# 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.

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1

Isaac Newton(One of the Most Influential Scientists of All Time)

**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(English Mathematician Who is Considered as the Father of Theoretical Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence)

**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.

**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*.

**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.

**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

Roger Penrose(English Mathematician, Mathematical Physicist and Winner of the 2020 Nobel Prize for Physics)

**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**.

**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.

8

George Boole(Mathematician, Philosopher, and Logician Best Known as the Author of ‘The Laws of Thought’)

**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(English Mathematician Known for His Contributions in Number Theory and Mathematical Analysis)

**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

(British Mathematician Known for His Contributions to 'Combinatorial Game Theory (CGT)')

**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

Michael Atiyah(British-Lebanese Mathematician Who was the Co-Founder of 'Topological K-Theory')

**Birthdate: **April 22, 1929

**Sun Sign: **Taurus

**Birthplace: **London, England, United Kingdom

**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.

**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.

**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.

14

Andrew Wiles

(Mathematician, University teacher)

**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*.

15

Freeman Dyson

(Mathematician)

**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.

**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

John Herschel

(British Polymath Known for His Invention of 'Blueprint')

**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**.

18

John Edensor Littlewood

(Mathematician, University teacher)

**Birthdate: **June 9, 1885

**Sun Sign: **Gemini

**Birthplace: **Rochester

**Died: **September 6, 1977

19

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

**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.

20

Oliver Heaviside

(Mathematician, Physicist, Engineer, Telegraphy)

**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.

**Birthdate: **August 4, 1834

**Sun Sign: **Leo

**Birthplace: **Kingston upon Hull

**Died: **April 4, 1923

**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)

**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

Fred Hoyle

(English Astronomer Who Formulated the Theory of 'Stellar Nucleosynthesis')

**Birthdate: **June 24, 1915

**Sun Sign: **Cancer

**Birthplace: **Bingley, England

**Died: **August 20, 2001

Fred Hoyle was an English astronomer known for his theory of stellar nucleosynthesis. He spent most of his career at the Institute of Astronomy at Cambridge, serving as its director for six years. He was also an author of science fiction novels, short stories, and plays and appeared in a series of radio talks on astronomy for the BBC.

25

Thomas Bayes

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

**Birthdate: **1701 AD

**Birthplace: **London, England

**Died: **April 7, 1761

26

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

**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.

27

Karl Pearson

(Mathematician, Historian of mathematics, Statistician, Historian, Philosopher, Biographer)

**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.

**Birthdate: **August 16, 1821

**Sun Sign: **Leo

**Birthplace: **Richmond, Surrey, UK

**Died: **January 26, 1895

29

Edgar F. Codd

(British Computer Scientist and Mathematician Who Devised the ‘Relational Data Model')

**Birthdate: **August 19, 1923

**Sun Sign: **Leo

**Birthplace: **Fortuneswell, England

**Died: **April 18, 2003

**Turing Award**-winning computer scientist Edgar F. Codd is best remembered for his relational data model, which contributed to the development of the relational database used in storing and retrieving computer data. An **Oxford** graduate, he had also worked for the army during World War II.

30

Frank P. Ramsey

(Mathematician, Philosopher, Economist)

**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.

31

Ruth Lawrence

(Mathematician, Topologist, University teacher)

**Birthdate: **August 2, 1971

**Sun Sign: **Leo

**Birthplace: **Brighton

32

David Brewster

(Scientist)

**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.

33

John Lennox

(mathematician, philosopher of science, university teacher)

**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.

34

John Wallis

(mathematician, philosopher, musicologist, cryptologist)

**Birthdate: **November 23, 1616

**Sun Sign: **Sagittarius

**Birthplace: **Ashford

**Died: **October 28, 1703

35

Jacob Bronowski

(Mathematician, Poet, Non-fiction writer)

**Birthdate: **January 18, 1908

**Sun Sign: **Capricorn

**Birthplace: **Łódź

**Died: **August 22, 1974

36

Stephen Wolfram

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

**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.

37

Marcus du Sautoy

(Mathematician, Academic, University teacher, Writer)

**Birthdate: **August 26, 1965

**Sun Sign: **Virgo

**Birthplace: **London

38

Timothy Gowers

(Mathematician, University teacher)

**Birthdate: **November 20, 1963

**Sun Sign: **Scorpio

**Birthplace: **Wiltshire

39

Brook Taylor

(Mathematician)

**Birthdate: **August 18, 1685

**Sun Sign: **Leo

**Birthplace: **Edmonton

**Died: **December 29, 1731

**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

Peter Hilton

(mathematician, topologist, university teacher)

**Birthdate: **April 7, 1923

**Sun Sign: **Aries

**Birthplace: **London

**Died: **November 6, 2010

42

John Maynard Smith

(Mathematician, Evolutionary Biologist, Geneticist and One of the Founding Members of the 'University of Sussex')

**Birthdate: **February 6, 1920

**Sun Sign: **Aquarius

**Birthplace: **London, England

**Died: **April 19, 2004

One of the most influential evolutionary biologists of his generation, John Maynard Smith was originally aeronautical engineer. Later, he took a second degree in genetics and did extensive research on subjects like population genetics and evolution of sex. Known for formalizing the central concept in evolutionary game theory, he introduced the evolutionarily stable strategy, impacting a wide variety of studies.

43

I. J. Good

(Mathematician, Cryptographer, Computer scientist, Philosopher, Statistician, University teacher)

**Birthdate: **December 9, 1916

**Sun Sign: **Sagittarius

**Birthplace: **London

**Died: **April 5, 2009

44

William Playfair

(Economist, Mathematician, Engineer, Statistician)

**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.

45

Robert Fludd

(British Paracelsian Physician, Astrologer and Mathematician Known for His Compilations in Occult Philosophy)

**Birthdate: **January 17, 1574

**Sun Sign: **Capricorn

**Birthplace: **Milgate House, Bearsted, Kent, England

**Died: **September 8, 1637

Best remembered for his study of occult philosophy, Robert Fludd, the son of English diplomat Sir Thomas Fludd, was also a physician. However, he was criticized for being a medical professional who believed in magic and defended Rosicrucianism. His other interests included cosmology, astrology, and Freemasonry.

46

William Whewell

(Economist, Physicist, Historian, Philosopher, Writer, University teacher, Mathematician)

**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.

47

George Green

(British Mathematical Physicist Who Was First to Attempt to Devise a Theory of Electricity and Magnetism)

**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. *

48

Thomas Harriot

(Mathematician, explorer, astronomer)

**Birthdate: **1560 AD

**Birthplace: **Oxford

**Died: **July 2, 1621

49

Isaac Barrow

(Mathematician)

**Birthdate: **1630

**Sun Sign: **Libra

**Birthplace: **London

**Died: **May 4, 1677

50

Ian Stewart

(mathematician, novelist, writer, university teacher, science fiction writer)

**Birthdate: **September 24, 1945

**Sun Sign: **Libra

**Birthplace: **Kent