Ian Stewart (mathematician)
24 September 1945 |
|Alma mater||Churchill College, Cambridge
University of Warwick
|Doctoral advisor||Brian Hartley|
Ian Nicholas Stewart FRS (born 24 September 1945) is a professor of mathematics at the University of Warwick, England, and a widely known popular-science and science-fiction writer. He is the first recipient of the Christopher Zeeman Medal, awarded jointly by the LMS and the IMA for his work on promoting mathematics.
Stewart was born in 1945 in England. While in the sixth form at school, Stewart came to the attention of the mathematics teacher. The teacher had Stewart sit mock A-level examinations without any preparation along with the upper-sixth students; Stewart placed first in the examination. This teacher arranged for Stewart to be admitted to Cambridge on a scholarship to Churchill College, where he obtained a BA in mathematics. Stewart then went to the University of Warwick for his doctorate, on completion of which in 1969 he was offered an academic position at Warwick, where he presently professes mathematics. He is well known for his popular expositions of mathematics and his contributions to catastrophe theory.
Stewart married his wife, Avril, in 1970. They met at a party at a house Avril was renting while she trained as a nurse. They have two sons. He lists his recreations as science fiction, painting, guitar, keeping fish, geology, Egyptology and snorkeling.
Stewart has published more than 140 scientific papers, including a series of influential papers co-authored with Jim Collins on coupled oscillators and the symmetry of animal gaits.
He has collaborated with Dr Jack Cohen and Terry Pratchett on four popular science books based on Pratchett's Discworld. In 1999 Terry Pratchett made both Jack Cohen and Professor Ian Stewart "Honorary Wizards of the Unseen University" at the same ceremony at which the University of Warwick gave Terry Pratchett an honorary degree.
Mathematics and popular science
- Concepts of Modern Mathematics (1981)
- Oh! Catastrophe (1982, in French)
- Does God Play Dice? The New Mathematics of Chaos (1989)
- Game, Set and Math (1991)
- Fearful Symmetry (1992)
- Another Fine Math You've Got Me Into (1992)
- The Collapse of Chaos: Discovering Simplicity in a Complex World, with Jack Cohen (1995)
- Nature's Numbers: Unreal Reality of Mathematics (1995)
- What is Mathematics? – originally by Richard Courant and Herbert Robbins, second edition revised by Ian Stewart (1996)
- From Here to Infinity (1996), first published as The Problems of Mathematics (1992)
- Figments of Reality, with Jack Cohen (1997)
- The Magical Maze: Seeing the World Through Mathematical Eyes (1998) ISBN 0-471-35065-6
- Life's Other Secret (1998)
- What Shape is a Snowflake? (2001)
- Flatterland (2001) ISBN 0-7382-0442-0 (See Flatland)
- The Annotated Flatland (2002)
- Evolving the Alien: The Science of Extraterrestrial Life, with Jack Cohen (2002). Second edition published as What Does a Martian Look Like? The Science of Extraterrestrial Life.
- Math Hysteria (2004) ISBN 0-19-861336-9
- The Mayor of Uglyville's Dilemma (2005)
- Letters to a Young Mathematician (2006) ISBN 0-465-08231-9
- How to Cut a Cake: And Other Mathematical Conundrums (2006) ISBN 978-0-19-920590-5
- Why Beauty Is Truth: A History of Symmetry (2007) ISBN 0-465-08236-X
- Taming the infinite: The story of Mathematics from the first numbers to chaos theory (2008) ISBN 978-1847241818
- Professor Stewart's Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities (2008) ISBN 1-84668-064-6
- Professor Stewart's Hoard of Mathematical Treasures: Another Drawer from the Cabinet of Curiosities (2009) ISBN 978-1-84668-292-6
- Cows in the Maze: And Other Mathematical Explorations (2010) ISBN 978-0-19-956207-7
- The Mathematics of Life (2011) ISBN 978-0-465-02238-0
- In Pursuit of the Unknown: 17 Equations That Changed the World (2012) ISBN 978-1-84668-531-6
- Symmetry: A Very Short Introduction (2013) ISBN 978-0-19965-198-6
- Visions of Infinity: The Great Mathematical Problems (2013) ISBN 978-0-46502-240-3
- Incredible Numbers by Professor Ian Stewart (iPad app) (2014)
Science of Discworld series
- The Science of Discworld, with Jack Cohen and Terry Pratchett
- The Science of Discworld II: The Globe, with Jack Cohen and Terry Pratchett
- The Science of Discworld III: Darwin's Watch, with Jack Cohen and Terry Pratchett
- The Science of Discworld IV: Judgement Day, with Jack Cohen and Terry Pratchett
- Catastrophe Theory and its Applications, with Tim Poston, Pitman, 1978. ISBN 0-273-01029-8.
