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Add maths from your city

We’d like to hear your mathematical stories of the city no matter who you are — young, old, students, teachers, researchers, member of the public, journalists... Anyone is welcome to shine a mathematical spotlight on their city!

We are also happy for you to either create a Site individually or in a group. If you and your friends or your family have an idea you’d like to work on together, or if you’re a teacher and would like your class to produce a Site, then we’d love to hear from you.

Take a look at the examples below to see what really good Sites can be like. One of them has been written by Marcus du Sautoy – but you don't need to write like Marcus to write a good Site.

Use our examples as a guide to the kind of things your Site needs to cover, and remember that the quality of your idea is more important than the way you write about it.

What are we looking for?
Marcus and mathematicians looking at an object beyond the camera
When you are working on your Site, keep in mind the things we are looking for:

  • interesting examples of maths in the urban environment;
  • clear explanations of some maths you see in your city;
  • great demonstrations of your mathematical ideas on the street.

Remember,  you definitely don’t need to do all of these three things. You might spot some surprising maths in the city, such as our example Site about the Bridge of Sighs in Oxford. You might have a great explanation of how maths has made our city possible, such as our example of satellite dishes. Or you might come up with a fantastic way to demonstrate a mathematical idea on the street, such as our example from The Sheldonian Theatre.

The maths doesn’t have to be difficult. The role that familiar shapes such as triangles, squares and hexagons have in our buildings (such as in the Beehive at St John’s College, Oxford) can be just as exciting a story as the technical challenges of creating iconic buildings such as the ‘Gherkin’ building in London’s financial district.

And there is no shortage of places to uncover mathematical stories. Whether it is a common feature of every city, or something special to a particular building, such as the domes of St Paul’s Cathedral, you can find maths hiding almost everywhere you look.

What should I do?

As well as writing about your idea, you can also take photos, videos or record podcasts to tell your story, or produce images to include in your Site.

It can be really helpful getting out on to the street to hunt down some mathematical ideas. Why not head out with your friends, family, or class and see what maths you can spot around you? We’ve had a great time heading out into Oxford and London to see what we can find. Many of us are now carrying cameras all the time thanks to our mobiles, so no matter where or when you spot it, you can grab photos or videos of maths you can use in your Sites.

Why not take a look at some of the examples we’ve come up with, and then start hunting for the maths in your city!

Some examples of maths in the city

The Beehive, Oxford
A really clear explanation of how simple mathematical concepts (shapes and tessellation) play a vital role in the city. The demonstration allows people to explore and discover the ideas for themselves.

The Bridge of Sighs, Oxford
An interesting piece of maths hidden in a beautiful piece of architecture. This is also a chance to highlight the importance of mathematical curves in engineering and architecture.

The ‘Gherkin’, London
Highlights some of the more sophisticated maths that makes our modern architectural icons possible.

Satellite dishes and death rays
A great example of the maths behind a common feature in our cities. The explanation involves maths many of us will have learnt at school.

The Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford
A great way to demonstrate the mathematical idea that created an architectural first.

St Paul’s Cathedral, London
Reveals the mathematical curves that support the dome of this world-famous landmark.