London Institute in 2021

2021 was transformative for the London Institute. We hired new talent, published pioneering research and moved into Faraday's rooms at the Royal Institution. We also compiled a list of the top 23 mathematical challenges of our time, to remind ourselves and others to aim high.

The London Institute is now located at the Royal Institution in Mayfair. It was here that Sir Humphry Davy identified nine elements of the periodic table and Michael Faraday uncovered the principles of electromagnetism. There could be no more inspiring place for us to work.

Our papers span five main research themes, from mathematics that unifies to the theory of human enterprise. Our output exceeded that of the previous year by 41%, part of our plan to double it every two years. We concentrate on the quality of our papers and not just the quantity.

  • Global minimization via classical tunneling assisted by collective force field formation

    FCF. CaravelliFSF. SheldonFL Science Advances

    Breaking classical barriers

    Circuits of memristors, resistors with memory, can exhibit instabilities which allow classical tunnelling through potential energy barriers.

  • Machine-learning the Sato–Tate conjecture

    YHY. HeKLTO Journal of Symbolic Computation

    Learning the Sato–Tate conjecture

    Machine-learning methods can distinguish between Sato-Tate groups, promoting a data-driven approach for problems involving Euler factors.

  • Universes as big data

    YHY. He International Journal of Modern Physics A

    Universes as big data

    Machine-learning is a powerful tool for sifting through the landscape of possible Universes that could derive from Calabi-Yau manifolds.

  • Emergent spatial patterns of coexistence in species-rich plant communities

    PVTGGCG. Caldarelli Physical Review E

    Coexistence in diverse ecosystems

    Scale-invariant plant clusters explain the ability for a diverse range of plant species to coexist in ecosystems such as Barra Colorado.

  • Conditional entanglement transfer via black holes: restoring predictability

    AAODO. DahlstenLM New Journal of Physics

    Going, going, gone

    A solution to the information paradox uses standard quantum field theory to show that black holes can evaporate in a predictable way.

  • Quantum speed-up in global optimization of binary neural nets

    YLDEFLODO. Dahlsten New Journal of Physics

    Quick quantum neural nets

    The notion of quantum superposition speeds up the training process for binary neural networks and ensures that their parameters are optimal.

  • Modelling the interplay between the CD4+/CD8+ T-cell ratio and the expression of MHC-I in tumours

    CJAMA. MozeikaAA Journal of Mathematical Biology

    Tumour infiltration

    A delicate balance between white blood cell protein expression and the molecules on the surface of tumour cells determines cancer prognoses.

  • The physics of financial networks

    MBM. BardosciaPBP. BaruccaSBFCGC... Nature Reviews Physics

    Physics of financial networks

    Statistical physics contributes to new models and metrics for the study of financial network structure, dynamics, stability and instability.

  • Dessins d’enfants, Seiberg-Witten curves and conformal blocks

    JBJ. BaoOFYHY. HeEHE. HirstJR... Journal of High Energy Physics

    QFT and kids’ drawings

    Groethendieck's “children’s drawings”, a type of bipartite graph, link number theory, geometry, and the physics of conformal field theory.

  • Update from the ReIMAGINE Prostate Cancer Screening Study NCT04063566: Inviting Men for Prostate Cancer Screening Using Magnetic Resonance Imaging

    TMNMJHSTLB... European Urology Focus

    Cancer screening with MRI

    An ongoing study tests the feasibility of using MRI scans to screen men for prostate cancer in place of unreliable antigen blood tests.

  • Controlling systemic risk: Network structures that minimize it and node properties to calculate it

    SMGCG. CaldarelliVZ Physical Review E

    Risky bank interactions

    Networks where risky banks are mostly exposed to other risky banks have higher levels of systemic risk than those with stable bank interactions.

  • Exact results on high-dimensional linear regression via statistical physics

    AMA. MozeikaFAMSFAF. AntenucciACA. Coolen Physical Review E

    Exact linear regression

    Exact methods supersede approximations used in high-dimensional linear regression to find correlations in statistical physics problems.

  • Common asset holdings and systemic vulnerability across multiple types of financial institution

    PBP. BaruccaTMLS Journal of Financial Stability

    Channels of contagion

    Fire sales of common asset holdings can whip through a channel of contagion between banks, insurance companies and investments funds.

  • Acute immune signatures and their legacies in severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 infected cancer patients

    SALBTAIdAG... Cancer Cell

    Cancer and coronavirus

    Cancer patients who contract and recover from Coronavirus-2 exhibit long-term immune system weaknesses, depending on the type of cancer.

  • True scale-free networks hidden by finite size effects

    M.SGCAMARS.S... Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA

    True scale-free networks

    Naturally occurring networks have an underlying scale-free structure that is often clouded by finite-size effects in the sample data.

  • Recursively divisible numbers

    TFT. Fink The American Mathematical Monthly

    Recursively divisible numbers

    Recursively divisible numbers are a new kind of number that are highly divisible, whose quotients are highly divisible, and so on.

  • Transitions in loopy random graphs with fixed degrees and arbitrary degree distributions

    FAACA. Coolen Arxiv

    Transitions in loopy graphs

    The generation of large graphs with a controllable number of short loops paves the way for building more realistic random networks.

  • Coarsening without interfacial energy

    RFR. Farr

    Microstructural coarsening

    Rapid temperature cycling from one extreme to another affects the rate at which the mean particle size in solid or liquid solutions changes.

  • Scale of non-locality for a system of n particles

    STITI. Teimouri Arxiv

    Scale of non-locality

    The number of particles in a higher derivative theory of gravity relates to its effective mass scale, which signals the theory’s viability.

