Famous British Mathematicians

The contribution of mathematicians towards the evolution of the modern world is immense. Over the years, the world has seen innumerable mathematicians who with their theories and formula have brought about great scientific advancements which in turn have shaped the society as whole. Mathematicians belonging to Great Britain too have not left any stone unturned in paving the way for significant development in the field of mathematics. Apart from algorithm and calculus, British mathematicians have also offered great contribution to new age subjects like cryptography and computer programming thus pioneering a new era of scientific research and development. Some of the most prominent British names in this field are Frank Adcock, William Ernest Jonson, Ernst Fetterlein, William Jones and Keith Batey. Jones was responsible for coining the famous symbol ‘pi’, which is being widely used in mathematical calculations today. The works of these eminent personalities have also been a great source of inspiration for many modern-day mathematicians. The numerous books penned by these mathematicians from Britain serve as the basis for many modern day scientific endeavors. Explore this section to find biographies of some of the most famous mathematicians from Britain. Learn everything about their life stories, timelines and few interesting facts & trivia related to their lives.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 
Isaac Newton
(Formulated the Laws of Motion & Universal Gravitation)

Isaac Newton
15
Birthdate: January 4, 1643
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Lincolnshire, England
Died: March 31, 1727

One of the most influential and popular scientists of all time, Sir Isaac Newton played a prominent role in our understanding of natural phenomena. He formulated the law of universal gravitation and laws of motion. He also developed the Newtonian telescope among other devices. Apart from science, Newton was also intrigued by religion, occult, and alchemy.

 2 
Alan Turing
(Father of Theoretical Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence)

Alan Turing
96
Birthdate: June 23, 1912
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Maida Vale, London, England
Died: June 7, 1954

Regarded as the father of computer science and artificial intelligence, Alan Turing was a distinguished mathematician and logician. During WWII, he successfully broke the challenging German Enigma machine codes thereby reducing the duration of war by a couple of years. The scientist, who was convicted for being gay, has been an inspiration for numerous films, plays and novels.

 3 
Ada Lovelace
(Countess of Lovelace)

Ada Lovelace
52
Birthdate: December 10, 1815
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: London
Died: November 27, 1852

Ada Lovelace was a mathematician known for her work on the Analytical Engine, a mechanical general-purpose computer proposed by Charles Babbage. Many believe that Lovelace was the first to recognize the potential of computers. It is also believed that she published the first algorithm after realizing that the algorithm could be carried out by a machine like the Analytical Engine.

 4 
Ludwig Wittgenstein
(Philosopher)

Ludwig Wittgenstein
5
Birthdate: April 26, 1889
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: April 29, 1951

Austrian-British philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein is remembered for his works related to logic, the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of mathematics, and the philosophy of language. He taught at the University of Cambridge for many years. He published only one book during his lifetime. Most of his manuscripts were collected later and published posthumously.

 5 
Charles Babbage
(Father of the computer)

Charles Babbage
24
Birthdate: December 26, 1791
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London, England
Died: October 18, 1871
Charles Babbage, or the “father of the computer,” invented the prototype of the world’s first mechanical calculator, the Difference Engine. With the help of mathematician Ada Lovelace, he also created the Analytical Engine, the first general-purpose computer and a precursor of the modern computer, with its looping and sequential mechanism.

 6 
Bertrand Russell
(Philosopher)

Bertrand Russell
22
Birthdate: May 18, 1872
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Trellech, Monmouthshire, Wales
Died: February 2, 1970

Bertrand Russell was a British polymath and Nobel laureate. His work, which is spread across various fields, has had a considerable influence on philosophy, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, mathematics, linguistics, and logic. Russell is also credited with leading the revolt against idealism in Britain and is regarded as one of the founders of analytic philosophy.

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 7 
Roger Penrose
(Mathematician)

Roger Penrose
16
Birthdate: August 8, 1931
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Colchester, England

Roger Penrose’s contribution to the research related to the black hole and general relativity earned him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2020. The Emeritus Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at Oxford, Roger is also a fellow of Wadham College, St John's College of Cambridge, and University College London.

