Lucasian Professor of Mathematics

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The Lucasian Chair of Mathematics is a mathematics professorship in the University of Cambridge, England; its holder is known as Lucasian Professor. The post was founded in 1663 by Henry Lucas, who was Cambridge University's Member of Parliament from 1639–1640; and it was officially established by King Charles II on 18 January 1664. It is recognised as one of the most prestigious academic posts in the world[1][2] and its former holders include Isaac Newton, Joseph Larmor, Charles Babbage, George Stokes, Paul Dirac and Stephen Hawking.

History of the Chair[edit]

Lucas, in his will, bequeathed his library of 4,000 volumes to the university and left instruction for the purchase of land whose yielding should provide £100 a year for the founding of a professorship.[3] The current holder of the post is the theoretical physicist Michael Green who is currently a fellow in Clare Hall at the University of Cambridge. He was appointed in October 2009,[4] succeeding Stephen Hawking who retired in September 2009, in the year of his 67th birthday, as required by the University.[5] Hawking now holds the position of Emeritus Lucasian Professor of Mathematics.

List of Lucasian Professors[edit]

Year appointed Name Speciality Tenure (in years)
1663 Isaac Barrow Classics and mathematics 6
1669 Isaac Newton Mathematics and physics 33
1702 William Whiston Mathematics 9
1711 Nicholas Saunderson Mathematics 28
1739 John Colson Mathematics 21
1760 Edward Waring Mathematics 38
1798 Isaac Milner Mathematics and chemistry 22
1820 Robert Woodhouse Mathematics 2
1822 Thomas Turton Mathematics 4
1826 George Biddell Airy Astronomy 2
1828 Charles Babbage Mathematics and computing 11
1839 Joshua King Mathematics 10
1849 George Gabriel Stokes Physics and fluid mechanics 54
1903 Joseph Larmor Physics 29
1932 Paul Dirac Physics 37
1969 James Lighthill Fluid mechanics 10
1979 Stephen Hawking Theoretical physics and cosmology 30
2009 Michael Green Theoretical physics current
2014 As of 28 April 2014, the University of Cambridge is recruiting the 19th Lucasian Professor. The Board of Electors was announced in March.[6]


  1. ^ "Michael Green to become Lucasian Professor of Mathematics". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 11 December 2012. 
  2. ^ Knox, K.; Noakes, R. and Hawking, S. (2007). From Newton to Hawking: A History of Cambridge University's Lucasian Professors of Mathematics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521663938. 
  3. ^ "A Brief History of The Lucasian Professorship of Mathematics at Cambridge University.". Retrieved 20 April 2009. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Hawking gives up academic title". BBC News. 30 September 2009. Retrieved 1 October 2009. 
  6. ^


  • Kevin Knox and Richard Noakes, From Newton to Hawking: A History of Cambridge University's Lucasian Professors of Mathematics ISBN 0-521-66310-5