Katie Steckles

Mathematician, presenter and communicator

About

Katie Steckles is a mathematician based in Manchester, who gives talks and workshops and writes about mathematics. She finished her PhD in 2011, and since then has talked about maths in schools, at science festivals, on BBC radio and TV, at music festivals, as part of theatre shows and on the internet. She lectures part-time in mathematics at Sheffield Hallam University, in the Institute of Education.

Current projects include:

  • Organising conferences and delivering training events for maths communicators, including planning the Talking Maths in Public conference in August 2023
  • Writing monthly posts for the Heidelberg Laureate Forum's Spektrum.de SciLogs blog
  • Online and in-person talks and workshops about mathematics
  • Producing and organising the 24 Hour Maths Game Show, which took place at the end of October
  • Commissioning editor for an upcoming popular maths book project, working with three other authors
  • After-dinner speaking, and preparing and running maths-themed icebreakers and quizzes for conferences and events

Longer-term projects, with links, are listed below.

MathsJam

Katie is the organiser of MathsJam, a monthly pub night for people who want to share maths toys and games, puzzles and other interesting mathsy things. Katie runs the Manchester meetings and helps to run the annual Gathering, coordinates the organisers of over 60 MathsJams worldwide, and helps to maintain the MathsJam website.

The Aperiodical

Katie blogs as part of the team at The Aperiodical, an online maths magazine. One of the site's three editors, Katie posts news and opinion pieces, as well as curating content and helping to run the Carnival of Mathematics.

Sheffield Hallam University

Katie lectures part-time at SHU, teaching modules in the Institute of Education on complex numbers and cryptography, mathematical thinking and dynamical systems and fractals. She has also previously taught in the mathematics department, on group theory and linear algebra. Katie also contributes to SHU's outreach programme, and is currently chair of the SHU Recreational Mathematics Research Cluster.

YouTube

Katie appears in a lot of YouTube videos, including several on the YouTube channel Numberphile, talking about her favourite bits of maths. She has also appeared in one of James Grime's videos for the MathsWorldUK YouTube account. Katie's own YouTube channel, which she updates when she can, includes one on gift wrapping which has had over half a million views.

Online Work

Since 2020, Katie has hosted the 24 Hour Maths Magic Show on her YouTube channel and delivered a variety of online talks and training workshops, including interactive art sessions and puzzle events. She's also co-organised variety shows including Clopen Mic Night, and created virtual venues for conference events using Gather.town.

Think Maths

Katie has delivered talks and workshops in schools for Think Maths with Matt Parker, engaging students with off-curriculum mathematics. Working with Matt, Katie ran the Domino Computer project at Manchester Science Festival in 2012, the MegaMenger international fractal construction project in 2014, and the Mirror Pillar anamorphic art project in 2018.

Josh Award

In 2016, Katie was awarded the Joshua Phillips Award for Innovation in Science Engagement, was the official Science Communicator in Residence for the 2016 Manchester Science Festival, and ran the Manchester MegaPixel project as part of the festival. Press release (PDF)

Radio & TV

Katie appeared on the 2018 Christmas Special episode of QI, to explain a mathematical concept through the medium of beer. She has also appeared several times on BBC radio, including talking to the BBC World Service about topical maths news, guest spots for BBC Radio Manchester talking about maths puzzles, and as part of a Naked Scientists programme about the Millenium Maths Problems for BBC Radio 5 Live Science, in July 2015. She has also appeared as a guest expert in two episodes of Channel 4's SuperShoppers, on a BBC Live Lesson in January 2018, and on the Discovery Science Channel's 'Mythical Beasts' in the US.

Podcasting

Katie has recorded six series of the Mathematical Objects podcast with Dr Peter Rowlett. In 2014, Katie worked with Peter and the Further Maths Support Programme (now the AMSP) to produce a series of podcasts, called Taking Maths Further. Each episode features an interview with someone who uses maths in their work, plus some discussion on the mathematics, and a puzzle.

Past Projects

Photo by Steve Best, Nine Lessons and Carols for Curious People 2018

Testimonials

Her mathematical passion is only equalled by her knowledge and her clever demonstrations.

Cheltenham Science Festival

2015 brochure

Obviously a gifted presenter. Wonderful explanation and inspired both of the children (12 and 14) to investigate mathematics further!

Cambridge Science Festival

Audience feedback

Like Ghostbusters, but for maths!

BBC Radio Manchester

Production Assistant

Dr Katie Steckles is not just an amazing mathematician, but has proved to be a great speaker who holds the audience extremely focused.

Cambridge Science Festival

Audience feedback

I really like the maths lady, I want to be a mathematician

Year 7 Student

London

Get in touch

If you'd like to book Katie for an event, enquire about consultancy or get her involved in a project, or if you have any questions, please get in touch by email.

Email Katie @stecks on Twitter @stecks on Mathstodon.xyz Katie on YouTube