Want to be a popular maths author?

Share this page

Sharpen your pencils and get writing!

We're happy to announce a competition for short popular maths articles, of 500 to 1500 words, open to Plus readers of all ages and backgrounds. The winning article (and possibly runners up) will be published in a forthcoming book provisionally named fifty, which will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications in 2014. All Entries will be judged by the IMA50 editorial team: Chris Budd, Alan Champneys, Marianne Freiberger, Paul Glendinning, Steve Humble, Rachel Thomas and Ahmer Wadee. Entries that don't make it into the book may be published on Plus.

Your article should appeal to any fan of popular science books, or just to the mathematically curious, and be aimed at an international audience. But at the same time the article should avoid the over-simplification that can frustrate those with mathematical training. Winning articles will be edited by the editorial team.

Roughly speaking the articles should fall into one of five categories:

  • The best maths of the last 50 years: including strange or interesting biography
  • Popular maths: sport, arts (prose, poetry and visual media), social science
  • Maths at work: medicine, finance, the environment, government
  • Quirky maths, humour, spoof and magic
  • Philosophy/psychology of maths, maths in education

Entries can be accepted in any reasonable file format. For those that are familiar with Latex, this is our preferred format.

Before writing your article download our style guidelines and the Latex template (if you are going to use Latex). You may also want to have a look at some writing tips.

Articles should be submitted by email to IMA50@maths.cam.ac.uk by the 15th January 2013 with "competition entry" as the email subject.

Any questions concerning the competition should be emailed to 50book@ima.org.uk.

Happy writing!


Recommend LaTeX ssubmissions but supply writing guidelines in .docx <-- What is this I don't even...

How about a non-proprietary format like pdf?


Hi, this competition sounds really exciting! Me and my friend have an idea for an entry, but do you know if that is allowed please? That is, are two people allowed to submit a joint entry?

Oh, this is fantastic news! Sorry about the confusion, I thought it was the same competition (it looked the same to me I'm afraid!). Both me and my friend have been meaning to fill in the forms for IMA membership for a while and thought it would now be a race against time, phew!


Only articles in english would be considered?


I sent you my work, together with my authenticity declaration, by e-mail; have I to send you my work through fax ? Thank you.