Seagull in an advertisement for Argos
|Born||1984 (age 36–37)|
|Alma mater||Royal Holloway, University of London |
Emmanuel College, Cambridge
|Institutions||East London Science School|
Bobby Seagull (born 1984) is a mathematician, teacher and writer. He appeared on the television programme University Challenge in 2017, and in 2018 on Monkman & Seagull’s Genius Guide to Britain. His first book, The Life-Changing Magic of Numbers, was published in 2019.
Early life and education
Seagull, the second of his parents' four sons, grew up in the London Borough of Newham. His parents immigrated to East Ham from Kerala in India. Asked by an interviewer in 2017 about his "pretty unusual" name, Bobby Seagull explained, "My dad was very taken by the book Jonathan Livingston Seagull". He attended St Michael's Primary School followed by St Bonaventure's in Upton Park. He is a fan of local football club West Ham United.
When he was growing up, his father would take his boys regularly to East Ham Library, where Seagull was encouraged to find books that interested him. His headteacher was Michael Wilshaw. He saw an advertisement for sixth form scholarships at Eton College, and was successful in his application. Seagull started studying mathematics at the University of Oxford, but left his degree and graduated from Royal Holloway, University of London.
After graduating from Royal Holloway, University of London, Seagull joined Lehman Brothers as a trader. He was there during the financial crisis, and has spoken about the days before it filed for bankruptcy. He left banking and worked as an accountant for Pricewaterhouse Coopers. During this time, Seagull was involved with voluntary work and training new graduates.
Seagull completed a master's degree in education at the University of Cambridge whilst completing his newly qualified teacher (NQT) year. He has taught at Chesterton Community College, Cambridge and East London Science School. Seagull is a part-time Maths teacher at a secondary school in London. He has created mathematics raps for his school classes. He is also leading a course on money management at the Open University. Since the start of 2018, Seagull has been pursuing a doctorate at the University of Cambridge concerning "mathematical anxiety and phobia".
He has been a columnist for the Financial Times since January 2018. Seagull has since become a national campaigner to improve maths literacy. He is concerned that in the United Kingdom it is acceptable to celebrate being bad at maths as if it is a badge of honour. He is also an advocate for maths teachers, supporting them in the creation of new materials and campaigning for better pay. He has said he wants to be the "Jamie Oliver of maths..Jamie Oliver helped to introduce healthy food in schools. I would love to be the equivalent for mathematics where I can help change how people nationally think about it". He has created maths puzzles for BBC Bitesize, as well as working with Rachel Riley.
Seagull releases regular maths challenges on BBC Radio 4. In 2018 he taught mathematics to three BBC News presenters, Naga Munchetty, Jayne McCubbin and Tim Muffett, before they retook their General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) mathematics paper. He presents the podcast Maths Appeal with Susan Okereke. He briefly worked at Chesterton Community College as a maths teacher for around two years.
Whilst working at East London Science School, Seagull was made captain of the Emmanuel College University Challenge team. During the competition he was praised for his enthusiasm, and his name started to trend on Twitter. He met Eric Monkman in the semi-final, where Monkman's team (Wolfson College) won. Whilst the pair started as rivals, they went on to form a friendship and began broadcasting together.
Seagull and Monkman were given their own radio show, Monkman and Seagull's Polymathematical Adventure, in 2017. Seagull and Monkman co-hosted their first television series, Monkman & Seagull's Genius Guide to Britain, in 2018. In the show, the pair travelled the United Kingdom to identify Britain's technological achievements. In 2020 they followed up with Monkman & Seagull's Genius Adventures.
In 2019 Seagull became an advocate for investment in public libraries, working with the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) to front the 'Libraries Deliver' campaign as a national 'Library Champion'. In 2020, Seagull was awarded Honorary Fellowship of CILIP. 
Seagull has appeared on the YouTube channel Football Daily on a number of occasions, specifically in their Stat Wars series. He has also participated as a panelist on the BBC Radio 4 discussion programme Any Questions?.
- Seagull, Bobby (2019). The Life-Changing Magic of Numbers. Penguin. ISBN 9780753552803.
- Seagull, Bobby (2017). The Monkman And Seagull Quiz Book. Eyewear Publishing. ISBN 978-1911335993.
- Chris Elliott (14 April 2017). "... Bobby Seagull". Emmanuel College's University Challenge star has revealed what it's like to become a celebrity. Cambridge News ("Cambridgeshire Live"), Waterbeach. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
- "Bobby Seagull: The teacher who wants Britain to love maths". Tes. Retrieved 2019-07-09.
- "How West Ham fan Bobby Seagull is using football to make maths cool". West Ham United F.C. 16 May 2021. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
- Thomas, Glynn (2017-04-13). "The University Challenge star propelled by a love of maths". For staff. Retrieved 2019-07-09.
- "Young Critics Review 2019 - Bobby Seagull (by Jamie Robinson) | Lichfield Festival unique arts projects across the West Midlands". Retrieved 2019-07-09.
- admin (2017-11-08). "Numeracy doesn't end after school, it's something we use for the rest of our lives". National Numeracy. Retrieved 2019-07-09.
- "Seven questions with... Bobby Seagull | Cambridge Mathematics". www.cambridgemaths.org. Retrieved 2019-07-09.
- Amy Walker (17 August 2018). "University Challenge duo Eric Monkman and Bobby Seagull to star in BBC show". The Guardian.
- "Bobby Seagull". Financial Times. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
- "Meet Bobby Seagull: the east London genius fighting for Britain to love maths". Time Out London. Retrieved 2019-07-09.
- "University Challenge's Bobby Seagull says he turned down Celebrity Big Brother". Irish News. 2018-08-14.
- "Challenge Your Brain with Bobby Seagull's Maths Puzzles". Bitesize. BBC. Retrieved 2019-07-09.
- "BBC Radio 4 - Today - Puzzle for Today". BBC. Retrieved 2019-07-09.
- "Maths Appeal on Apple Podcasts". Apple Podcasts. Retrieved 2019-07-09.
- Caroline Westbrook (17 September 2018). "Who are Eric Monkman and Bobby Seagull and how are they best known?". Metro.
- "BBC Radio 4 - Monkman and Seagull's Polymathic Adventure". BBC. Retrieved 2019-07-09.
- "BBC Radio 4 - Today, Monkman and Seagull on life after University Challenge". BBC. Retrieved 2019-07-09.
- "BBC Two - Monkman & Seagull's Genius Guide to Britain, Series 1, England". BBC. Retrieved 2019-07-09.
- "BBC Two - Monkman & Seagull's Genius Guide to Britain". BBC. Retrieved 2019-07-09.
- "BBC - Monkman and Seagull go on a clever journey around Britain for new BBC Two series - Media Centre". www.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2019-07-09.
- Jones, Natalie. "News & Press: News: CILIP announces Honorary Fellowships including Library Champion Bobby Seagull". CILIP: The library and information association.