Morbid Maths

Maths and morbidity may at first seem unrelated. However, they share some surprising connections. Explore how maths has been used to predict one’s own death, how it is used in burial ceremonies and its connection to mathematical murderers.

A black-white photo of André Bloch.

Did you know there was a mathematician that murdered his family?

André Bloch. Image credit:

A drawing of Cardano in profile, looking left.

Did you know that Girolamo Cardano predicted the date of his own death… by killing himself?

Image credit: Girolamo Cardano. Line engraving by K. Ammon, 1652. Public Domain Mark, via Wellcome Collection

Maths and Literature

Maths and literature may seem opposing disciplines, but they can complement each other enormously. Discover the mathematical conceptions framed in works of fiction and the analogies they create.

Drawing of a typical (two-dimensional) house in Flatland.

Did you know that maths was used to roast Victorian society?

Image credit: Houghton Library, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Picture of a number of pies covered by the number pi.

Did you know that people wrote poems and songs to help remember the digits of 𝜋?

Image credit: Oksana Mizina, Shutterstock Standard Image License, via Shutterstock

Cultural Maths

For thousands of years, maths has been used in innovative ways by cultures around the world. Learn about the mathematical secrets of the Inca and Roman Empires, ancient China, and more.

The title page of the table of logarithms of trigonometric functions from Napier's 1614 work table of logarithms of trigonometric functions Mirifici Logarithmorum Canonis Descriptio.

Did you know that in Egyptian hieroglyphics, symbols resembling a pair of legs were used to represent either addition or subtraction?

Image credit: John Napier, Public domain, via Wikimedia commons

Picture of the Omar Calendar and Tablet

Did you know that time zones were invented 800 years before railroads made them necessary?  

Image credit: Baruch Zvi Ring, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Women in Maths

Women have contributed greatly to the development of maths, despite facing many societal challenges. Explore the lives and work of famous female mathematicians and ground-breaking schemes for female mathematical education.

Picture of Margaret Murray, a woman around her 60s wearing a necklace, short white hair length and looking at the left.

Did you know that Margaret Murray was the University of St Andrews’ first female graduate in mathematics and natural philosophy?

Image courtesy of Hutchesons’ Grammar School.

A hand drawn portrait of Hypatia. She is pictured from the shoulders up, the right-hand side of her head facing the viewer. Her hair is tied into a bun and she is wearing a small headband.

Did you know that an early female mathematician was murdered by an angry mob? 

Image credit: Elbert Hubbard, public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Maths Epic Fails

Mistakes are common in maths, even for great mathematicians. Discover the errors and miscalculations of mathematicians throughout history.

A photo of Claudius Ptolemäus.  A hand-drawn picture of a man with antique attire, wearing a hat and looking at the left.

Did you know that, Ptolemy, a mathematician famous for his wrong model?

Image credit: Theodor de Bry, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

A staute of Aryabhata with one of his fingers pointing to the front.

Did you know that a century Indian mathematician, made a silly mistake in his book Aryabhatiya where he defined the square incorrectly?

Image credit: Mukerjee, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

St. Andrews Mathematics

St Andrews has been home to countless influential mathematicians and mathematical innovations. Explore notable St Andrews graduates, ground-breaking mathematical undertakings, and more.

A close up picture of the HIV bacteria. Redbig circles with a blue background.

Did you know that St Andrews mathematics graduate Jane Wadsworth was an important figure in the near eradication of HIV in the UK?  

HIV virus (in red) when viewed under an electron microscope.
Image credit: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on Flickr, CC BY 2.0 DEED via Wikimedia Commons.

A picture of a diploma by the University of St Andrews that allowed women to study in University.

Did you know that the University of St Andrews allowed women to study university-level mathematics long before they were admitted onto degree courses in Scotland?

Completed L.L.A. Certificate from 1902.
Image credit: University of St Andrews Libraries and Museums.

Maths in Everyday Life

Mathematics plays an important, yet often unrecognised, role in our day-to-day lives. Learn how to spot mathematical constructs in Islamic art, discover the secrets of blackjack, and decipher the hidden codes which helped to end the Second World War.

Iron statue of Alan Turing, a man sitting at a desk using an enigma machine

Did you know that a man used cryptographic mathematics to help end WWII? 

Statue of Alan Turing on display at Bletchley Park. 
Image credit: ‘Photos of Turing and his World’, via Codebreaker.

Picture of the Arches of Ibn Tulum Mosque, the geometric patterns of islamic art are portrayed.

Did you know that geometric patterns are a defining characteristic of Islamic art and architecture, gracing mosques, palaces, decorative art, and even furniture?

Arches of the Ibn Tulun Mosque.
Image credit: Michael Huniewicz, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Scroll to Top