‘Here’s Looking at Euclid’ – Maths Week 2015

Euclid in Arabic edited by the thirteenth century Persian Nasīr al-Dīn al-Tūsī, in a Rome edition printed in 1594

For Maths Week 2015, Marsh’s Library was delighted to present ‘Here’s Looking at Euclid’
, a public talk by Professor Robin Wilson.

Little is known about the man who wrote the most influential maths book of all time, but Euclid’s Elements was the main geometry textbook for over two thousand years. In this talk Professor Wilson surveyed the mathematical accomplishments of ancient Greece, from the Pythagoreans and Plato’s Academy to Euclid and Archimedes and their successors.



Professor Robin Wilson is Emeritus Gresham Professor of Geometry, a professor in the Department of Mathematics at the Open University, and a Stipendiary Lecturer at Pembroke College, Oxford. Professor Wilson also regularly teaches as a guest Professor at Colorado College.

Professor Wilson’s academic interests lie in graph theory, particularly in colouring problems, e.g. the four colour problem, and algebraic properties of graphs. He also researches the history of mathematics, particularly British mathematics and mathematics in the 17th century and the period 1860 to 1940 and the history of graph theory and combinatorics.

Outside of the strict mathematical canon, Professor Wilson is particularly interested in the musical output of Gilbert and Sullivan – an interest that has given rise to publications and two Gresham College lectures: ‘The Other Side of Sullivan’ and ‘A Sing-In with Gilbert and Sullivan’.

Prior to his appointment as Gresham Professor of Geometry in 2004, he was the Visiting Professor in the History of Mathematics. Upon his appointment to the Geometry chair, Professor Wilson said: ‘Mathematics is, and has always been a central part of human culture, and I do not believe that one can fully understand the subject if it is separated from its historical roots. My proposed lectures are designed to support this conviction.’

All of Professor Wilson’s past lectures at Gresham College can be accessed at:


For more information on Robin Wilson, please visit:


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