Hannah Fry

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Hannah Fry
Hannah Fry at the Data of Tomorrow Conference 2017 (36638999274) (cropped).jpg
Hannah Fry at the Data of Tomorrow Conference in 2017
Born (1984-02-21) 21 February 1984 (age 35)
ResidenceLewisham, London
CitizenshipUnited Kingdom
Alma mater
Scientific career
  • University College London

Hannah Fry (born 21 February 1984)[1] is a British mathematician, lecturer on the Mathematics of Cities, television presenter, podcaster and public speaker. Her work includes studying the patterns of human behaviour, such as relationships and dating and how mathematics can apply to them.

Early life[edit]

Fry is of Irish descent.[2] She attended Presdales School in Ware, Hertfordshire.[3] Fry studied mathematics at University College London[4] and stayed there to obtain a doctorate in fluid dynamics. In 2011 she qualified for the doctorate with a thesis entitled "A Study of Droplet Deformation".[5]


At the Data of Tomorrow conference, 2017

Fry regularly appears on radio and television in the UK, including in Computing Britain,[6] The Curious Cases of Rutherford & Fry[7] (with Adam Rutherford) and Music By Numbers. In the BBC 2 series City in the Sky, [8] Fry studies the logistics of aviation. She has expressed concern about the future of the aviation industry, speculating that switching to electric planes or downsizing aircraft size may be a suitable long-term alternative.[4]

On 30 March 2014, Fry gave a TED talk at TEDxBinghamtonUniversity[9] titled "The Mathematics of Love," which has attracted over 4.3 million views.[10] Following the TED talk she published a book on the topic, The Mathematics of Love: Patterns, Proofs, and the Search for the Ultimate Equation, in which she applies statistical and data-scientific models to dating, sex and marriage.[11]

On 17 September 2015 Fry presented a film biography of Ada Lovelace for BBC television.[12]

In 2016, Fry co-presented the television programme Trainspotting Live with Peter Snow, a three-part series about trains and trainspotting, for BBC 4.[13] She also hosted The Joy of Data, which examines the history of data and how they affect us today.[14] A further credit for the year was her co-hosting an episode of UK TV series Horizon with Dr Xand van Tulleken titled "How to Find Love Online".[15]

In 2017, Fry presented an episode of Horizon titled 10 Things You Need to Know About the Future.[16] The following year, she presented Contagion! The BBC Four Pandemic, a programme about the possible impact of a flu pandemic.[17]

Fry has featured in several videos for a YouTube mathematics channel, Numberphile, run by Brady Haran.[18] She has also made an appearance on his podcast, The Numberphile Podcast. [19]

Hannah Fry hosted a one-off 90-minute special of the BBC science programme Tomorrow's World along with four presenters from the show’s original run, Maggie Philbin, Howard Stableford, Judith Hann and Peter Snow. The show was broadcast at 9pm on BBC 4 on 22 November 2018.[20]

In 2019, Fry presented a BBC 4 show titled A Day in the Life of Earth.[21] The show revealed how much our planet can change in just a single day and how these daily changes are essential to our existence.


Fry has published three books. The first, The Mathematics of Love, includes the "37% rule", a form of the secretary problem according to which roughly the first third of any potential partners should be rejected. The second, The Indisputable Existence of Santa Claus (co-authored with fellow mathematician, Thomas Oléron Evans), discusses various Christmas-related topics and how mathematics can be involved in them, including a fair Secret Santa, decoration of Christmas trees, winning at Monopoly, and comparing the vocabulary of the Queen's Christmas message to Snoop Dogg.[4] Her third book is Hello World: How Algorithms Will Define Our Future and Why We Should Learn to Live with It. It looks at the impact of algorithms that affect lives.

