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A Good Mathematician is a Lazy Mathematician

4 November 2021 @ 14:30 15:30


A Good Mathematician is a Lazy Mathematician


I am not sure when I first heard this phrase, I suspect it was used by one of my sixth form maths teachers, but I have increasingly come to realise how true this is – and what is more remarkable this laziness has actually shaped the way we, and perhaps society, think about mathematics.

The talk will introduce me and give some background about myself and my career to provide context. The main part of the talk will explore some of the short cuts of mathematics, and the influences they have had. Examples will include some of Euler’s thinking and ‘clock arithmetic’ and the use of logarithms pioneered by Napier, Briggs and Oughtred. The talk will be illustrated with slides, and there will also be some mathematical ‘props’ to show.

The talk will conclude with a brief description of some of the ways government uses mathematics, and opportunities of engaging with this, either as employees or otherwise.


Ed’s professional career has been spent as a civil servant in the MOD scientific branch, initially the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency and subsequently the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory. This followed a degree in mathematics at Loughborough University.

Throughout this time Ed has evolved from a junior research scientist to an experienced leader and manager. Currently developing and growing strategic partnerships to ensure Science and Technology can create impact and prosperity across the UK. Ed is a Visiting Professor at Loughborough University.

Ed is an experienced Non-Executive Director and Trustee of several charities and holds fellowships of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, the Royal Aeronautical Society, and the Royal Society for the Arts.

Check back on the day of the event for the Teams link.

This will also be streamed in C12, Monica Partridge Building for those on campus.

Prof Ed Rochead

via Microsoft Teams