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 8 
George Boole
(Mathematician, Philosopher, Logician)

George Boole
16
Birthdate: November 2, 1815
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England
Died: December 8, 1864

George Boole is remembered for pioneering Boolean algebra, a tool used in digital computer circuits. More of a self-taught mathematician, Boole began teaching at 16 and later grew up to be a math professor at Queen’s College, Cork. His work in differential equations and algebraic logic was groundbreaking.

 9 
G. H. Hardy
(Mathematician)

G. H. Hardy
16
Birthdate: February 7, 1877
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Cranleigh, England
Died: December 1, 1947

English mathematician G. H. Hardy is best recognised for his work and achievements in number theory and mathematical analysis, and also as mentor of distinguished Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan. He is noted for his essay on mathematics titled A Mathematician's Apology. He also made his mark in biology formulating a basic principle of population genetics called Hardy–Weinberg principle.  

 10 
John Horton Conway
(Mathematician)

John Horton Conway
14
Birthdate: December 26, 1937
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Liverpool, England
Died: April 11, 2020

Remembered as versatile mathematician, game wizard and polymath, John Horton Conway had limitless curiosity, which matched with his scientific originality. Although he is best known for devising the cellular automation called Game of Life, he made significant contributions to group theory, number theory, algebra, geometric topology, theoretical physics, combinatorial game theory and geometry. Conway published many outstanding papers in these fields.

 11 
Andrew Wiles
(Mathematician, University teacher)

Andrew Wiles
25
Birthdate: April 11, 1953
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Cambridge

English mathematician Sir Andrew John Wiles, a Royal Society Research Professor at the University of Oxford, is best known for proving the modularity theorem for semistable elliptic curves, thereby proving Fermat's Last Theorem for which he was awarded the Abel Prize and the Copley Medal by the Royal Society. He also proved the main conjecture of Iwasawa theory.

 12 
Alfred North Whitehead
(Mathematician, Philosopher)

Alfred North Whitehead
9
Birthdate: February 15, 1861
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Ramsgate, Kent, England
Died: December 30, 1947

Alfred North Whitehead was a British mathematician and philosopher, best known for his collaboration with his student Bertrand Russell on Principal of Mathematics, a three-volume work on the foundations of mathematics. Also known for his pioneering works on process philosophy and metaphysics, he is credited with developing a comprehensive metaphysical system that differs from most Western philosophies.

 13 
Michael Atiyah
(Mathematician)

Michael Atiyah
4
Birthdate: April 22, 1929
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Hampstead, London, England
Died: January 11, 2019

Recipient of Fields Medal and Abel Prize, British-Lebanese mathematician Michael Atiyah emerged as a leading figure in the UK mathematics during the latter half of the 20th century. He specialised in geometry and made remarkable contributions in the fields of geometry, theoretical physics, topology and global analysis, and is best known for proving the Atiyah–Singer index theorem with Isadore Singer.

 14 
Lord Kelvin
(Mathematician, Physicist)

Lord Kelvin
4
Birthdate: June 26, 1824
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Belfast
Died: December 17, 1907

Lord Kelvin was a British mathematical physicist and engineer. He studied at the Glasgow University and proceeded to teach there as well. Besides his academic career, he also had a career as an electric telegraph engineer and inventor. He received the Royal Society's Copley Medal in 1883. Absolute temperatures are stated in units of kelvin in his honor.

 15 
Freeman Dyson
(Mathematician)

Freeman Dyson
8
Birthdate: December 15, 1923
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Crowthorne, England
Died: February 28, 2020

Freeman Dyson was a British-American theoretical and mathematical physicist, mathematician, and statistician. He made major contributions in the fields of quantum field theory, astrophysics, random matrices, quantum mechanics, and nuclear physics. He originated the concept that went on to be known as Dyson's transform. He received the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement in 1986. 

