Tony Mann

Making a ball unexpectedly materialise

Director, Greenwich Maths Centre
The University of Greenwich

National Teaching Fellow, 2008

Contact: phone (+44) (0) 20 8331 8709, Email:, Twitter @Tony_Mann

Research interests: mainly history of mathematics. I also maintain a very incomplete list of mathematical fiction. From 2012 to 2015 I held the position of Visiting Professor of Computing Mathematics at Gresham College.

Leonardo's perpetual motion machine

Here I'm demonstrating "Leonardo da Vinci's perpetual motion machine" (as sold by the V&A at their recent Leonardo exhibition). In fact this implementation is based on the principle of the "Uphill roller" described by William Leybourn in Pleasure with Profit (1694). For more information see Julian Havil's article in Plus magazine.

See me on video:

Here's a report of a talk to the Maths Society at Eltham College.

Some publications:

Recent projects:

  • Mathematical Motivators: Mark McCartney (University of Ulster), Noel-Ann Bradshaw (University of Greenwich) and I, funded by a grant from the HEA MSOR Network, created a range of resources about the history of mathematics. These are intended to complement the mathematics curriculum in higher education and show how the mathematics studied at University came about. The resources can be found at the project website and are described in this article in MSOR Connections and in this conference paper.
  • Being a Professional Mathematician: Chris Good (University of Birmingham) and I are working on a project, funded by the National HE STEM Programme Mathematics Curriculum Innovation Fund, to create resources for the HE mathematics curriculum on "Being a Professional Mathematician". There will be a workshop about this project in the spring of 2012 and, very shortly, a project website.

Professional Bodies and Learned Societies:

Member (and President 2009-2011): British Society for the History of Mathematics
Secretary and Treasurer, Leonardo da Vinci Society
Member (and Editor for the Newsletter), London Mathematical Society
Fellow, Institute of Mathematics and its Applications
Member, the Mathematical Association
Fellow, Higher Education Academy

I am a member of a number of societies relating to my interest in the history of mathematics, including the Edinburgh Mathematical Society, the European Mathematical Society, and the Computer Arts Society (a specialist group of the British Computer Society).