How I’m a Mathematician works

I’m a Mathematician, Get me out of here is an online public engagement activity.

By taking part you:

  • develop communication skills
  • gain a fresh perspective on your work
  • find out what young people think about maths

Everything happens online so it’s easy for you to be involved right from your desk or smartphone and at times that suit your schedule.

The format

You put up a profile on this site, answer students’ questions about maths, your work, the universe and beyond, and engage directly with classes in live text-based chats.

Students vote for their favourite mathematician to win £500 to spend on further public engagement.

“One of the most rewarding, fulfilling and thought-provoking periods I have had in science” Deepak, medical researcher

Chats with classes

Chats last 30 to 45 minutes. They happen on our simple messaging platform (all typing, no video or audio needed).

Chats are fast paced and fun. We don’t expect you to attend every chat! Sign up to whatever you can fit into your schedule (watch example chat).

Zones: Groups of mathematicians and schools

The activity is divided into ‘zones’ with a set of 50+ mathematicians and 60+ school classes in each.

A zone could be a General Maths Zone, or themed, for example, a Statistics Zone.

Each zone is live for 4 weeks. You choose your preferred zones and dates when applying.

Time needed

Time commitment is flexible and the format is designed to so you can fit taking part into your normal schedule as much as possible.

Typically, most mathematicians say they spend around 1 to 2 hours on the site on days they log in: 1 hour on live chats and another hour answering students’ questions, which can be outside the work day, for example, during the evening or at lunch…  See how IAS fits into the schedule of a busy scientist.

Questions students ask

Students will ask mathematicians questions about anything they like, about you, your work and STEM in general, from robots to pizza toppings.

All questions are moderated, to remove duplicate questions, as well as rude or offensive ones. The variety of questions and reactions from students are key to the benefits people get from taking part.

Equipment you need

All that’s needed is a computer or other device with internet access. The live chats are text-based and run through this site. Learn more about the advantages of a text-focused format.

Prize money for your project

The students vote for the mathematician they think should win £500 for their own science engagement ideas.

This could be school visits, science fair exhibits, videos or podcasts, blogs, arranging class visits to your lab or office… as long as it’s involving people outside of science, it’s a good idea.

During the activity a Mathematician of the Week is announced every Friday. The overall winner is revealed on the final Friday afternoon.

Check out how past winners in I’m a Scientist have spent their money.

Enhance your learning: IAS Academy

The IAS Academy is a facilitated online course for researchers to take alongside participation in I’m a Mathematician. Based on the NCCPE Engage Framework, it helps researchers understand the fundamentals of quality public engagement.

“Taking part in both allowed me to engage in active, reflective learning. The learning materials were of very high quality and gave me a grounding in key concepts such as science capital and mutually beneficial research” PhD Researcher

You can add access to the course for a small cost to your institution. Find out more about IAS Academy.

Who can apply

Anyone in a job connected to maths is welcome to apply.

The activity shows students the wide variety of careers that maths can lead to, so is open to anyone working in industry and public sectors, and all kinds of mathematicians from academia (PhD students, technicians, research associates, professors…). Currently, undergraduate students are not eligible to take part.


Apply now ❯

If you have any questions at all, contact