5 Big Questions: BOBBY SEAGULL
The Possibility ClubMarch 11, 202234:3263.23 MB

5 Big Questions: BOBBY SEAGULL

How do make maths less icky?

How do you maximise your new celebrity to try and push education reform?

How could you logic someone to death?

In this week’s 5 Big Questions interview we talk to mathematician, teacher and quiz show legend BOBBY SEAGULL

Twitter: @Bobby_Seagull | @theanswertrap

Insta - @bobby_seagull

Known for:

  • Mathematician & Teacher
  • Presenter - Monkman & Seagull’s Genius Guide to Britain (BBC)
  • Presenter - Monkman & Seagull's Genius Adventures (BBC)
  • Presenter - Monkman & Seagull's Polymathematical Adventure (BBC)
  • Series Regular - The Answer Trap (Channel 4)
  • Author - The Life-Changing Magic of Numbers
  • Columnist - The Financial Times
  • Honorary Fellow - Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals
  • Former Trader - Lehman Brothers 

The Big 5 Questions:

  1. How do you measure the impact of what you do?
  2. How should people/businesses be preparing for the future?
  3. How do we build the workforce we need for that future?
  4. How do you use creativity to solve problems?
  5. How do you collaborate?

Key quotes:

“I genuinely thought the pinnacle would be I’d get to brag about it in school. Oh, Mr Seagull, he went on a TV quiz show!”

“I always steer the conversation from University Challenge towards education.”

“What would I like to be on my gravestone? I’d like it to say: ‘Mr Seagull made maths a little bit less icky.’”

“My initial touch point is, I still teach real students and I have to tell them off.”

“Part of the way the charity operates is high profile ambassadors. Through my media and celebrity interactions, I’ve become friends with Katya Jones from Strictly, Peter Sorkins the Bake Off champion, and I’ve recruited them to become numeracy champions. I’m always trying to use my new connections.”

“With maths the nature of it is quite binary, so you’re right or wrong, whereas with writing and the arts you can get a graded feedback.”

“Whatever society is offering you, try to dabble in as many things as you can. You don’t quite know where your strengths lie, or where society will take you. Take advantage of all the different opportunities.”

“You can’t have scientists sitting in one separate part of the world and the arts, the creative people, separately, you need them to be collaborating.”

“You can’t logic someone to death. You still need to appeal to people’s sense of humanity.”

“Collaboration happens when people like other people.”

Useful links:

Bobby Seagull // http://bobbyseagull.com

The Answer Trap // channel4.com/programmes/the-answer-trap

University Challenge YouTube supercut // youtu.be/CipbwKL4LE4

Lehman Brothers (Wikipedia) // wikipedia.org/wiki/Lehman_Brothers

Johnny Ball (Wikipedia) // wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Ball

Johnny Ball - Think Of A Number (YouTube) // youtu.be/UHGPJVw1u1I

National Numeracy charity // nationalnumeracy.org.uk

The Real Dirty Dancing // channel4.com/programmes/the-real-dirty-dancing

Industrial Revolution (Wikipedia) // wikipedia.org/wiki/Industrial_Revolution

Moore’s Law (Wikipedia) // wikipedia.org/wiki/Moore's_law

Quantum computing (Wikipedia)


The Uncanny Valley (Wikipedia) // wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncanny_valley

C.P. Snow - ‘The Two Cultures’ lecture // wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Two_Cultures (Wikipedia)

‘The Two Cultures’ book (Amazon) // amazon.co.uk/Two-Cultures-Canto-Classics/dp/1107606144


This episode was recorded in February 2022

Interviewer: Richard Freeman for always possible

Editor: CJ Thorpe-Tracey for Lo Fi Arts