OSB archive
OSB archive

Finding the maths on your street

Pete Wilton

A series of walking tours launched next week show how you can discover the maths hidden in our urban surroundings.

Anyone can join the free tours of London and Oxford which explore how cities – their buildings, roads, railways, sewers, and power systems – are all built on mathematical foundations.

The tours are part of Maths in the City, a project led by Marcus du Sautoy, Charles Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University’s Department for Continuing Education. The project’s website has many more examples of hidden maths in cities across the globe and invites people to contribute their own mathematical finds.

The first London tour starts next week and will travel from Tate Modern to St Paul’s Cathedral, explaining the maths underpinning the architecture, networks, topology and resonance of the capital, as well as getting people involved in fun demonstrations.

More tours of both London (running April-June) and Oxford (running March-May) are planned over the coming months with the tours led by a crack team of Oxford maths students.

However, if you can’t wait you can always explore the tours online and even print off a guide to take the walks yourself.