The London Mathematical Society Popular Lectures for 2013 have been announced. Professor Ray Hill, University of Salford, will talk about ‘Mathematics in the Courtroom’, and Dr. Vicky Neale, University of Cambridge, will give a lecture on ‘Addictive Number Theory’.

Prof Hill’s abstract:

In this talk, Ray Hill examines the role of coincidence, probability and statistics in criminal trials.

Do juries underestimate the true chances of coincidence?

How should mathematical evidence be presented in court?

What are the “prosecutor’s fallacy”, “defendant’s fallacy” and “jury observation fallacy”?

These are some of the questions he will consider, with reference to cases involving DNA evidence, psychological profiling, and multiple sudden infant deaths.

In particular, he will consider the safety of the verdicts in some high-profile cases such as those of James Hanratty, OJ Simpson, Stefan Kiszco, Barry George, Sally Clark, and Harold Shipman.

Dr Neale’s abstract:

For hundreds of years, mathematicians have asked intriguing questions about adding whole numbers, for example concentrating on particularly important sequences such as the prime numbers and the square numbers.

We shall discuss some of these problems (solved and unsolved), and some of the elegant techniques from across mathematics that have been used to tackle these problems.

The lectures will take place at the Institute of Education in London on 25th June (register by 20th June) and Birmingham on 26th September (register by 20th September). Admission is free, with a ticket.