 16 
John Dee
(Mathematician, Philosopher)

John Dee
14
Birthdate: July 13, 1527
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Tower Ward, London
Died: February 29, 1609

Anglo-Welsh mathematician, occultist, astronomer, teacher, astrologer and alchemist John Dee is best-remembered as advisor to Queen of England, Elizabeth I. Dee coined the term British Empire and advocated its formation by founding of English colonies in the New World. He had one of the largest libraries in England at the time and wrote on astrology, geography, trigonometry, navigation and calendar reform.

 17 
Oliver Heaviside
(Mathematician, Physicist, Engineer, Telegraphy)

Oliver Heaviside
3
Birthdate: May 18, 1850
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Camden Town
Died: February 3, 1925

Oliver Heaviside was an English mathematician and physicist. He invented a new technique for solving differential equations and independently developed vector calculus. He is also credited with rewriting Maxwell's equations in the form commonly used today. He formulated the telegrapher’s equations and invented the Heaviside step function as well. In 1922, he received the Faraday Medal.

 18 
John Herschel
(Polymath)

John Herschel
3
Birthdate: March 7, 1792
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Slough, Buckinghamshire, England
Died: May 11, 1871

The son of renowned astronomer William Herschel, John Herschel was educated at Eton and Cambridge and grew up to be a polymath. Apart from contributing to the field of photography, he was known for cataloguing and naming stars and satellites. He briefly also served as the Master of the Royal Mint.

 19 
John Edensor Littlewood
(Mathematician, University teacher)

John Edensor Littlewood
3
Birthdate: June 9, 1885
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Rochester
Died: September 6, 1977

 20 
Edmond Halley
(Mathematician known for Calculating the Orbit of a Comet & Was the Second Astronomer Royal in Britain)

Edmond Halley
4
Birthdate: November 8, 1656
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Haggerston, London, England
Died: January 14, 1742

Edmond Halley was an English astronomer and mathematician who was mainly concerned with practical applications of science. He abandoned college education to travel to St. Helena. He published catalogue of 341 southern stars with telescopically determined locations. Known for his wide range of interest, he helped Newton to publish his magnum opus,  Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica. He used Newton's Law of Motion to compute periodicty of Halley’s Comet.

 21 
John Venn
(Mathematician)

John Venn
3
Birthdate: August 4, 1834
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Kingston upon Hull
Died: April 4, 1923

 22 
Arthur Eddington
(Astronomer)

Arthur Eddington
4
Birthdate: December 28, 1882
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Kendal
Died: November 22, 1944

Arthur Eddington was an English physicist, astronomer, and mathematician. He wrote numerous articles that explained Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity to the English-speaking world. He began his career in academics and eventually shifted to astronomy, becoming the chief assistant to the Astronomer Royal at the Royal Greenwich Observatory. He was a recipient of the Henry Draper Medal. 

 23 
Mary Somerville
(Mathematician, Linguist, Translator, Astronomer, Scientist)

Mary Somerville
6
Birthdate: December 26, 1780
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Jedburgh
Died: November 28, 1872

One of the two pioneering female honorary members of the Royal Astronomical Society, Mary Somerville was a 19th-century polymath and science writer. Though she specialized in math and astronomy, she was also well-versed in botany and geology. The Connection of the Physical Sciences remains her most notable work.

 24 
J.B.S. Haldane
(British Scientist Who Developed the Mathematical Theory of Population Genetics and One of the Founders of ‘Neo-Darwinism’)

J.B.S. Haldane
3
Birthdate: November 5, 1892
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Oxford, England
Died: December 1, 1964

British geneticist J.B.S. Haldane is remembered for his pioneering use of statistics in biology. A proponent of neo-Darwinism, he was the son of physiologist John Scott Haldane and had begun assisting his father at age 8. He later joined the British Communist Party and also moved to India.

