Peter Swinnerton-Dyer

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Sir Peter Swinnerton-Dyer

Peter Swinnerton-Dyer.jpeg
Peter Swinnerton-Dyer at the workshop
"Explicit methods in number theory" in Oberwolfach, 2007
Henry Peter Francis Swinnerton-Dyer

(1927-08-02)2 August 1927
Died26 December 2018(2018-12-26) (aged 91)
Alma materUniversity of Cambridge
Known forBirch and Swinnerton-Dyer conjecture
AwardsPólya Prize (2006)
Sylvester Medal (2006)
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Cambridge
Doctoral advisorsJohn Littlewood
André Weil
Doctoral studentsJean-Louis Colliot-Thélène
Miles Reid

Sir Henry Peter Francis Swinnerton-Dyer, 16th Baronet, KBE, FRS (2 August 1927 – 26 December 2018) was an English mathematician specialising in number theory at the University of Cambridge. As a mathematician he was best known for his part in the Birch and Swinnerton-Dyer conjecture relating algebraic properties of elliptic curves to special values of L-functions, which was developed with Bryan Birch during the first half of the 1960s with the help of machine computation, and for his work on the Titan operating system.[3]


Swinnerton-Dyer was the son of Sir Leonard Schroeder Swinnerton Dyer, 15th Baronet, and his wife Barbara, daughter of Hereward Brackenbury. He was a Fellow of Trinity College, Master of St Catharine's College and vice-chancellor of the University of Cambridge from 1979 to 1983. In 1983 he was made an Honorary Fellow of St Catharine's.

In the same year he became Chairman of the University Grants Committee and then from 1989, Chief Executive of its successor, the Universities Funding Council.

He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1967 and was made a KBE in 1987.[4] In 2006 he was awarded the Sylvester Medal. In 1981, he was awarded an Honorary Degree (Doctor of Science) by the University of Bath.[5]

Swinnerton-Dyer was, in his younger days, an international bridge player, representing the British team twice in the European Open teams championship. In 1953 at Helsinki he was partnered by Dimmie Fleming: the team came second out of fifteen teams. In 1962 he was partnered by Ken Barbour; the team came fourth out of twelve teams at Beirut.[6]

He married Dr Harriet Crawford in 1983.[citation needed]


Swinnerton-Dyer died on 26 December 2018 at the age of 91.[7]


  • Swinnerton-Dyer, H.P.F. (1974), Analytic theory of Abelian varieties, LMS Lecture Notes, vol. 14, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-20526-3.
  • Swinnerton-Dyer, Peter (2001), A brief guide to algebraic number theory, LMS Student Text, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-00423-3.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sleeman, Elizabeth (2003), The International Who's Who 2004, Routledge, ISBN 1-85743-217-7
  2. ^ Peter Swinnerton-Dyer interviewed by Alan Macfarlane, 12 May 2008, retrieved 31 July 2009
  3. ^ "Number theory expert and co-creator of the 'beautiful' Birch and Swinnerton-Dyer Conjecture". Daily Telegraph. No. 50890. 1 January 2019. p. 31.
  4. ^ "Dyer, Sir (Henry) Peter Francis Swinnerton". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/odnb/9780198614128.013.90000380602. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  5. ^ "Honorary Graduates 1989 to present". University of Bath. Retrieved 18 February 2012.
  6. ^ Hasenson P. British Bridge Almanack. 77, London. pp. 400–1
  7. ^ "Professor Sir Peter Swinnerton-Dyer Bt KBE FRS (1927–2018)". St. Catharine's College, Cambridge. 28 December 2018.

External links[edit]

Baronetage of England
Preceded by
Leonard Schroeder Swinnerton Dyer
(of Tottenham)
Succeeded by
David Dyer-Bennett
Academic offices
Preceded by Master of St Catharine's College, Cambridge
Succeeded by
Preceded by Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge
Succeeded by