Logging the World - Oliver Johnson

Event date
Event time
17:00 - 18:00
Event cost
Mathematical Institute, Radcliffe Observatory Quarter
Information for visitors with disabilities


Target audience
Parents, Students, Teachers
Age range
Age 15-16 (year 11), Age 16-17 (year 12), Age 17-18 (year 13)
Required Book here

During the pandemic, you may have seen graphs of data plotted on strange-looking (logarithmic) scales. Oliver will explain some of the basics and history of logarithms, and show why they are a natural tool to represent numbers ranging from COVID data to Instagram followers. In fact, we’ll see how logarithms can even help us understand information itself in a mathematical way.

Oliver Johnson is Professor of Information Theory in the School of Mathematics at the University of Bristol. His research involves randomness and uncertainty, and includes collaborations with engineers, biologists and computer scientists. During the pandemic he became a commentator on the daily COVID numbers, through his Twitter account and through appearances on Radio 4 and articles for the Spectator. He is the author of the book Numbercrunch (2023), which is designed to help a general audience understand the value of maths as a toolkit for making sense of the world.

Please email external-relations@maths.ox.ac.uk to register.

The Oxford Mathematics Public Lectures are generously supported by XTX Markets.