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.

Vote for Your Favourite British Mathematicians

 1 Alan Turing

Alan Turing.
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: June 23, 1912
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: 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.

 2 Isaac Newton

Isaac Newton.
Famous As: Mathematician
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.

 3 Charles Babbage

Charles Babbage.
Famous As: Father of the computer
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.

 4 Ada Lovelace

Ada Lovelace.
Famous As: Countess of Lovelace
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.

 5 Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell.
Famous As: Philosopher
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.

 6 Roger Penrose

Roger Penrose.
Famous As: Mathematician
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.

Recommended Lists:

 7 George Boole

George Boole.
Famous As: Mathematician, Philosopher and Logician
Birthdate: November 2, 1815
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Lincoln
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.

You May Like

 8 G. H. Hardy

G. H. Hardy.
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: February 7, 1877
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Cranleigh, United Kingdom
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.  

 9 Andrew Wiles

Andrew Wiles
Famous As: 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.

 10 John Horton Conway

John Horton Conway
Famous As: Mathematician
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

Michael Atiyah.
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: April 22, 1929
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Hampstead, 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.

 12 Alfred North Whitehead

Alfred North Whitehead.
Famous As: Mathematician, Philosopher
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 Paul Dirac

Paul Dirac.
Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: August 8, 1902
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bristol
Died: October 20, 1984

English theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate Paul Dirac OM FRS, counted among leading physicists of the 20th century, made fundamental contributions in the early development of quantum electrodynamics and quantum mechanics. He derived the Dirac equation while the modern theory of antimatter began with one of his papers. His book The Principles of Quantum Mechanics remains an influential monograph on the subject.

 14 Lord Kelvin

Lord Kelvin.
Famous As: Mathematician, Physicist
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 Karl Pearson

Karl Pearson
Famous As: 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.

 16 John Edensor Littlewood

John Edensor Littlewood
Famous As: Mathematician, University teacher
Birthdate: June 9, 1885
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Rochester
Died: September 6, 1977

 17 John Dee

John Dee.
Famous As: Mathematician, Philosopher
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.

 18 Oliver Heaviside

Oliver Heaviside
Famous As: 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.

 19 Edmond Halley

Edmond Halley.
Famous As: Astronomer
Birthdate: November 8, 1656
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Haggerston, Shoreditch, 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 Arthur Eddington

Arthur Eddington.
Famous As: Astronomer
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. 

 21 Ronald Ross

Ronald Ross.
Famous As: Medical doctor
Birthdate: May 13, 1857
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Almora
Died: September 16, 1932

Nobel Prize-winning British doctor Ronald Ross is best remembered for his pathbreaking work on malaria, which proved that the disease was caused by the Anopheles variant of mosquitoes. After his extensive research in India, he went back to London, where he was knighted. He also wrote poetry and songs.

 22 John Venn

John Venn.
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: August 4, 1834
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Kingston upon Hull
Died: April 4, 1923

 23 Mary Somerville

Mary Somerville
Famous As: 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 Thomas Bayes

Thomas Bayes
Famous As: Mathematician, Statistician
Birthdate: 1702 AD
Birthplace: London
Died: April 7, 1761

 25 Freeman Dyson

Freeman Dyson
Famous As: 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. 

 26 Frank P. Ramsey

Frank P. Ramsey
Famous As: 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.

 27 John Herschel

John Herschel
Famous As: Polymath
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.

 28 Arthur Cayley

Arthur Cayley.
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: August 16, 1821
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Richmond, Surrey, UK
Died: January 26, 1895

 29 Ruth Lawrence

Ruth Lawrence
Famous As: Mathematician, Topologist, University teacher
Birthdate: August 2, 1971
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Brighton

 30 David Brewster

David Brewster
Famous As: 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. 

 31 Marcus du Sautoy

Marcus du Sautoy
Famous As: Mathematician, Academic, University teacher, Writer
Birthdate: August 26, 1965
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London

 32 Sir George Stokes, 1st Baronet

Sir George Stokes, 1st Baronet.
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: August 13, 1819
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Skreen
Died: February 1, 1903

Sir George Stokes, 1st Baronet was an Anglo-Irish physicist and mathematician. He studied at Pembroke College, Cambridge, and spent his entire career at the University of Cambridge as the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics. As a physicist, he made key contributions to fluid mechanics and physical optics. He received the Royal Society's Copley Medal in 1893.

 33 John Wallis

John Wallis
Famous As: mathematician, philosopher, musicologist, cryptologist
Birthdate: November 23, 1616
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Ashford
Died: October 28, 1703

 34 Alastair Denniston

Alastair Denniston
Famous As: Field hockey player, Cryptographer, Mathematician
Birthdate: December 1, 1881
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Greenock
Died: January 1, 1961

Alastair Denniston was a Scottish code breaker and hockey player. He was deputy head of the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS) from 1919 to 1942. As a member of the Scottish Olympic hockey team in 1908, he won a bronze medal. He worked as a code breaker during the war years. He taught French and Latin following his retirement. 

 35 Stephen Wolfram

Stephen Wolfram
Famous As: 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. 

 36 Ian Stewart

Ian Stewart
Famous As: mathematician, novelist, writer, university teacher, science fiction writer
Birthdate: September 24, 1945
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Kent

 37 William Whewell

William Whewell
Famous As: 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.

 38 Thomas Harriot

Thomas Harriot
Famous As: Mathematician, explorer, astronomer
Birthdate: 1560 AD
Birthplace: Oxford
Died: July 2, 1621

 39 Peter Hilton

Peter Hilton
Famous As: mathematician, topologist, university teacher
Birthdate: April 7, 1923
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London
Died: November 6, 2010

 40 George Green

George Green
Famous As: Mathematician
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.

 41 Timothy Gowers

Timothy Gowers
Famous As: Mathematician, University teacher
Birthdate: November 20, 1963
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Wiltshire

 42 I. J. Good

I. J. Good
Famous As: Mathematician, Cryptographer, Computer scientist, Philosopher, Statistician, University teacher
Birthdate: December 9, 1916
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: London
Died: April 5, 2009

 43 William Playfair

William Playfair
Famous As: 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.

 44 William Henry Bragg

William Henry Bragg.
Famous As: Nobel Prize Winner in Physics
Birthdate: July 2, 1862
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Wigton
Died: March 10, 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. 

 45 Robert Fludd

Robert Fludd
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: January 17, 1574
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bearsted, 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 Petty

William Petty
Famous As: Economist
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.

 47 Jacob Bronowski

Jacob Bronowski
Famous As: Mathematician, Poet, Non-fiction writer
Birthdate: January 18, 1908
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Łódź
Died: August 22, 1974

 48 Richard Price

Richard Price
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: February 23, 1723
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Llangeinor, Wales
Died: April 19, 1791

 49 Isaac Barrow

Isaac Barrow
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: September 30, 1630
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London
Died: May 4, 1677

 50 William Kingdon Clifford

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