Oxford maths professor tells Mossbourne pupils how prime numbers win soccer matches

One of the world’s best mathematicians gave a lecture to Mossbourne Academy’s sixth formers on the importance of prime numbers in winning football matches.

Marcus du Sautoy, Simonyi Professor for the public understanding of science and Professor of Mathematics at Oxford, gave the talk as part of the Speakers for Schools organisation.

The BBC’s business editor Robert Peston founded the charitable organisation which recruits high achieving individuals to share their wisdom with children from state schools, after noticing many schools which approached him to speak to their pupils were privately run.

Prof Du Sautoy told pupils at the school in Downs Park Road of his conviction that prime numbers can win football matches, using football legend David Beckham’s 17-numbered shirt as an example.

As a regular player with Recreativo FC on Hackney Marshes he tested his theory by changing the team shirts to prime numbers, and claims the team shot up the leagues.

Principal of Mossbourne Academy, Peter Hughes, said: “As a maths teacher myself, I felt we were extremely privileged to have one of the best mathematicians in the world come to our school.

“Prof du Sautoy’s evident enthusiasm for numbers and their real-world applications - from plants to aerodynamics - seemed to captivate the entire audience.”