Lloyd N. Trefethen

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Nick Trefethen
Lloyd Nicholas Trefethen

(1955-08-30) 30 August 1955 (age 63)[1][2]
Alma mater
Known forEmbree–Trefethen constant[3]
  • Anne Trefethen (née Daman) (m. 1988–2008)
  • Kate McLoughlin (m. 2011)
Childrenone son, one daughter[1]
Scientific career
FieldsNumerical analysis
ThesisWave Propagation and Stability for Finite Difference Schemes (1982)
Doctoral advisorJoseph E. Oliger[5]
Doctoral students
  • Jeffrey Baggett
  • Richard Baltensperger
  • Lehel Banjai[6]
  • Timo Betcke
  • Asgeir Birkisson[7]
  • Tobin Driscoll
  • Alan Edelman
  • Nick Hale
  • Louis Howell
  • Walter Mascarenhas
  • Hadrien Montanelli
  • Noel Nachtigal
  • Ricardo Pachon[8]
  • Satish Reddy
  • Mark Richardson
  • Thomas Schmelzer
  • Kim-Chuan Toh
  • Alex Townsend[9]
  • Divakar Viswanath
  • Thomas Wright[5]

(Lloyd) Nicholas Trefethen, FRS[4] (born 30 August 1955) is professor of numerical analysis and head of the Numerical Analysis Group at the Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford.[10][11][12][13]


Trefethen obtained his bachelor's degree from Harvard University in 1977 and his master's from Stanford University in 1980. His PhD was on Wave Propagation and Stability for Finite Difference Schemes supervised by Joseph E. Oliger at Stanford University.[5][14][15]

Career and research[edit]

Following his PhD, Trefethen went on to work at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences in New York, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Cornell University, before being appointed to a chair at the University of Oxford and a Fellowship of Balliol College, Oxford.[16]

As of 2018, he has published around 140 journal papers spanning a wide range of areas within numerical analysis and applied mathematics, including non-normal eigenvalue problems and applications, spectral methods for differential equations, numerical linear algebra, fluid mechanics, computational complex analysis, and approximation theory.[17] He is perhaps best known for his work on pseudospectra of non-normal matrices and operators. This work covers theoretical aspects as well as numerical algorithms, and applications including fluid mechanics, numerical solution of partial differential equations, numerical linear algebra, shuffling of cards, random matrices, differential equations and lasers. Trefethen is currently an ISI highly cited researcher.[18]

Trefethen has written a number of books on numerical analysis including Numerical Linear Algebra[19] with David Bau, Spectral Methods in MATLAB, Schwarz–Christoffel Mapping with Tobin Driscoll, and Spectra and Pseudospectra: The Behavior of Nonnormal Matrices and Operators[20] with Mark Embree.[3] He has recently been heavily involved in the creation and development of the MATLAB-based Chebfun software project.

In 2013 he proposed a new formula to calculate the BMI of a person:[21][22]

(International System of Units)

Notable publications[edit]

  • Numerical Linear Algebra (1997) with David Bau
  • Spectral Methods in Matlab (2000)
  • "Hydrodynamic stability without eigenvalues"[23] with Anne Trefethen, Satish Reddy, and Tobin Driscoll
  • "Pseudospectra of linear operators" SIAM Review (1997)

Awards and honours[edit]

Trefethen was the first winner of the Leslie Fox Prize for Numerical Analysis. He is a fellow of the American Mathematical Society,[24] and a member of the National Academy of Engineering in the United States. Trefethen was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2005,[4] his certificate of election reads:

Nick Trefethen is distinguished for his many seminal contributions to Numerical Analysis and its applications in Applied Mathematics and in Engineering Science. His research spans theory, algorithms, software and physical applications, particularly involving eigenvalues, pseudospectra – a concept which he introduced – and dynamics. He has an international reputation for his work on nonnormal matrices and operators. He has also made major contributions to finite difference and spectral methods for partial differential equations, numerical linear algebra, and complex analysis. His monograph Numerical Linear Algebra (SIAM, 1997) is one of the SIAM's best selling books and has already been through five printings.[4]

