I’m a Mathematician is an online public engagement activity that gets all kinds of mathematicians – anyone with maths at the centre of their work – (in the private sector, public sector, academia… everyone!) talking to school students across the UK.
You’ll develop communication skills, gain a fresh perspective on your work, and find out what young people think about maths. It’s even a chance to win prize money for further public engagement. Register your interest using the form below.
How it works
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.
You put up a profile on this site, answer students’ questions and engage directly with students in live text-based chats. It’s also a competition. Students vote for their favourite mathematician to win £500 to spend on further public engagement.
Who can apply
The activity shows students the wide variety of careers that maths is important for, so you could be a:
- Sports Analyst
- PhD Student
- Bank Cashier
- Finance Administrator
You do not need to have a PhD in Maths. If you’re using maths everyday, you’re probably eligible. To check if you’d be accepted, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Maths teachers: You are already the key mathematician in your students’ lives. Want to connect them with people in a range of maths roles? Find out how to use I’m a Mathematician with your class.
The questions students ask
Students will ask you questions about anything they like: about you as a person, your work and maths in general.
All questions are moderated, to remove duplicate questions, as well as rude or offensive ones. The variety of questions you get and reactions from students are key to the benefits people get from taking part.
Live chats with classes
Live chats last 30 minutes; they are text-based, fast paced and fun. We limit the chats to 3 a day, but usually there will be fewer. We don’t expect you to attend every chat!
Evictions up the excitement
In the competitive version, starting on Tuesday of the second week, the person with the fewest votes will be ‘evicted’ at 3pm each day, until one is left to be crowned the winner on the last Friday! Students get a new vote every day, so there’s always something to play for. Being evicted just means you can’t win the prize, you can still chat with students.
Prize money for your projects
One mathematician in every zone wins £500 to be spent on a STEM engagement project: school visits, science fair exhibits, videos or podcasts, blogs, arranging class visits to your place of work. Check out how past winners have spent their money in sister event I’m a Scientist.
Time commitment is flexible and the format is designed to so you can fit taking part into your normal schedule as much as possible.
Most people say they spend around 1-2 hours a day on the site; maybe 1 hour on live chats and another hour answering students’ questions, which can be during the evening, outside of the work day, on the train home… Each run of the activity usually takes place over two weeks. As an example, see how IAS fits into the schedule of a busy scientist.
Zones: A group of mathematicians and schools
The activity is divided into ‘zones’, usually including six mathematicians and 10-12 schools in each one.
Equipment you need
All that’s needed is a computer with internet access. The live chats are text-based (no video or audio needed) and run through this site. Find out more about the benefits of a text-focused format.
When applying you will usually write a short summary explaining your work to 13/14 year olds when they apply. Students and teachers rate these summaries, to guide who is selected for each zone.