The Greek legacy

Find out more about our engaging Greek Legacy Sixth Form Conference on 7 March, with Sixth Form students giving their views.

  • Imperial undergraduate students’ dramatisation of Greek mathematicians’ and philosophers’ lives.

    Imperial undergraduate students’ dramatisation of Greek mathematicians’ and philosophers’ lives.

    Credit: Phil Ball

Sixth Form Conference

On 7 March we held a Sixth Form Conference to celebrate and explore the legacy of Greek Mathematics, generously supported by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. Over 350 Sixth Formers attended the day-long event, some coming from as far as Dorset. The day included several interactive talks and demonstration lectures from our Greek Mathematics Masterclass speakers, a lively dramatization on Greek mathematicians and philosophers from Imperial College undergraduate students and an engaging philosophical debate, starting with the intriguing question: was mathematics invented or discovered?

The day concluded with the launch of our Greek Legacy video and a special visit from Charis Desinioti of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. Further information on the programme of the day is available here.


Feedback from the day was extremely positive, with 95% of students saying that they enjoyed the day. Most students expressed their surprise that numerous theorems still in use today were first proven by the ancient Greeks. Many said they had learned more about the origins of axiomatic mathematics and impact of the Greeks on modern day mathematics and engineering. Several also intended to do more research on ancient Greek Mathematicians, particularly Hypatia. Many described the day as intellectually stimulating and enjoyed approaching mathematics in a more abstract way than usual. They appreciated the chance to hear other people’s ideas about the nature of mathematics, and the opportunity to express their own views.

Student perspective

Zuzanna Kruszona, Megan Roe, Samuel Lawal and fellow students from Ravensbourne School describe their Greek Legacy experience:
“The Greek Legacy day took place in a lecture theatre, and I’d never been in one before. I enjoyed the philosophical discussions between the lecturer and the audience members, who were young people from a range of different backgrounds. The demonstrations including the pendulum were engaging and I learned that triangles can sometimes have a sum of angles greater than 180°! The mathematical puzzles got us thinking from the start and it was interesting to go into so much depth in this subject. I now have a better idea about what it would be like to study maths at university.”

The Greek legacy