 25 
Thomas Bayes
(Former Statistician who is known for formulating a specific case of the theorem that bears his name: Bayes' theorem)

Thomas Bayes
3
Birthdate: 1701 AD
Birthplace: London, England
Died: April 7, 1761

 26 
Karl Pearson
(Mathematician, Historian of mathematics, Statistician, Historian, Philosopher, Biographer)

Karl Pearson
3
Birthdate: March 27, 1857
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London
Died: April 27, 1936

One of the greatest statisticians of all time, Karl Pearson established the first university-level statistics department at UCL and also launched the statistics-oriented journal Biometrika. He was also well-versed in law and believed in eugenics. His The Grammar of Science later inspired Albert Einstein and other scientists.

 27 
John Lennox
(mathematician, philosopher of science, university teacher)

John Lennox
6
Birthdate: November 7, 1943
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Northern Ireland

Apart from being an ace mathematician, John Lennox has also taught at institutes such as Oxford and is an emeritus fellow at Green Templeton College. A Christian apologist, too, he has penned books, such as Can Science Explain Everything?, exploring diverse topics, such as religion and artificial intelligence.

 28 
Arthur Cayley
(Mathematician)

Arthur Cayley
3
Birthdate: August 16, 1821
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Richmond, Surrey, UK
Died: January 26, 1895

 29 
Frank P. Ramsey
(Mathematician, Philosopher, Economist)

Frank P. Ramsey
4
Birthdate: February 22, 1903
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Cambridge
Died: January 19, 1930

British philosopher and mathematician Frank P. Ramsey was the son of a famed mathematician and later laid down the Ramsey theory of mathematical logic. The Cambridge alumnus also translated Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus but died at age 26, probably due to a liver infection he contracted while swimming.

 30 
David Brewster
(Scientist)

David Brewster
3
Birthdate: December 11, 1781
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Jedburgh, Scotland
Died: February 10, 1868

David Brewster was a British scientist, inventor, and author. He conducted many experiments in physical optics, especially concerned with the study of the polarization of light. Fellow scientist William Whewell dubbed him the "father of modern experimental optics." He was also a pioneer in photography and invented an improved stereoscope. He wrote numerous works of popular science as well. 

 31 
Ruth Lawrence
(Mathematician, Topologist, University teacher)

Ruth Lawrence
4
Birthdate: August 2, 1971
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Brighton

 32 
John Wallis
(mathematician, philosopher, musicologist, cryptologist)

John Wallis
3
Birthdate: November 23, 1616
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Ashford
Died: October 28, 1703

 33 
Marcus du Sautoy
(Mathematician, Academic, University teacher, Writer)

Marcus du Sautoy
5
Birthdate: August 26, 1965
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London

 34 
Stephen Wolfram
(Mathematician, Physicist, Computer scientist, Businessperson, University teacher, Patent inventor, Writer)

Stephen Wolfram
17
Birthdate: August 29, 1959
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London

Stephen Wolfram is a British-American computer scientist, physicist, and businessman, best known for his work in computer science, mathematics, and theoretical physics. He is a  fellow of the American Mathematical Society. As a businessman, he is the founder and CEO of Wolfram Research, a software company. 

 35 
Peter Hilton
(mathematician, topologist, university teacher)

Peter Hilton
3
Birthdate: April 7, 1923
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London
Died: November 6, 2010

 36 
William Whewell
(Economist, Physicist, Historian, Philosopher, Writer, University teacher, Mathematician)

William Whewell
3
Birthdate: May 24, 1794
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Lancaster
Died: March 6, 1866

William Whewell was an English polymath, scientist, philosopher, theologian, and historian of science. He worked in a wide range of fields, publishing works in the disciplines of physics, mechanics, geology, economics, and astronomy. He also wrote poetry, sermons, and theological tracts. He is credited with coining the terms linguistics, physicist, consilience, scientist, catastrophism, and uniformitarianism.

