Undergraduate Essay Prize

Undergraduate Essay Prize

2021 Prize Announcement

The British Society for the History of Mathematics is pleased to announce winners of its famous undergraduate prize in the history of mathematics for 2021.

The first prize goes jointly to 

Ellen Flower, Oxford University (BA Mathematics), The ‘analysis’ of a century: Influences on the etymological development of the word 'analysis' in a mathematical context to 1750


George Waters, London School of Economics (BSc Economics), Exploring the use of mathematics to obtain consensus

and a runner-up essay prize goes to

Aoife Kearins, Trinity College Dublin (BA Mathematics), Proofs, Partnerships and the Penny Post: How the Development of the U.K. Postal Service Made Mathematics Collaborative.

A new prize run will be announced in January 2022. 

Congratulations to all winners and many thanks to all participants! 

Winners of the previous competitions

2019/20: Quantifying the unquantifiable: the role of mathematicisation of philosophy during seventeenth century Scotland, by Natasha Bailie, Queen's University, Belfast 

We did not award the prize in 2018-19.

The winner of the 2017-18 Essay Prize was Kamilla Rekvenyi of the University of St Andrews, for her essay, Paul Erdös’ Mathematics as a Social Activity. Kamilla was awarded her prize at the BSHM Meeting at Gresham College on 24th October, at 4pm. Her paper was subsequently published in the British Journal for the History of Mathematics, and can be seen here https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/26375451.2019.1593036.

2016/17: Eli Hymson of the University of Exeter for an essay entitled The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Foundationless Mathematics. The judging panel also highly commended  entries by Siddhi Doshi (essay title: The evolution of the game theory as a foundation in economic analysis) and Stefan Kitic (essay title: What is “money” and does its use require “mathematics”?)  of the London School of Economics.

2015/16: Michael Seal (London School of Economics), 'Was there a Revolution in Analysis in the Early 19th Century?' and Brigitte Stenhouse (University of Oxford), 'How Financial Instability Influenced the Mathematical Publications of Mary Somerville'.

2014/15: Edwin Reynolds (University of Oxford), ‘To What Extent Were the Contributions of Cauchy to the Development of Rigour in Analysis Influenced by Those of Lagrange?'

2013/14: Remus Stana (University of Glasgow), 'Mathematics in Nazi Germany' .

2012/13: Ryan Stanley (University of Exeter), 'Dedekind, Cantor and the rigour of calculus' .

2011/12: Stephanie Crampin (University of Oxford), 'The contribution of Évariste Galois to the founding of group theory' and Nicole Johannesen (University of St Andrews), 'The application of mathematical understanding in the ancient Olympic Games'.