skip to content



Tuesday 24th January 2023 to Wednesday 25th January 2023

Isaac Newton Institute

United Kingdom

This in-person two-day workshop aimed to explore the challenges in communicating important mathematics to the public through a variety of streams, including the media and government.


Mathematics is a tool used to explain both simple and complex ideas using logic and reasoning to a variety of audiences. Audiences include not only mathematics students or other professionals, but also journalists, policy makers and the general public. It was therefore of great importance to reflect on both successful and unsuccessful forms of mathematical communication in order to develop better mechanisms to communicate effectively with diverse audiences.
One very notable example of the importance of mathematical communication was during the COVID-19 pandemic, where mathematical models of the spread of COVID-19 were regularly used to explain to the general public the reasoning behind various government intervention policies. As we witnessed, poor communication can lead to distrust and misinformation being spread, but good presentation has helped media and government make sense of what has been happening.
This event followed on from the three-day virtual study group on The Public Perception of Science hosted by the Gateway and V-KEMS in May 2022. This study group brought mathematical scientists and other disciplines together to solve challenges related to trustworthy communication, communicating mathematics and misinformation. There was more to learn, especially about what happens out of the public eye, and communication was one of the challenges raised at the recent CMS Town Hall event.

Aims and Objectives

In this workshop, we aimed to investigate the role of various parties in the communication route between mathematicians/statisticians and the public, bringing together not only mathematical and statistical communicators, but also representatives from the media and government.
Across the 2 days, we aimed to explore the following three main themes

  1. Mediating processes
  2. Good practice
  3. Learning from experience.

The aim was to share understanding across as broad a range of applications as possible.

This event was an in-person only event, however recordings will be made available (where we have speaker permission) on the programme page after the event. 

Registration, Venue and Dinner

Registrations for this event are now closed. 

The workshop took place at the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences in Cambridge, United Kingdom. Please visit the Isaac Newton Institute website for further information about the venue.


The Isaac Newton Institute is pleased to have supported the Communicating Mathematics for the Public event and is exploring the idea of longer term follow up activities. Please find in the attachment below a list of 5 proposed activities. 
We would be grateful if you could spend a few minutes completing this questionnaire to help us gauge interest in future follow up activities related to communicating mathematics.

Tom King and Kevin McConway wrote an article following the event which highlighted some of the potential next steps. 

Following the event, Hannah Thomas, Lead support for communicating data, statistics and analysis at the Government Analysis Function, published a blog post on ‘Lessons learned at the “Communicating maths for the public” event’.

Following on from this in an  INI Living Proof Podcast, Dan Aspel and Maha Kaouri interview Hannah Thomas, Lead Support for Communicating Data, Statistics and Analysis at Government Analysis Function. 

Plus have written a best practice guide for communicating maths to non expert audiences:


Supported by: