Vaughan Jones

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This article is about the mathematician. For the former soccer player, see Vaughan Jones (footballer).
Sir Vaughan Jones
Vaughan Jones p1190550.jpg
Vaughan Jones in 2007
Born Vaughan Frederick Randal Jones
(1952-12-31) 31 December 1952 (age 63)
Gisborne, New Zealand
Nationality New Zealand, American
Fields Mathematics
Institutions University of California, Berkeley
Vanderbilt University
Alma mater University of Geneva
University of Auckland
Doctoral advisor André Haefliger
Known for Von Neumann algebras, knot polynomials, conformal field theory
Notable awards Fields Medal (1990)

Sir Vaughan Frederick Randal Jones KNZM FRS FRSNZ FAA (born 31 December 1952) is a New Zealand and American[1] mathematician, known for his work on von Neumann algebras and knot polynomials. He was awarded a Fields Medal in 1990, and famously wore a New Zealand rugby jersey when he gave his acceptance speech in Kyoto.


Vaughan Jones was born in Gisborne, New Zealand and brought up in Cambridge, New Zealand, completing secondary school at Auckland Grammar School. His undergraduate studies were at the University of Auckland, from where he obtained a BSc in 1972 and an MSc in 1973. For his graduate studies, he went to Switzerland, where he completed his PhD at the University of Geneva in 1979. His thesis, titled Actions of finite groups on the hyperfinite II1 factor, was written under the supervision of André Haefliger. In 1980, he moved to the United States, where he taught at the University of California, Los Angeles (1980–1981) and the University of Pennsylvania (1981–1985), before being appointed as Professor of Mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley.

His work on knot polynomials, with the discovery of what is now called the Jones polynomial, was from an unexpected direction with origins in the theory of von Neumann algebras, an area of analysis already much developed by Alain Connes. It led to the solution of a number of classical problems of knot theory, and to increased interest in low-dimensional topology.

Jones has since 2011 been at Vanderbilt University as Stevenson Distinguished Professor of mathematics.[2] He remains Professor Emeritus at University of California, Berkeley where he has been on the faculty since 1985[3] and is a Distinguished Alumni Professor at the University of Auckland.[4]

He was made an honorary vice-president for life of the International Guild of Knot Tyers in 1992.



  • Actions of finite groups on the hyperfinite type II1 factor. Memoirs of the AMS. 1980. 
  • with Frederick M. Goodman and Pierre de la Harpe: Coxeter graphs and towers of algebras. Springer-Verlag. 1989. [9]
  • Subfactors and knots. AMS. 1991. [10]
  • with V. S. Sunder: Introduction to subfactors. Cambridge University Press. 1997. 

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