Personal life[edit]

Fry lives in Lewisham, southeast London with her husband and two children.[22][23]


On 1 February 2013, Fry won the University College London Provost's Public Engager of the Year award.[24] The award recognises the work that UCL's staff and students are doing to open up at the university. Hannah was nominated for her broad portfolio of public engagement activities -  including schools outreach, public lecturing, cafe scientifique, stand up, broadcasting, podcasting and charity work - which sit at the core of her practice as an academic.

The board recognised Hannah's commitment to engaging people in the abstract beauty of mathematics and its utility in our complex world, making communicating research and the ideas of her field central to her academic career. They also noted her eye for evaluation and efforts in continually developing and improving her approach, based on ongoing learning.[25]

On 8 August 2018, the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications and London Mathematical Society announced that Fry had won the 2018 Christopher Zeeman Medal "for her contributions to the public understanding of the mathematical sciences".[26]


  • Fry, Hannah (2015). The Mathematics of Love: Patterns, Proofs, and the Search for the Ultimate Equation. Simon & Schuster / TED. ISBN 9781476784885.
  • Fry, Hannah; Oléron Evans, Thomas (2016). The Indisputable Existence of Santa Claus. Double Day. ISBN 9780857524607.
  • Fry, Hannah (2018). Hello World: How Algorithms Will Define Our Future and Why We Should Learn to Live with It. WW Norton /. ISBN 9780393634990.


  1. ^ "Hannah FRY - Personal Appointments (free information from Companies House)". beta.companieshouse.gov.uk. Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  2. ^ "My Story/ Dr Hannah Frey". Elle. 1 January 2017. Retrieved 18 December 2018.
  3. ^ "Mathematics Department Speaker – Dr Hannah Fry". www.presdales.herts.sch.uk. Presdales School & Sixth Form. Retrieved 18 December 2016.
  4. ^ a b c "In conversation with Hannah Fry". Chalkdust Magazine. University College London. 24 March 2015.
  5. ^ Fry, Hannah. "A Study of Droplet Deformation" (PDF). Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  6. ^ "Computing Britain". BBC. Retrieved 10 July 2016.
  7. ^ "The Curious Cases of Rutherford & Fry". BBC. Retrieved 10 July 2016.
  8. ^ "City in the Sky". BBC. Retrieved 10 July 2016.
  9. ^ "TEDx 2014 at Binghamton University". binghamton.edu. Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  10. ^ Fry, Hannah. "The mathematics of love". ted.com. Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  11. ^ Buchan, Kit (19 June 2016). "Hannah Fry: 'There's a mathematical angle to almost anything'". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  12. ^ "Calculating Ada: The Countess of computing". bbc.co.uk. 17 September 2015. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  13. ^ "Meet the stars of new TV show 'Trainspotting Live'". thetelegraph.co.uk. 11 July 2016. Retrieved 11 July 2016.
  14. ^ "The Joy of Data". BBC Four. Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  15. ^ "How to Find Love Online, 2016, Horizon". BBC Two. Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  16. ^ "10 Things You Need to Know About the Future". bbc.co.uk. 19 June 2017. Retrieved 20 June 2017.
  17. ^ "Contagion! The BBC Four Pandemic". bbc.co.uk. 22 March 2018. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  18. ^ "The Team". Numberphile. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
  19. ^ https://www.numberphile.com/podcast/hannah-fry
  20. ^ https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2018/nov/03/bbc-to-reboot-tomorrows-world-for-one-off-live-special
  21. ^ "BBC Four - A Day in the Life of Earth". BBC. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  22. ^ "Exploring the mathematics of love". stuff.co.nz. 15 March 2015. Retrieved 29 August 2018.
  23. ^ Fry, Hannah. "The mystery of why left-handers are so much rarer".
  24. ^ UCL (1 February 2013). "Dr Hannah Fry wins Provost's Public Engager of the Year award". The Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  25. ^ UCL (1 February 2013). "Dr Hannah Fry wins Provost's Public Engager of the Year award". The Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  26. ^ Hannah Fry is awarded 2018 Christopher Zeeman Medal, IMA. Retrieved 9 September 2018

External links[edit]