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The Liverpool Mathematical Society (LivMS) was founded in 1899 as a meeting place for "persons interested in Mathematics" with the support of professors at the then University College. Meetings involved the reading of papers by members and discussion of the topics raised. The Society met regularly except for a gap between November 1917 and October 1919.

The first serious involvement in the teaching of mathematics in schools seems to date from 1924 with a well attended meeting on the Report on the Teaching of Geometry issued by the Mathematical Association (which had itself started life as a Society for the reform of the teaching of geometry). In 1928, teachers in secondary schools and others interested in mathematics were invited to a meeting "to discuss the best ways of extending the work of the Society". After this, there were many talks on the teaching of mathematics including discussion of school syllabuses and examinations. In 1929 the Society took steps to become affiliated to the MA.

In the mid 1970ís, James Taylor came to the University of Liverpool as Professor of Pure Mathematics. He recently had been Chairman of the Joint Mathematical Council (JMC) and felt that there was need for greater contact between the University and teachers of Mathematics in local Secondary Schools. He sent round a MEMO inviting all Heads of Maths in Merseyside schools and colleagues in other Higher Education establishments to a meeting at the University. That was the beginning of what became quickly known as Mathematical Education on Merseyside (MEM). At the same time, Professor Taylor served as President of the Society and was responsible for instigating a sixth-form lecture and a competition, first called a Problems Drive and then, from 1980 onwards, Open Challenge (the MEM Challenge competition first took place in 1978). The format of all these competitions has continued with minor changes to this day.

The Society's FunMaths Roadshow (for which it is now best known) was started as part of the Society's centenary celebrations in 1999, when the Society hosted a joint conference of the MA and the ATM. Other modern developments include an expanded programme of CPD and the very successful Pop Maths Quiz, held annually in March.


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