- Complex Analysis: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Plane, I. Stewart, D Tall. 1983 ISBN 0-521-24513-3
- Algebraic number theory and Fermat's last theorem, 3rd Edition, I. Stewart, D Tall. A. K. Peters (2002) ISBN 1-56881-119-5
- Galois Theory, 3rd Edition, Chapman and Hall (2000) ISBN 1-58488-393-6 Galois Theory Errata
- Wheelers, with Jack Cohen (fiction)
- Heaven, with Jack Cohen, ISBN 0-446-52983-4, Aspect, May 2004 (fiction)
- Stewart, I. (2007). "Mathematics: Some assembly needed". Nature 448 (7152): 419–419. doi:10.1038/448419a. PMID 17653179.
- Stewart, I. (2006). "Still light-years away from articulating the infinite". Nature 441 (7095): 812–812. doi:10.1038/441812e. PMID 16778864.
- Stewart, I. (2005). "Schrödinger's mousetrap". Nature 433 (7023): 200–201. doi:10.1038/433200a. PMID 15662394.
- Stewart, I. (2004). "Nonlinear dynamics: Quantizing the classical cat". Nature 430 (7001): 731–732. doi:10.1038/430731a. PMID 15306790.
- Stewart, I. (2004). "Networking opportunity". Nature 427 (6975): 601–604. doi:10.1038/427601a. PMID 14961110.
- Stewart, I. (2003). "Mathematics: The 24-dimensional greengrocer". Nature 424 (6951): 895–896. doi:10.1038/424895a. PMID 12931173.
- Stewart, I. (2003). "Mathematics: Conjuring with conjectures". Nature 423 (6936): 124–127. doi:10.1038/423124a. PMID 12736663.
- Stewart, I. (2003). "Mathematics: Regime change in meteorology". Nature 422 (6932): 571–573. doi:10.1038/422571a. PMID 12686981.
- From What Does a Martian Look Like? The Science of Extraterrestrial Life:
- "Science is the best defense against believing what we want to."[page needed]
- From Catastrophe Theory and Its Applications:
- "We may predict that ... as methods relevant to organized complexity develop in laboratory science, the social sciences will benefit in proportion. The new concepts — fusing with, changing, and adding to present understanding — may allow the definition and measurement of quantities more central to the health of the body politick than a 'standard of living' that includes useless packaging discarded, or a 'gross national product' that includes machines whose productivity is measured in megadeaths. ... If any mathematical methods can aid in the growth of such wisdom, then catastrophe theory will be part of them."[page needed]
- From Does God Play Dice? The New Mathematics of Chaos on the concept of fungibility and how it applies to science:
- "Lawyers have a concept known as 'fungibility'. Things are fungible if substituting one for another has no legal implications. For example, cans of baked beans with the same manufacturer and the same nominal weight are fungible: you have no legal complaint if the shop substitutes a different can when the assistant notices that the one you've just bought is dented. The fact that the new can contains 1,346 beans, whereas the old one contained 1,347, is legally irrelevant.[page needed]
- That's what `take as given' means, too. Explanations that climb the reductionist hierarchy are cascades of fungibilities. Such explanations are comprehensible, and thus convincing, only because each stage in the story relies only upon particular simple features of the previous stage. The complicated details a level or two down do not need to be carried upwards indefinitely. Such features are intellectual resting-points in the chain of logic. Examples include the observation that atoms can be assembled into many complex structures, making molecules possible, and the complicated but elegant geometry of the DNA double helix that permits the `encoding' of complex `instructions' for making organisms. The story can then continue with the computational abilities of DNA coding, onward and upward to goats, without getting enmeshed in the quantum wave functions of amino acids.[page needed]
- What we tend to forget, when told a story with this structure, is that it could have had many different beginnings. Anything that lets us start from the molecular level would have done just as well. A totally different subatomic theory would be an equally valid starting-point for the story, provided it led to the same general feature of a replicable molecule. Subatomic particle theory is fungible when viewed from the level of goats. It has to be, or else we would never be able to keep a goat without first doing a Ph.D. in subatomic physics."[page needed]
- Professor Ian Stewart, FRS
- Ian Stewart (mathematician) at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
- Michael Faraday prize winners 2004–1986
- Directory of Fellows of the Royal Society: Ian Stewart
- Prof Ian Stewart at Debrett's People of Today
- What does a Martian look like? Jack Cohen and Ian Stewart set out to find the answers
- Ian Stewart on space exploration by NASA
- Ian Stewart on Minesweeper one of the Millennium mathematics problems
- Press release about Terry Pratchett "Wizard Making" of Jack Cohen and Ian Stewart at the University of Warwick
- Interview with Ian Stewart on the Science of Discworld series
- Audio Interview with Ian Stewart on April 25, 2007 from WINA's Charlottesville Right Now
- Podcast series with Ian Stewart on the history of symmetry
- A Partly True Story initially published in: Scientific American, Feb 1993
- "The Joy of Mathematics - A conversation with Ian Stewart", Ideas Roadshow, 2013