Prof Ian Strachan elected as President of the Edinburgh Mathematical Society

Thursday 22nd October, 2015

At the AGM of the Society, held at the ICMS on Friday 16th October 2015, our very own Prof Ian Strachan was elected as the 122nd President (counted with multiplicities). Ian explains the work and activities of the Society below.


The Edinburgh Mathematical Society was founded in 1883, and is one of the oldest such societies in the world (the Moscow, London, Finnish, French and Danish societies being older).

The most visible and well-known activities of the Society are:

(i) the publications of the Proceedings of the Edinburgh Mathematical Society (for details see:;

(ii) the society’s public meetings (including an annual public lecture) which rotate around the main Scottish Universities  (for details see:

(iii) awarding small research grants (for details see: and the Whittaker Prize for Research (awarded every four years, and last awarded to our own Dr Stuart White).


The EMS also holds a postgraduate students’ meeting at the Burn House, near Edzell.

Less well known is the support we give to support mathematics in Scottish schools. In the academic years 2011-15 we considered 112 applications and distributed over £40 000 from our Schools Enrichment Fund to projects in places ranging from Shetland to Dumfries and Galloway.

Even less well-known is the behind the scene lobbying the Society does to support mathematics in Scotland:

(iv) we are now part of the Learned Societies Group of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and have contributed to recent Holyrood committee deliberations on STEM education in Schools;

(v) we lobby the Scottish Funding Council (don’t get me started on the fact that the SFC underfunds mathematical research as compared to HEFCE!).


In 2008 we became members of the UK’s Council for the Mathematical Sciences, and we are also corporate members of the European Mathematical Society.

The President is directly involved in all these activities, and convenes the main committees and attends most of the others.

If you are not a member, and wish to support the enhancement of the mathematical sciences, particularly in Scotland, please consider joining: see Mathematical sciences PhD students at the Scottish universities are entitled to free membership, so do encourage them to join.

Ian Strachan

President, Edinburgh Mathematical Society.