In 2010 Trefethen was awarded the Gold Medal of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications in recognition of his "outstanding contributions to mathematics and its applications over a period of years".[25] In 2013 Trefethen was awarded the Naylor Prize and lectureship in Applied Mathematics from the London Mathematical Society.[26]

Personal life[edit]

Trefethen has one son and one daughter from his first marriage to Anne Elizabeth Trefethen (née Daman).[1]


  1. ^ a b c TREFETHEN, Prof. Lloyd Nicholas, (Nick). ukwhoswho.com. Who's Who. 2015 (online Oxford University Press ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. closed access (subscription required)
  2. ^ "New directions in Numerical Computation, 25–28 August 2015: In Celebration of Nick Trefethen's 60th birthday". University of Oxford. Archived from the original on 4 April 2015.
  3. ^ a b Embree, M.; Trefethen, L. N. (1999). "Growth and decay of random Fibonacci sequences" (PDF). Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences. 455 (1987): 2471. Bibcode:1999RSPSA.455.2471T. CiteSeerX doi:10.1098/rspa.1999.0412.
  4. ^ a b c d "Certificate of candidature and election: Trefethen, Lloyd Nicholas, EC/2005/40". London: The Royal Society. Archived from the original on 22 January 2014.
  5. ^ a b c Lloyd N. Trefethen at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  6. ^ Banjai, Lehel. (2003). Computation of conformal maps by fast multipole method accelerated Schwarz-Christoffel transformation (PhD thesis). University of Oxford.
  7. ^ Birkisson, Asgeir (2013). Numerical solution of nonlinear boundary value problems for ordinary differential equations in the continuous framework (PhD thesis). University of Oxford.
  8. ^ Pachon, Ricardo (2010). Algorithms for polynomial and rational approximation (PhD thesis). University of Oxford. open access
  9. ^ Townsend, Alex (2014). Computing with functions in two dimensions (PhD thesis). University of Oxford.
  10. ^ Lloyd N. Trefethen's publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database. (subscription required)
  11. ^ Lloyd N. Trefethen publications indexed by Google Scholar
  12. ^ Lloyd N. Trefethen at DBLP Bibliography Server Edit this at Wikidata
  13. ^ Nachtigal, N. L. M.; Reddy, S. C.; Trefethen, L. N. (1992). "How Fast are Nonsymmetric Matrix Iterations?". SIAM Journal on Matrix Analysis and Applications. 13 (3): 778. CiteSeerX doi:10.1137/0613049.
  14. ^ Trefethen, Lloyd Nicholas (1982). Wave Propagation and Stability for Finite Difference Schemes (PhD thesis). Stanford University. OCLC 9136203.
  15. ^ Lloyd N. Trefethen author profile page at the ACM Digital Library
  16. ^ "SNC '07 Invited Speakers". Retrieved 26 April 2008.
  17. ^ "Nick Trefethen publication list".
  18. ^ "T – Research Analytics – Thomson Reuters". Highlycited.com. 15 September 2011. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
  19. ^ Stewart, G. W. (1999). "Review: Numerical linear algebra, by L. N. Trefethen and D. Bau". Math. Comp. 68 (225): 453–454. doi:10.1090/S0025-5718-99-01069-8.
  20. ^ Higham, Nicholas J. (2007). "Review: Spectra and pseudospectra: the behavior of nonnormal matrices and operators, by L. N. Trefethen and M. Embree". Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. (N.S.). 44 (2): 277–284. doi:10.1090/s0273-0979-06-01128-1.
  21. ^ "New BMI (New Body Mass Index)".
  22. ^ Stephenson, Wesley (2013-01-29). "Does the BMI need correcting?". BBC News.
  23. ^ Trefethen, L. N.; Trefethen, A. E.; Reddy, S. C.; Driscoll, T. A. (1993). "Hydrodynamic Stability Without Eigenvalues". Science. 261 (5121): 578–584. Bibcode:1993Sci...261..578T. doi:10.1126/science.261.5121.578. PMID 17758167.
  24. ^ List of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society. Retrieved 27 August 2013.
  25. ^ "IMA Gold Medal". Retrieved 16 May 2018. Institute of Mathematics and its Applications
  26. ^ "List of LMS prize winners". London Mathematical Society. Retrieved 25 November 2014.