 37 
Timothy Gowers
(Mathematician, University teacher)

Timothy Gowers
4
Birthdate: November 20, 1963
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Wiltshire

 38 
Brook Taylor
(Mathematician)

Brook Taylor
3
Birthdate: August 18, 1685
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Edmonton
Died: December 29, 1731

 39 
George Green
(Mathematician)

George Green
3
Birthdate: July 14, 1793
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Sneinton, Nottinghamshire, England
Died: May 31, 1841

With one year of formal schooling, George Green was entirely self-taught until the age of forty, when he entered Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. By then, he had published his first book, propagating what are now known as Green’s theorem and Green’s functions. A fellow of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, he also established Green's identities, Green's law, and Green's matrix.

 40 
William Henry Bragg
(Physicist and Mathematician Who Invented the ‘X-Ray’ Spectrometer)

William Henry Bragg
3
Birthdate: July 2, 1862
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Wigton, England, United Kingdom
Died: March 12, 1942

William Henry Bragg was an English physicist, chemist, and mathematician. He is best known for sharing the  1915 Nobel Prize in Physics with his son Lawrence Bragg for their work in the analysis of crystal structure by means of X-rays. William Henry Bragg had an illustrious academic career and was elected president of the Royal Society in 1935. 

 41 
I. J. Good
(Mathematician, Cryptographer, Computer scientist, Philosopher, Statistician, University teacher)

I. J. Good
3
Birthdate: December 9, 1916
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: London
Died: April 5, 2009

 42 
William Playfair
(Economist, Mathematician, Engineer, Statistician)

William Playfair
3
Birthdate: September 22, 1759
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Dundee
Died: February 11, 1823

Scottish engineer and political economist William Playfair is best-remembered as the inventor of statistical graphs and secret agent for Great Britain during its war with France. He published the first data graphs in his book The Commercial and Political Atlas. He used line, area and bar charts to represent the economy of 18th Century England and introduced the pie chart.

 43 
Ian Stewart
(mathematician, novelist, writer, university teacher, science fiction writer)

Ian Stewart
4
Birthdate: September 24, 1945
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Kent

 44 
Jacob Bronowski
(Mathematician, Poet, Non-fiction writer)

Jacob Bronowski
3
Birthdate: January 18, 1908
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Łódź
Died: August 22, 1974

 45 
William Petty
(Economist)

William Petty
3
Birthdate: May 26, 1623
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Romsey, Hampshire, England
Died: December 16, 1687

Initially a physician and anatomy professor, William Petty also taught music. However, he later established himself as a noted economist and became famous for his works such as Treatise of Taxes and Contributions. He was a surveyor under Oliver Cromwell and was a pioneer of political arithmetic.

 46 
Thomas Harriot
(Mathematician, explorer, astronomer)

Thomas Harriot
3
Birthdate: 1560 AD
Birthplace: Oxford
Died: July 2, 1621

 47 
Isaac Barrow
(Mathematician)

Isaac Barrow
3
Birthdate: 1560 AD, 1630
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London
Died: May 4, 1677

 48 

William Kingdon Clifford
3
Birthdate: May 4, 1845
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Exeter, England
Died: March 3, 1879

 49 
W. T. Tutte
(Mathematician)

W. T. Tutte
3
Birthdate: May 14, 1917
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Newmarket, Suffolk, England
Died: May 2, 2002

Born to working-class parents who were employed with the upkeep of the Fitzroy House stables, W. T. Tutte completed his high school studies on scholarships. Initially interested in physical chemistry, he later focused on math and became a genius codebreaker. He deciphered several intricate German military codes, such as FISH.

 50 
Colin Maclaurin
(Edinburgh)

Colin Maclaurin
3
Birthdate: February 1, 1698
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Argyll
Died: June 14, 1746

Colin Maclaurin was a Scottish mathematician best remembered for his contributions to algebra and geometry. A child prodigy, Maclaurin became one of the youngest professors in history when he became a professor of mathematics at the age of 19. Colin Maclaurin also contributed immensely to the study of elliptic integrals and is credited with discovering the Euler–Maclaurin formula.