Ronald Ross and Hilda Hudson: a surprising collaboration on the theory of epidemics

Hosted by the Department of Mathematics

Online and in-person public event (Auditorium, Basement, Centre Building)


Professor June Barrow-Green

Professor June Barrow-Green


Professor Bernhard von Stengel

Professor Bernhard von Stengel

During WW1, the famous physician Ronald Ross teamed up with a young geometer, Hilda Hudson, and together they effectively founded mathematical epidemiology. This is the story of their collaboration.

In 1916 the physician Ronald Ross published the first of three papers on the mathematical study of epidemiology or, as he called it, ‘pathometry’. The second and third of these papers appeared the following year co-authored with the mathematician Hilda Hudson. At the time Hudson, who had ranked equivalent to the 7th wrangler in the 1903 Cambridge Mathematical Tripos, was well known for her work on Cremona Transformations. So how and why did Hudson, a geometer, end up collaborating with Ross, winner of the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1902 for his work on the transmission of malaria? And what role did she play? In her talk June Barrow-Green shall discuss the nature and extent of their collaboration, as well as the content and significance of their work.

Meet our speaker and chair

June Barrow-Green is Professor of History of Mathematics (Open University) and Visiting Professor at LSE's Department of Mathematics. June was awarded the 2021 Wilkins-Bernal-Medawar Medal and Lecture by the Royal Society, and was previously the President of the British Society of the History of Mathematics from 2003-2005. June was invited to speak at the 2022 International Congress of Mathematicians (where the Fields Medal is awarded).

Bernhard von Stengel (@bvonstengel) is Professor of Mathematics in the Department of Mathematic at LSE.More about this event

The Department of Mathematics (@LSEMaths) is internationally recognised for its teaching and research in the fields of discrete mathematics, game theory, financial mathematics and operations research.

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