History

The London Mathematical Society held its inaugural meeting on 16 January 1865.  Its establishment was the result of a discussion in summer 1864 between Arthur Cowper Ranyard and George Campbell De Morgan, whose father Augustus De Morgan agreed to chair the first meeting of the Society.

Originally tentatively called the London University Mathematical Society, its name changed to University College London Mathematical Society before Augustus De Morgan insisted that “University College” be dropped from the title to broaden the Society’s membership, and hence the London Mathematical Society was founded.

Since then, the Society has increased its membership to over two thousand members including several hundred overseas members to become the main British mathematical Society for the advancement, dissemination and promotion of mathematics in the UK and worldwide. 

In doing so, it has established leading mathematical publications from the first Proceedings of the London Mathematical Society to the more recent Journal of Topology.  Moreover, to recognise the achievements of mathematicians, the Society awards the De Morgan Medal and seven other prestigious prizes. Finally, by offering a variety of grant schemes specifically tailored to the needs of mathematicians, the Society makes a key contribution to the support for research in mathematics both in the UK and overseas. 

The history of the London Mathematical Society stretches over 140 years and in 2015, it will celebrate its 150th anniversary.

Highlights of the Society’s history can be found in the Society’s Chronological Map, which is taken from the Book of Presidents 1865-1945.