Maths in the City

The Maths in the City project was an EPSRC-funded public engagement initiative led by Marcus du Sautoy, the Charles Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford. The project was produced and managed by TALL.

The broad aims of the project were:

  • to provide the general public with an experience that links mathematical ideas with the real world in a meaningful way;
  • to help more people understand the importance and relevance of maths by exploring a wide range of mathematical concepts found in the urban environment and nature;
  • through interaction with mathematicians, to help people discover that maths is all around them and that maths can be fun and accessible;
  • to empower citizens to engage in a dialogue with architects/city planners by increasing their understanding of how maths is embedded in the urban environment;
  • to develop the next generation of science communicators/maths ambassadors.

Marcus du Sautoy, mathematician, best-selling author and broadcaster, and his team of Mathemagicians led walking tours of London and Oxford in 2012. Devised by young mathematicians and drawing upon the professional expertise of architects and engineers, as well as contributions from the general public, the tours provided participants with an opportunity to interact with practicing mathematicians and discover that maths is all around them. By exploring our environment - architecture, engineering, transport systems and nature - through the eyes of a mathematician, people were able to more readily link mathematics with the real-world in a meaningful and creative way. The project encouraged young mathematicians to enhance their public engagement skills and equip them specifically to guide the maths walking tours.

Supporting material was developed including an interactive project website that continues to host further explanations of mathematical concepts and examples of maths in the urban environment, as well as virtual versions of the Oxford and London walking tours. It also enables the general public to create and contribute their own examples of maths in the urban environment.

The project began in October 2010, ended in October 2012, and the site was shut down in 2016.

Pictures and information about maths in cities, with search and tour booking options.

The Maths in the City homepage.

Text and pictures about the Tate Modern, The bridges of Königsberg, and a map indicating the Tate Modern's location.

The Maths in the City 'Graphs and networks at the Tate Modern, London' page.

The project's walking tours of Oxford and London that explore some of the mathematical features of the cityscape are now hosted by the Oxford Mathematical Institute. For further information about TALL's contribution to the project contact: