Inaugural Lecture: Professor Kevin Houston, School of Mathematics

Join us for the next Inaugural Lecture on 17 June as we welcome Kevin Houston, Professor of Mathematics Education and Public Engagement at the School of Mathematics.

An inaugural lecture is a significant milestone in any academic’s career, recognising their promotion to Professor. It also offers an opportunity for our new professorial colleagues to showcase their work and innovative research with a broad audience, including members of the public, family, friends, and colleagues.  

This lecture is the latest in a new series across the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, celebrating those who have joined the University to offer ever greater teaching, research, and expertise across our eight Schools. 

About this lecture 

Professor Houston’s lecture, “Professor Zeeman’s Catastrophe Machine,” takes inspiration from the moment Kevin’s childhood interest in mathematics went beyond what was presented in the classroom – specifically, with Sir Christopher Zeeman’s studies on catastrophe theory, and a simple, easy-to-make mathematical toy he used in public engagement to demonstrate his research.  

In this talk, Professor Houston will tell the story of how this interest led him to a career in Singularity Theory research, and how this shaped his involvement in mathematics education and public engagement. He will delve into the importance of both areas and how they interact; along the way, he will also share lessons learned in lecture rooms, by writing a popular textbook, through serving as the Education Secretary of the London Mathematical Society, while presenting to the public, and by co-founding a conference for maths communicators.   

About our speaker 

Kevin Houston is Professor of Mathematics and Public Engagement at the University of Leeds. His main interests in education are the teaching of proof, and writing and presenting mathematics. He has published a best-selling textbook, How to Think Like a Mathematician, which has been translated into a number of other languages.  

He has been involved in public engagement of mathematics for nearly 30 years from school talks to co-founding the conference for maths communicators, Talking Maths in Public. He has held posts at the University of Liverpool and Middlesex University, and was the Education Secretary of the London Mathematical Society for six years. 

Book your place 

The lecture will take place in the Esther Simpson Building at the University of Leeds, with arrival and registration from 3.45pm in the café, and the lecture commencing at 4pm in Lecture Theatre 1.01. This will be followed by a drinks reception in the Esther Simpson café from 5pm.   

Booking is required to attend this event – you can do so at our dedicated ticket portal.  

If you have any questions please contact the EPS CPD, Conference and Events team via