Schools Prize in the History of Mathematics

Schools Prize in the History of Mathematics

Every year the British Society for the History of Mathematics gives prizes for the best essays or presentations on some aspect of the history of mathematics. Our School Plus competition is done in cooperation with the +Plus Magazine. We give awards to two age groups: 11-15 year olds and 16-19 old students. Please note previous winners or runners up in a specific age group cannot submit another entry for that age group. The competition is only open to those studying in schools in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. 

The British Society for the History of Mathematics is delighted to launch the school prizes in the history of mathematics for 2023-2024. This year we are asking you to write or make a presentation/film/song (or make a submission in any other medium) on Non-western Mathematics (i.e. the indigenous mathematics of Africa, the Americas, Asia or Australasia). No topic within this area is off limits, but your story of course has to relate to a real historical development or event. Submissions which do not relate to this subject area will not be considered.  For further details, please continue reading and any queries can be sent to Dr Ciarán Mac an Bhaird, BSHM Education Officer (   

Essay submissions should be 1000 words max in length (excluding references), other media submissions should be of equivalent length–video/audio content might be approximately 5 minutes in length. If you are submitting in a format other than writing, please upload your submission to a cloud storage provider and submit a covering document with a link to this upload. 

There will be two first prizes (£100) in the above groups, and as many run-up prizes (£20 each) as we find appropriate. As a winner or a runner-up, apart from the financial reward, you will also get a certificate, and a free BSHM subscription for a year. 

Submit your entry here.

Deadline is 28th June 2024, midnight.  We look forward to considering your submissions!

Previous years' winners

2022-23 (11-15 category) Inez Sheikh, Putney High School, ‘How to become an Olympic Swimmer’. (16-19 category) Erin McGurk, Altrincham Grammar School For Girls, 'Three Lions, Two Russian Mathematicians, One Game: Optimising Football Strategy'.

2021–2022 (11–15 category) Isi Holdom, City of London School for Girls, 'Wordle: The Numbers Game'. (16–19 category) Daria Gal, Notting Hill and Ealing High School, 'The Fourier Series: the lens to see the mysteries of the world'. 

2020–2021 (11–15 category) Mathematics and the mysterious world of creating gold, by Daria Gal, from Notting Hill and Ealing High School and (16–19 category) A story of secrecy and security: the key to unlocking prime numbers, by Carys Williams, Monmouth School for Girls

2019-2020 (11-15 category): Genius of the East, The Discovery and Application of Trigonometry, by Reyan Saeed, Chigwell School, Essex

2019-2020 (16-19 category): Godel’s Proof, by Beatrice Bannister, The Henrietta Barnett School, London. No further prizes were awarded this year. 

2018-19: Madi Scott, from Greenhead College Huddersfield, for an essay entitled A Proof of Euclid of Alexandria’s importance and influence within the field of Mathematics. No further prizes were awarded this year. 

2017-18: Pippa Wakelin from Kendrick School in Reading who won in the 11-15 category for her paper on the History and Uses of Infinity and Charles Austin, from Norwich School in Norwich, who won in the 16-19 category for his paper on Calculating Risk: Where would we be without the mathematics of risk?

2016-17Nicholas Munro (age 11-15  category) of the Sackville School, Kent, for an essay entitled A brief exploration of mathematical modelling, and Dougal Houston (age 16-19 category) of Godalming Sixth Form College, Surrey, for an essay entitled The pioneers of mathematics and where we would be without them.

2015-16 BSHM Schools Plus Competition was won by Chiara Falls, from Guildford UK, for an essay entitled Discovering Links Between Maths and Architecture. Chiara was presented with her prize at the BSHM meeting at Birkbeck, University of London on 21 May 2016.