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 the 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 was described by "Daily Telegraph" as one of the most prestigious academic posts in the world[1] 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.[2] The penultimate holder of the post was the theoretical physicist Michael Green who was a fellow in Clare Hall at the University of Cambridge. He was appointed in October 2009,[3] succeeding Stephen Hawking, who himself retired in September 2009, in the year of his 67th birthday, as required by the University.[4] Hawking now holds the position of Emeritus Lucasian Professor of Mathematics. The 19th Lucasian Professor is Michael Cates, succeeding Michael Green now retired, starting from 1 July 2015.[5]

List of Lucasian Professors[edit]

# Year of appointment Portrait Name Speciality Tenure (years)
1 1663 Isaac Barrow.jpg Isaac Barrow
(1630 – 1677)
Classics and mathematics 6
2 1669 GodfreyKneller-IsaacNewton-1689.jpg Isaac Newton
(1642 – 1726)
Mathematics and physics 33
3 1702 WilliamWhiston.jpg William Whiston
(1667 – 1752)
Mathematics 9
4 1711 Nicolas Saunderson.jpg Nicholas Saunderson
(1682 – 1739)
Mathematics 28
5 1739 Johncolson.gif John Colson
(1680 – 1760)
Mathematics 21
6 1760 Edwardwaring.jpg Edward Waring
(1736 – 1798)
Mathematics 38
7 1798 Isaac-Milner.gif Isaac Milner
(1750 – 1820)
Mathematics and chemistry 22
8 1820 No image.png Robert Woodhouse
(1773 – 1827)
Mathematics 2
9 1822 No image.png Thomas Turton
(1780 – 1864)
Mathematics 4
10 1826 George Biddell Airy 1891.jpg George Biddell Airy
(1801 – 1892)
Astronomy 2
11 1828 Charles Babbage - 1860.jpg Charles Babbage
(1791 – 1871)
Mathematics and computing 11
12 1839 Joshua-King.gif Joshua King
(1798 – 1857)
Mathematics 10
13 1849 Ggstokes.jpg George Gabriel Stokes
(1819 – 1903)
Physics and fluid mechanics 54
14 1903 No image.png Joseph Larmor
(1857 – 1942)
Physics 29
15 1932 Dirac 4.jpg Paul Dirac
(1902 – 1984)
Physics 37
16 1969 Lighthill 3.jpeg James Lighthill
(1924 – 1998)
Fluid mechanics 10
17 1979 Stephen Hawking.StarChild.jpg Stephen Hawking
(born 1942)
Theoretical physics and cosmology 30
18 2009 No image.png Michael Green
(born 1946)
Theoretical physics 6
19 2015 Mike-cates.jpg Michael Cates
(born 1961)
Statistical mechanics of soft condensed matter current

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

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