Blackett Lecture 2019: Professor Philip Bond

What is the Blackett Lecture?

The Blackett Memorial Lecture is a major event in the Society’s calendar. It provides a high profile forum for leading national and international speakers from public life, academia and/or industry to address the membership and the general public on subjects relevant to current affairs and the advancement of society, in the context of Operational Research and the related areas of Analytics, Data Science and Artificial Intelligence.

This FREE event is open to members and non-members of The OR Society, but online registration is compulsory for all attendees. If you have any queries, please contact Sarah Parry on [email protected]

Talk Title: From high performance teams to a high performance economy; lessons from winning Olympic gold for building a better world

Abstract: If a society is to deliver high standards of living it first needs to deliver high levels of innovation, productivity and performance. But how do we achieve high levels of innovation, productivity and performance throughout the economy? We will take a look at modern approaches to high performance as practiced by formula one, Olympic sports from cycling to skiing, and high performance engineering teams to find some answers, many of which originate in operations research, and consider how me might transform the UK economy and tackle some of the most important global challenges by applying these ideas more widely.

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Professor Philip Bond
Professor of Creativity and Innovation at the University of Manchester, a Fellow at Oxford and Visiting Professor at Bristol University.


Philip studied physics, theoretical physics, applied mathematics, finance and pure mathematics before working as a professional trader and hedge fund manager. He then started a consultancy specializing in problem solving across a wide range of activities including F1, aerospace, government and Olympic sports. He also heads research and innovation for the GB Olympic ski and snowboard teams at GB Snowsport and sits on the Prime Minister's Council for Science and Technology. He chaired the CST subcommittee on artificial intelligence and robotics that led to subsequent new funding of over a billion pounds into those sectors and is currently chairing subcommittee projects on UK productivity, and learning. He chaired the Era of Mathematics – An Independent Review of Knowledge Exchange in the Mathematical Sciences which recommended substantial increases in funding and new infrastructure to support the mathematical sciences and expand their range of impact. He is a fellow in the department of mathematics at Oxford, holds visiting professorships in engineering mathematics and computer science at Bristol University, and is Professor of Creativity and Innovation at the University of Manchester. He has twice held the Guinness world record for the memorisation of the number pi.

Who was Patrick Blackett?

Since 1975, The Operational Research Society's annual lecture has been known as the Blackett Memorial Lecture in honour of Lord Patrick Blackett.

A physicist, Nobel prizewinner and one-time president of the Royal Society, Blackett was one of the pioneers of operational research (OR) during World War 2, when he advocated the employment of scientists to advise on matters of strategy and tactics. Learn more about Patrick Blackett in our light-hearted 'Draw my life' animation: