Coralie Colmez is a French author and tutor in mathematics and mathematics education.

Coralie Colmez
Coralie Colmez (2009).jpg
BornParis, France
OccupationAuthor, tutor
LanguageEnglish, French
EducationBachelor of Arts
Alma materUniversity of Cambridge

Early life and careerEdit

Coralie Colmez is the daughter of mathematicians Pierre Colmez and Leila Schneps.

After completing secondary education in Paris, Colmez moved to the United Kingdom and attended Gonville and Caius college of the University of Cambridge under a Cambridge European Trust scholarship, completing a first-class Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and winning the Ryan Prize in Higher Mathematics.[1]


Colmez worked for one year as a research assistant on Carol Vorderman's task force, commissioned by the UK government to study the state of mathematics education in the United Kingdom,[2] and assisted with the presentation of the findings to the Joint Mathematics Council.[3] She then became a mathematics tutor with a private tutoring firm,[citation needed] and with The Access Project, an organization that "helps disadvantaged children gain entrance into top universities".[4][5] She is now a co-director of unifrog, an organization that helps students choose universities, and teachers track their progress.[6]


Coralie Colmez addressing students

With her mother, mathematician Leila Schneps, Colmez has co-authored Math on Trial: How Numbers Get Used and Abused in the Courtroom.[7] This book, targeted for a general audience, uses ten historical legal cases to show how mathematics, especially statistics, can affect the outcome of criminal proceedings, especially when incorrectly applied or interpreted. While not written as a textbook, some reviewers have found it suitable for students, as an introduction to the topic and to "get them thinking, talking and even arguing about the issues involved",[8] with another agreeing that, "they have struck the right balance of providing enough mathematics for the specialist to check out the details, but not so much as to overwhelm the general reader",[9] and another finding the book suitable "for parents trying to support teenagers in their studies of mathematics - or in fact, law".[10] While most reviews are positive, there has been some criticism that the book over-simplifies the influence mathematics has in complex trial proceedings. One reviewer finds that, while the book's description of the weakness of the mathematics is valid, that it does not completely treat the role mathematics plays in complex modern legal proceedings,[11] while another suggests the book attributes insufficient weight to the counterbalancing practice of lawyers attacking opposing evidence and experts with their own.[12]

In addition to the book, she has written guest columns in other publications on the same topic,[13][14] and is a member of the Bayes and the Law International Consortium,[15] which promotes improved understanding of the use of statistics in legal proceedings.

In a recent interview she hinted that another book is in the planning phase, which will describe criminal cases where math was used correctly but was not accepted or understood by the judge or jury.[16] In an online writer's publishing forum she has also experimented with a math textbook for teenagers presented in the form of a teenager's personal diary.[17]

Public speakingEdit

Coralie Colmez speaking at QEDCon conference in 2014

Since the publication of Math on Trial, Colmez has been an invited speaker at scientific education events in the UK. She has presented to the Conway Hall Ethical Society,[18] the Cambridge Centre for Sixth-Form Studies,[19] several shows for Maths Inspiration, including one at the University of Cambridge,[20] and the 2014 QED conference.[21][22] She has appeared on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme, discussing her book's subject of criminal trials in which math is used incorrectly or insufficiently,[23] and on the BBC Radio 4 podcast, More or Less, discussing the same topic in relation to the Amanda Knox case.[24]


  1. ^ Coralie Colmez Biography, Andrew Lownie Literary Agency, retrieved 2014-01-05
  2. ^ Vorderman, Carol; Porkess, Roger; Budd, Chris; Dunne, Richard; Rahman-Hart, Pepe (2011), A world-class mathematics education for all our young people, retrieved 2013-12-22
  3. ^ Minutes of JMC Council Meeting held at the Royal Society, Joint Mathematical Council of the United Kingdom, 2010, retrieved 2014-01-02
  4. ^ Salter, Jessica (2011-09-09), "Access all areas - the project helping disadvantaged children into top universities", The Telegraph, The Telegraph, retrieved 2013-12-21
  5. ^ Coralie Colmez - tutoriing Maths, The Access Project, archived from the original on 2012-03-25, retrieved 2014-01-07
  6. ^ "Decision time: are your students choosing the best universities for them?". Schools Improvement Net. 2013-06-11. Retrieved 2014-01-26.
  7. ^ Schneps, Leila; Colmez, Coralie (2013), Math on Trial: How Numbers Get Used and Abused in the Courtroom, New York: Basic Books, ISBN 978-0465032921
  8. ^ Hayden, Robert (2013-12-24), "Math on Trial: How Numbers Get Used and Abused in the Courtroom", MAA Reviews, Mathematical Association of America
  9. ^ Hill, Ray (September 2013). "Review: Math on Trial" (PDF). Newsletter of London Mathematical Society. 428. London Mathematical Society. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-03-09. Retrieved 2014-02-08.
  10. ^ Tarttelin, Abigail (2013). "Book Review: 'Math On Trial' by Leila Schneps and Coralie Colmez". Huffington Post Blog. Huffington Post. Retrieved 2014-02-08.
  11. ^ Finkelstein, Michael (July–August 2013), "Quantitative Evidence Often a Tough Sell in Court" (PDF), SIAM News, 46 (6), archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-03-09, retrieved 2014-03-09
  12. ^ Edelman, Paul (2013), "Burden of Proof: A Review of Math on Trial" (PDF), Notices of the American Mathematical Society, 60 (7): 910–914, doi:10.1090/noti1024, retrieved 2013-12-22
  13. ^ Schneps, Leila; Colmez, Coralie (2013-03-26), "Justice Flunks Math", The New York Times, New York: New York Times, The Opinion Pages
  14. ^ Colmez, Coralie; Schneps, Leila (2013-08-22), "The Odds of Innocence", The Unlikely, Nautilus, 4
  15. ^ Fenton, Norman (2013-12-30), Bayes and the Law
  16. ^ Lederman, Sol (2013-03-24), "Leila Schneps & Coralie Colmez", Inspired by Math, Wild About Math, 26, retrieved 2013-12-22
  17. ^ Colmez, Coralie (2013-05-02), Boys, Crop Tops and Equations, Authonomy, retrieved 2014-01-01
  18. ^ "Sunday Lecture: Maths on Trial - How Numbers Get Used and Abused in the Courtroom", Conway Hall Ethical Society, Conway Hall Ethical Society, 2013-12-20
  19. ^ Maths trip to Stephen Hawking\'s Lecture Theatre, Cambridge Centre for Sixth-form Studies, 2013-12-22, archived from the original on 2014-03-09, retrieved 2014-03-09
  20. ^ "Maths Inspiration show", Millennium Mathematics Project, University of Cambridge, 2013-12-21
  21. ^ QED 2014 speakers, Lanyrd, 2014
  22. ^ Who is speaking at QED?, North West Skeptical Events Ltd, 2013
  23. ^ "Today - Tuesday 26 March". BBC Radio 4. 2013. Retrieved 2014-01-26.
  24. ^ Harford, Tim (2013). "MoreOrLess: Are Man Utd a one-man team? 28 April 2013". More Or Less. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 2014-01-26.