistics and league tables to the geometry of passing and managerial strategy, the modern game is filled with numbers, patterns and shapes. I decided to find out how we make sense of all these numbers.
Using my skills as an applied mathematician, I dissected the modern game, finding analogies between football and biology. I showed looked at how the Barcelona midfield linked geometrically in the same way as a slime mould, I looked at the similarity between an ant colony and Total Football, Dutch style, I thought about what Bayerns defenders could learn from lionesses, I studied how much of Fergie’s success at Manchester United was luck and how much was skill, and I investigated how you can use probability theory make you money at the bookies.
The result was the book Soccermatics. I will talk about the book, the maths and science behind teamwork, and how writing it resulted in me meeting with Premier League clubs to talk about how they can use mathematics to improve performance.
About the Speaker
Professor David J.T. Sumpter is a professor in Applied Mathematics at Uppsala University, Sweden.
He studied for his PhD in Manchester under David Broomhead and made his way to Sweden in 2007.
He is particularly interested in looking at collective animal behaviour including fish, birds and ants. Working with experimentalists, Sumpter and colleagues have developed models to describe the general characteristics of collective behaviour. They have also turned their attention to serious social issues including education, health and sustainability as a way to help the policy-makers.
Professor Sumpter is a popular science writer and nearly 7,000 people follow his twitter page @Soccermatics.
6.00 pm Registration and Coffee
6.30 pm Introduction to the Lecture
6.35 pm Lecture by Professor David Sumpter – Soccermatics
7.25 pm Closing Remarks
7.30 pm Wine Reception
8.30 pm Close
To request a place at the event, please register your interest here. Please note that registration will close at 5:00pm on Tuesday 17 October 2017, and requests made after this deadline will not be accommodated. This event has been organised by the University of Manchester, all all queries should be directed to the School of Mathematics.
The Dame Kathleen Ollerenshaw Public Lecture is a prestigious annual lecture in the School of Mathematics at the University of Manchester, named in honour and recognition of Dame Kathleen Ollerenshaw. She is probably best known in mathematics for her work on magic squares, but also had a formidable reputation as an astronomer, and the observatory at the University of Lancaster bears her name. She served as President of the IMA from 1978-79. She held a lifelong commitment to encouraging interest in mathematics amongst young people. Deaf since the age of eight, Dame Kathleen was an inspiring role model to many.