Design a Mathematician Competition

I was really pleased to receive the following email from our judges,

Dear Mrs Jessop

It was almost impossible to decide which Design a Mathematician pictures to give awards to, since there were so many excellent entries in the competition. After a lot of discussion Lotte Hollands (who organised our MathWeek activities) and I decided that we would award one first prize and joint second and third prizes, though there were many more entries that were worthy of mention.

We were both very impressed by the number of different jobs that were drawn – mathematicians don’t just teach maths, and also at how few stereotypical old men with crazy hair were drawn – mathematics is a career for everyone.

At Heriot-Watt University, for instance, five of our recent staff appointments in mathematics have been women and we have many different nationalities working and studying together here.

The first prize was Willow Morgana Mathers – this was an excellently drawn picture of a female mathematician or scientist – or maybe even a medic, all of whom would be using mathematics in their everyday work.

Joint second prize went to Ella Goodall for a designer (and cat) and Malika Sahnoun for a robot mathematician (on a hover skateboard)

Ella showed that mathematics is used in all kind of careers and also drew a great outfit, and as for Malika’s design, we just liked the robot!

Joint third prize went to Mairi for her petsitter and Paul for himself  in a rocket going to space. These were unexpected places to find mathematics being used, but it certainly is important in both cases either for keeping the pet or Paul safe.

Once again congratulations to EVERYONE for the great designs. We had great fun looking at them and arguing about the prizewinners.

I’ve appended pictures of the winners.

Prof Des Johnston

Mathematics Department

Heriot-Watt University

Willow Mathers






Ella Goodall


Malika Sahnoun

Mhairi Glazier

Paul Marcos