Undergraduate Essay Prize

Undergraduate Essay Prize

Call for submissions is now open!

The British Society for the History of Mathematics is pleased to invite submissions for its 2018-19 undergraduate essay prize. The essay may be on any topic within the history of mathematics and should be no more than 2500 words in length (excluding references). The competition is open to any person who is enrolled as an undergraduate in a UK or Irish university during the academic year 2018-19. The value of the prize is £100, plus free membership of the Society for three years. The winner is invited to give a talk at the BSHM Research in Progress meeting which is usually held in Oxford in February of the year following the award.

The deadline for receipt of submissions this year is the 21st June 2019. 

How to submit 

To submit, follow the usual (Harvard recommended) referencing and formatting systems and use the submission form which you can access here

Any problems, contact our Education Officer, Dr Snezana Lawrence

Winners of the 2018 competition

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 be awarded her prize at the BSHM Meeting at Gresham College on 24th October, at 4pm.

The two, highly commended, runners up were

Tabitha Ogilvie, University of Oxford, for her essay Euler, Legendre, and Gauss: Who knew the law of quadratic reciprocity?


Toby Peres, University of St Andrews, for his essay The Use and Development of Mathematics within Creative Literature

Previous winners

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'.