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Lucasian Professor of Mathematics

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

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

# Year of appointment Portrait Name Speciality Tenure (years)
1 1663 80px Isaac Barrow
(1630 – 1677)
Classics and mathematics 6
2 1669 80px Isaac Newton
(1642 – 1726)
Mathematics and physics 33
3 1702 80px William Whiston
(1667 – 1752)
Mathematics 9
4 1711 80px Nicholas Saunderson
(1682 – 1739)
Mathematics 28
5 1739 80px John Colson
(1680 – 1760)
Mathematics 21
6 1760 80px Edward Waring
(1736 – 1798)
Mathematics 38
7 1798 80px Isaac Milner
(1750 – 1820)
Mathematics and chemistry 22
8 1820 80px Robert Woodhouse
(1773 – 1827)
Mathematics 2
9 1822 80px Thomas Turton
(1780 – 1864)
Mathematics 4
10 1826 80px George Biddell Airy
(1801 – 1892)
Astronomy 2
11 1828 80px Charles Babbage
(1791 – 1871)
Mathematics and computing 11
12 1839 80px Joshua King
(1798 – 1857)
Mathematics 10
13 1849 80px George Gabriel Stokes
(1819 – 1903)
Physics and fluid mechanics 54
14 1903 80px Joseph Larmor
(1857 – 1942)
Physics 29
15 1932 80px Paul Dirac
(1902 – 1984)
Physics 37
16 1969 80px James Lighthill
(1924 – 1998)
Fluid mechanics 10
17 1979 80px Stephen Hawking
(born 1942)
Theoretical physics and cosmology 30
18 2009 80px Michael Green
(born 1946)
Theoretical physics current
19 2015 (from 1st July) 80px Michael Cates
(born 1961)
Statistical mechanics of soft condensed matter elected

Notes

References

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