A lecture to mark the publication of Robin Wilson and Raymond Flood's new book The Great Mathematicians: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Universe. Mathematics pervades our daily lives. Our credit cards and the nation's defence are kept secure largely due to the properties of prime numbers, and mathematics is intimately involved whenever we fly in an aeroplane, predict the weather or analyse data. But what mathematics is involved, and who first introduced it? Raymond Flood and Robin Wilson describe some interesting mathematicians' contributions.
Dr. Raymond Flood
Dr. Raymond Flood graduated from Belfast University before completing his Master's Degree at the University of Oxford. He has been the President of the British Society for the History of Mathematics and the senior Tutor at Kellogg College.
Professor Robin Wilson
Professor Robin Wilson is Emeritus Gresham Professor of Geometry, a professor in the Department of Mathematics at the Open University, and a Stipendiary Lecturer at Pembroke College, Oxford. Professor Wilson also regularly teaches as a guest Professor at Colorado College.
Professor Wilson's academic interests lie in graph theory, particularly in colouring problems, e.g. the four colour problem, and algebraic properties of graphs. He also researches the history of mathematics, particularly British mathematics and mathematics in the 17th century and the period 1860 to 1940 and the history of graph theory and combinatorics.
Prior to his appointment as Gresham Professor of Geometry in 2004, he was the Visiting Professor in the History of Mathematics. Upon his appointment to the Geometry chair, Professor Wilson said: "Mathematics is, and has always been a central part of human culture, and I do not believe that one can fully understand the subject if it is separated from its historical roots. My proposed lectures are designed to support this conviction."