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Particularly mathematical Birthday Honours 2022

In all the Jubilee fun, you may have missed the announcement of the UK Government’s Queen’s Birthday Honours list. Here’s our selection of particularly mathematical entries for this year – any more, let us know in the comments and we’ll add to the list.

  • Ed Humpherson, Director General for Regulation, UK Statistics Authority. Made Companion of the Order of the Bath for public service.
  • Fiona Steele, Professor of Statistics, London School of Economics. Appointed CBE for services to Statistics in the Social Sciences.
  • Nicholas Davies, Assistant Professor of Mathematical Modelling, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Appointed MBE for services to the Covid-19 Response.
  • Isobel Jessie Falconer, Reader of Mathematics, School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of St Andrews. Appointed MBE for services to the History of Mathematics and Science.
  • Charlotte Deane, Professor of Structural Bioinformatics, University of Oxford. Appointed MBE for services to Covid-19 Research. (Thanks to Vicky Neale for the tip!)

Get the full list of honours on

Mathematical Objects: Nodal cubic with Angela Tabiri

Mathematical Objects

A conversation about mathematics inspired by the nodal cubic. Presented by Katie Steckles and Peter Rowlett. We go closer to the cutting edge of research than usual in this chat with Angela Tabiri about her PhD research.

Nodal cubic

What we call mathematics

I notice in the news is an issue of whether we should have a different name for early maths. It’s actually quite interesting – and quite a problem – the different things we call ‘mathematics’.

Mathematical Objects: PageRank

Mathematical Objects

A conversation about mathematics inspired by the PageRank algorithm. Presented by Katie Steckles and Peter Rowlett.

Five dots labelled Katie, Peter, A, B, C. Arrows from A and B to Katie are labelled 1. Arrows from C to Katie and to Peter are labelled 1/2.

Mathematical Objects: A joke with Bec Hill

Mathematical Objects

A conversation about mathematics inspired by a joke. Presented by Katie Steckles and Peter Rowlett, with special guest Bec Hill.


An incorrect model of the lottery, and when it doesn’t matter

Recently I came across an interesting idea about little mistakes in counting problems that actually don’t amount to much. In A Problem Squared 030, Matt Parker was investigating the question “What are the odds of having the same child twice?” and made some simplifying assumptions when thinking about DNA combinatorics. He justified leaving out a small number of things when counting an astronomical number of things by going through an example from the lottery.

The current UK lottery uses 59 balls and draws 6 of these, so the one in 45 million figure arises from \(\binom{59}{6}=45,\!057,\!474\), and the probability of winning is a tiny

\[ \frac{1}{45057474} = 0.00000002219387620 \text{.}\]

Matt posits the idea that somewhere along the way we forget to include some tickets.

But let’s say along the way while I’m working it out, for strange reasons I go ‘oh you know what, I’m going to ignore all the options which are all square numbers. You know, I just can’t be bothered including them. Yeah, they’re legitimate lottery tickets, but just to make the maths easier I’m going to ignore them’. And people are getting up in arms, and they’re like ‘you can’t ignore them, they’re real options’.