Focus on English Mathematicians

Did you know that England is home to some famous mathematicians? Learn more about a handful of English mathematicians below…


Charles Dodgson / Lewis Carroll

He is best known for his literary works, such as Alice in Wonderland, but he was also a very successful mathematician. However, he went by his real name Charles Lutwidge Dodgson when he wasn’t writing.

He studied Mathematics and Classics at the University of Oxford where he went on to become a Maths lecturer. A lot of his work was focused on geometry, both linear and matrix algebra and in later years he wrote extensively about mathematical logic.


Sir Isaac Newton

Born in 1643, Sir Isaac Newton was a highly influential English mathematician, astronomer, physicist, alchemist, and theologian. He is widely recognised as one of the most important scientists of all time having devised numerous theories and philosophies, the most celebrated of these being the discovery of the Law of Gravity and the Laws of Motion.

His work Principia Mathematica laid the framework for the Scientific Revolution of the Seventeenth Century. This is quite an unforeseen achievement when you learn that he was born into the world over 11 weeks early and wasn’t expected to survive


Ada Lovelace

Ada was born in London in 1815 as Augusta Ada Byron, Countess of Lovelace to parents. Her mother insisted that Ada was taught maths and science by tutors; William Frend, a social reformer, William King, the family Doctor, and Mary Somerville, a Scottish mathematician.

Ada is known as the first computer programmer due to the article that she wrote about the work that Charles Babbage carried out on a machine that was meant to perform mathematical calculations. This article was published in 1843 but didn’t gain popularity until the 1950’s when her forward-thinking ideas were recognised in the field of computer science.


Stephen Hawking

Born in 1942, he was known throughout the world for his contribution to science and especially for his ground-breaking work on black holes and relativity. Not only was he a successful scientist but he was also an author and professor. Hawking held the renowned post of the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics for 30 years at the University of Cambridge.

He also received thirteen honorary degrees, was awarded many prizes and awards, including the prestigious Albert Einstein Award, and was a Fellow of the Royal Society. He made such a large contribution to science despite his long battle with motor neurone disease.


George Boole

Born in Lincolnshire in 1815, he was a largely self-taught English mathematician, logician and philosopher who was the first professor of mathematics at Queen’s College in Cork, Ireland.

Boole carried out a lot of work on differential equations and rational functions. He mainly focused on differential equations and algebraic logic, now known as Boolean algebra which is the basis of digital computer circuits.  His works appear in over 50 articles and a handful of publications.


Do you know any other English mathematicians? Let us know!

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