Daily Mirror: Oxford professor loves maths so much he’s covered in number and shape tattoos

You can read the original article in the Daily Mirror here and in the Daily Star here.

Millie Reeves

Tattoos mean many things to many people. For some they are a form of expression, to others they are a lasting tribute to someone or something.

But for one Oxford professor its his love of maths that has inspired much of his body art.

Dr Tom Crawford is a mathematician at the University of Oxford, he has also made a number (pardon the pun) of appearances on the BBC. But it’s his colourful tattoos – many of which are maths related – that often grab the attention of his audience.

Uploading regularly to his Youtube channel, Tom Rocks Maths, where he has amassed more than 61,000 followers, the numbers whizz has chosen to leave a lasting tribute to many of his favourite theories and equations on his skin.

Here’s some of our favourite and what they mean:

Euler’s identity and Euler’s number

You may have heard the saying ‘there’s beauty in numbers’, and for mathematicians you don’t get much more beautiful than Euler’s identity (pictured on the left).

Why? It’s because it’s the only equation that neatly links up the mathematical constants of pi, i, and e with 0 and 1.

Euler’s number – or simply e – much like the more commonly known pi, goes on forever (hence why Tom has it wrapping around his arm).

Geometric pi

This is certainly a more subtle nod to Tom’s love of maths but remains a homage to geometric pi.

Geometric pi is the ratio between the diameter of a circle and its circumference – so it makes sense that it’s immortalised in a series of bands around his arm.

It seems only fitting for a professor with a head full of numbers to have a colourful tattoo depicting figures literally coming out of the skin.

A homage to maths
Platonic solids

This tattoo, along with the rest of Dr Crawford’s tattoos have been created by Cambridge-based artist, Nat.

Following on from the beautiful numbers, Tom also has a line of five different shapes tattooed down his leg all considered to be extremely aesthetically pleasing.

From bottom to top, the shapes are an icosahedron, dodecahedron, octahedron, hexahedron (or cube) and a tetrahedron.

The Julia fractal is a pattern that repeats forever

A fractal is a pattern which repeats itself forever, meaning it looks exactly the same no matter how closely you continue to zoom in towards it.

They are found everywhere in nature from plants and leaves, to animal circulatory systems and lightning.

Tom’s tattoo is of the Julia fractal.

This problem remains unsolved

Tom’s final maths tattoo is of the Navier-Stokes equations. Named after French engineer Claude-Louis Navier and Anglo-Irish mathematician George Gabriel Stokes, this set of equations models the motion of all fluids on Earth – from the water in rivers and oceans to the air in the atmosphere.

The equations are also the subject of a million-dollar prize for anyone that can prove they will always have a solution.

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