Tony Mann

Making a ball unexpectedly materialise

Director of Resources, School of Computing and Mathematical Sciences
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. If you're on Facebook, check out the group Who invented mathematics? I also maintain a very incomplete list of mathematical fiction.

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 recent talk to the Maths Society at Eltham College.

Recent 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:

President: 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 of the Council of the UK Mathematics Trust
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, the Computer Arts Society (a specialist group of the British Computer Society)and the Scientific Instrument Society. I am also a member of the Birkbeck Neo-Latin Reading Group and attend the monthly Early Modern Philosophy and the Scientific Imagination Seminar series (EMPHASIS).