Hannah Fry

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Mathematician & Broadcaster

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Having studied fluid dynamics and working briefly in F1, Hannah returned to academia and now lectures in the mathematics of cities. She’s also a science broadcaster, bringing numbers and data to life on TV and radio in programmes including The Joy of Data, City in the Sky, and The Curious Cases of Rutherford and Fry. She examines how maths underpins almost everything and the world of data: how it’s gathered, what it can (and can’t) tell us, and how it’s applied from tracking down serial killers to predicting customer needs.


Hannah Fry is a mathematician and broadcaster. She is a Associate Professor in the Mathematics of Cities at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at University College London. As well as her university work she is a regular presenter of science and maths programmes on BBC TV and radio.

Having specialised in fluid dynamics, Hannah worked briefly in Formula 1 aerodynamics before returning to academia. At UCL she works with physicists, mathematicians, computer scientists, architects and geographers to study the patterns in human behaviour - particularly in urban environments – to answer questions from shopping habits to transport to riots. Beyond life in a city, she also considers the maths of the everyday; how numbers and formula can explain behaviours, predict patterns and reveal the truth behind commonly held myths.

Hannah takes unusual examples of how data and models are used in everything from locating serial killers, the analysis of fertility in cows, and predicting malarial water sources. She uses these illustrations to examine how data is collected, used, how reliable it is and what its limitations are. Beyond the abstract, she also considers customer data and how companies like Airbnb and Uber use their data. She also reveals the difference between a nerd and a geek.

As well as all aspects of data, Hannah looks at how artificial intelligence is finding new ways to use it. She reveals how AI is being applied in areas as sensitive as criminal sentencing and whilst not perfect it still outperforms humans in delivering unbiased decision-making. She considers the controversies, ethical considerations, and the scare-stories, as she does in her book Hello World: How to be Human in the Age of the Machine.

Hannah’s TED speech and book The Mathematics of Love reveals the stats behind romance from when to compromise to the odds on finding love, and it lasting. She returned to the idea with the BBC Horizon episode How to Find Love Online.

On television, Hannah has explored Climate Change By Numbers, recounted the story of computing pioneer Ada Lovelace in Calculating Ada: The Countess of Computing, and looked at how a million people at any point in time are travelling by plane in City in the Sky. She also co-hosted BBC Four’s Trainspotting Live and The Joy of Data. On radio, she’s appeared on Computing Britain, Can Maths Combat Terrorism, on the Radio 1 show Music by Numbers, and co-hosts (with geneticist Adam Rutherford) Radio 4’s The Curious Cases of Rutherford and Fry.

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