  • The World in a Grain of Sand: Condensing the String Vacuum Degeneracy

    YHY. HeSLMZ Arxiv

    Condensing the String Landscape

    The few-shot machine learning technique reduces the vast geometric landscape of string theory vacua to a tiny cluster of representatives.

  • Aging is favored by natural selection in a changing environment

    TFT. FinkMK Draft for Physical Review Letters

    I want to be forever young

    As the maximum age of a population decreases, it grows slower but converges faster, favouring programmed death in a changing environment.

  • On the number of biologically valid logics

    TFT. Fink Draft for Physical Review E

    Biological logics are restricted

    The fraction of logics that are biologically permitted can be bounded and shown to be tiny, which makes inferring them from experiments easier.

  • Recursively abundant and recursively perfect numbers

    TFT. Fink Draft for Proceedings of the London Mathematical Society

    Ample and pristine numbers

    Parallels between the perfect and abundant numbers and their recursive analogs point to deeper structure in the recursive divisor function.

  • The mathematical structure of innovation

    TFT. FinkITI. Teimouri Draft for Nature Communications

    Recursive structure of innovation

    A theoretical model of recursive innovation suggests that new technologies are recursively built up from new combinations of existing ones.

Our events included a talk about the Theory of Everything, a conversation with Sir Roger Penrose and a workshop to figure out the top 23 mathematical challenges. Our new home in the Royal Institution provides us with the space and reach to attract larger audiences than ever.

  • The science of storytelling

    13 Dec 2021

    The science of storytelling

    Prof. Alison Woollard explores the science of storytelling and storytelling in science—a neglected virtue in modern scientific research.

  • The Theory of Everything

    01 Dec 2021

    The Theory of Everything

    Professor Yang-Hui He tells the captivating story of the holy grail of science: the mathematical quest for a unifying theory of everything.

  • In conversation with  Sir Roger Penrose

    26 Oct 2021

    Talking to Penrose

    Sir Roger Penrose talks about physics, philosophy and art in a conversation with Thomas Fink and Yang-Hui He in the Faraday lecture theatre.

  • Mathematics & machines

    27 Sep 2021

    Mathematics & machines

    Conrad Wolfram describes how two brothers harnessed machines to do mathematics, changing the way we think about computational thinking.

  • Cheers to Brits and Yanks

    22 Sep 2021

    Cheers to Brits and Yanks

    Princeton and Caltech alumni celebrate Faraday’s birthday at the London Institute for Mathematical Sciences, inside the Royal Institution.

  • Serendipity in business, finance and physics

    21 Sep 2021

    In search of serendipity

    The London Institute is hosting a lunch at the Royal Institution to promote serendipity between leaders in business, finance and physics.

  • Autumn board meeting

    01 Sep 2021

    Autumn board meeting

    At its autumn meeting, our Board discusses our application for core funding, a new Fellow, upcoming events and planning our first endowment.

  • Mathematical Dialogues

    01 Aug 2021 – 13 Aug 2021

    Mathematical Dialogues

    Yang-Hui He co-organises the Nankai Symposium on dialogues between mathematics and physics, with the plenary talk by Sir Roger Penrose.

  • Greek week

    20 Jun 2021

    Greek week

    What is the limit to human achievement? To find out, we sent a team to a Greek island for a week to immerse themselves in a single problem.

  • Summer board meeting

    01 Jun 2021

    Summer board meeting

    At its summer meeting, our board meets our new finance director and discusses fundraising, core funding, research output and 23 challenges.

  • 23 mathematical challenges

    26 Mar 2021

    23 mathematical challenges

    A one-day symposium of physicists and mathematicians to write down a list of the 23 most important mathematical challenges of our time.

Our perspectives are essays that express the London Institute’s interests and point of view, while contributing to the national debate on how to fund and carry out science. They include opinion pieces in The Times, The Spectator, Science in Parliament and The Daily Telegraph.

  • Why we must boldly go


    Why we must boldly go

    The human impulse to look beyond the horizon, “to boldly go where no man has gone before”, leads us to the most transformative discoveries.

  • 23 mathematical challenges


    23 mathematical challenges

    To mark the launch of ARIA, which aims to tackle the toughest problems, we made a list of the top 23 mathematical challenges of our time.

  • The intelligent organisation


    The intelligent organisation

    Showing up for work makes organisations more intelligent, because it let’s workers switch between focus and interaction in an unplanned way.

  • Britain’s version of DARPA


    Britain’s version of DARPA

    As the government creates its Advanced Research and Invention Agency, it could learn from the exceptional history of the Royal Institution.

  • The London Institute moves to the Royal Institution

    Move to the Royal Institution

    The London Institute has moved into the iconic Royal Institution, where it will expand its programme of curiosity-driven theoretical science.

  • We need more research done outside universities


    Independent science

    Supporting non-university research institutes with core funding will finally give aspiring researchers an alternative to a university job.

The people we employ range from writers to researchers and financiers to physicists, since a top-class institute requires scientists and support staff alike. We recruited two researchers, a string theorist and a biophysicist, and our first Finance Director and Development Director.

  • Yang-Hui He


    Yang-Hui He

    Algebraic geometry, string theory, quantum field theory and machine learning.

  • Ali Emamy

    Finance Director

    Ali Emamy

    Strategic planning, financial reporting, project accounting and risk mitigation.

  • Forrest Sheldon

    Junior Fellow

    Forrest Sheldon

    Nonlinear dynamics, disordered systems, inference and neuromorphic computing.

  • Sarah Myers Cornaby

    Director of development

    Sarah Myers Cornaby

    Philanthropy, fundraising, development, communications and big gift initiatives.