British Mathematical Olympiad

IMO Lecture and Celebration

Each year (generally in September) the achievements of that year’s IMO team are celebrated with a lecture and reception. The team are re-presented with their medals, together they give a short account of the IMO and the training programme, and there is a mathematical lecture (for a fairly general audience) by an invited lecturer. Sometimes team members in other international competitions may also be re-presented with medals and talk about those events, the IMO programme prizes are presented, and there may be special one-off awards such as the medal given to David Monk in 2008 for forty years’ service.

Invitations to the lecture and celebration are sent to people typically including team members and their families and volunteers who have been involved in training and selection during the year, and schools entering BMO1 are invited to send groups of pupils subject to available space.

Some past and planned lectures are listed below, and the missing details are welcome. The 1978–1981 lectures were held at the Royal Institution under the aegis of the Schools Mathematics Project. The 1982–2015 lectures were held at the Royal Society, except for the 1994 lecture which was held at the University of Birmingham. From 2016 to 2018 the lecture was held at the Science Museum. In 2019, 2021 and 2022 the lecture was held at Central Hall Westminster.

1st1978R F Churchouse
2nd1979Professor David G Kendall
3rd1980Professor Roger Penrose
4th1981Dr R W HiornsMathematics and the Future of Man
5th30 September 1982Professor T J WillmoreAn extract from the Lady’s and Gentleman’s diary
6th22 September 1983Dr John H ConwayString and Mathematics
7th27 September 1984Professor C Ambrose RogersGeometry: weird and wonderful
8th19 September 1985Professor Fred PiperCodes & Ciphers – how to keep secrets
9th25 September 1986Dr Keith DevlinFactoring Fermat Numbers
10th29 September 1987Dr Robin J WilsonThe four-colour theorem
11th14 September 1988Dr Clive KilminsterEuler’s constant; with thoughts on censorship and an open question
12th27 September 1989Professor Christopher ZeemanCurves of constant diameter
13th25 September 1990Dr Ian StewartFour Encounters with Siepinski’s Gasket
14th17 September 1991Dr Roger WebsterThe Tail of π
15th15 September 1992Dr Peter NeumannDid Galois deserve to be shot?
16th30 September 1993Professor Frank LeppingtonSome problems and paradoxes in mathematics
17th29 September 1994Professor David WilliamsRandomness: The only source of order
18th27 September 1995Dr Colin WrightJuggling – Theory and Practice
19th16 September 1996Professor J Chris RobsonSound as a Bell
20th15 September 1997Dr Tony GardinerThe Nature of Mathematical Ability
21st21 September 1998Dr John RigbyOkumura’s Double Tiling
22nd27 September 1999Dr Tom KörnerWhy are we not all called Smith?
23rd18 September 2000Professor Chris BuddWhy does nature care about rational numbers?
24th24 September 2001Dr John SilvesterGeometry ancient and modern
25th23 September 2002Dr David AchesonMathematics, Magic and the Electric Guitar
26th29 September 2003Professor Adrian SmithWhy Detectives and Judges need to understand probability
27th20 September 2004Professor Tim GowersHow to specify very very large integers
28th19 September 2005Professor Frances KirwanTopology, Geometry and Strings
29th25 September 2006Professor Sir Christopher ZeemanGyroscopes and Boomerangs
30th1 October 2007Professor Marcus du SautoyThe Music of the Primes
31st7 October 2008Professor David SpiegelhalterHow long do we have to wait?
32nd21 September 2009Professor James DavenportThe Mathematics behind the Internet
33rd20 September 2010Professor Imre LeaderClueless Voting
34th26 September 2011Professor József PelikánThe early years of the International Mathematical Olympiad
35th1 October 2012Professor Ben GreenPrime Numbers
36th30 September 2013Professor Kevin BuzzardSolving equations using geometry
37th25 September 2014Professor Bernard SilvermanMathematics and Science in the Home Office
38th21 September 2015Professor Adam McBrideMathematical Challenges
39th26 September 2016Dr Zuming FengFrom classroom to contest (slides, short version of slides available)
40th25 September 2017Dr Vicky NealeClosing the Gap (video available)
41st24 September 2018Professor Ursula MartinAda Lovelace 1815–1852: mathematician and computer pioneer (video available)
42nd23 September 2019Dr Jeremy KingThe Romanian Polygon Game (video available)
No event in 2020 because of COVID-19 pandemic
43rd13 September 2021Professor Imre LeaderPursuit and Evasion (video available)
44th26 September 2022Professor Sir David SpiegelhalterTrying to explain the maths of the pandemic (video available)
45th25 September 2023Professor Joan LasenbyAn Algebra of Geometric Objects…and how to use it in Maths, Physics and Engineering