Masterclass history

Discover more about the exciting history of Ri Masterclasses spanning over four decades.

  • Christopher Zeeman

    Christopher Zeeman presents the 1978 CHRISTMAS LECTURES.

    Credit: Royal Institution

  • Christopher Zeeman presents the 1978 CHRISTMAS LECTURES.

    Christopher Zeeman presents the 1978 CHRISTMAS LECTURES.

    Credit: Royal Institution

  • Christopher Zeeman

    Christopher Zeeman and maths education at the Ri.

    Credit: Royal Institution

History

The Mathematics Masterclasses started from the interest sparked by Professor Sir Christopher Zeeman's CHRISTMAS LECTURES 'Mathematics into pictures' televised in 1978. These lectures are now available to watch on the Ri Channel.

In 1981, the first secondary Mathematics Masterclasses were set up offering keen London children the opportunity to be enthused by and discover new mathematics in a fun, engaging, yet mathematically-rich session. 

Primary Mathematics Mastercalsses have been taking place for the past 15 years.  We started a network of Engineering Masterclasses in 2013, following on from very successful pilot Engineering series which have been running in London since 2009. We now have over 140 series of primary and secondary Mathematics Masterclasses and Engineering Masterclasses around the country.

Over 30,000 students have attended our Masterclasses since 1981.

Watch

Alumni

The team are trying to trace as many former Masterclass attendees as possible. If you have been to Masterclasses in the past, we would be fascinated to hear your story. Please get in touch by emailing 30years@ri.ac.uk for more information.

Information for past attendees

30th anniversary

In 2011, we celebrated the 30th anniversary of the start of the Masterclasses with a number of events taking place throughout the year, including special anniversary Masterclasses delivered around the UK.

On Friday, 28 January 2011, the Friday Evening Discourse, entitled 'Mathematics into pictures, 30 years on' focused on the story of the Masterclasses, which are now run by over a hundred groups around the country.

You can listen to the audio of this event below:

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