Zeeman Archive

Sir Christopher Zeeman

Online Archive of Sir Christopher Zeeman

Sir Christopher Zeeman FRS (1925-2016) was the 63rd President of the London Mathematical Society (1986–88) giving his Presidential Address: On the classification of dynamical systems on 18 November 1988. He was awarded the Senior Whitehead Prize of the Society in 1982, and he was the Society's first Forder lecturer, in 1987.

This online archive of Sir Christopher’s lifetime work includes published work, lectures and lecture notes, interviews, and more.  It does not contain personal papers or correspondence.

Sir Christopher’s contributions to mathematics range from geometric topology to dynamical systems, with applications across the sciences. He is known among the wider scientific public for his contribution to, and spreading awareness of Catastrophe Theory, and for the 1978 televised Christmas Lectures at the Royal Institution, from which grew the Mathematics Masterclasses for primary and secondary school children that now flourish around the United Kingdom.

From 1953 to 1964, Sir Christopher was a Fellow of Gonville and Caius College in Cambridge. In 1964, he founded the Mathematics Institute at Warwick University. He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1975, and was awarded the Society's Faraday Medal in 1988. In 1988, he became Principal of Hertford College, Oxford. The following year he was appointed an honorary fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge, where he was a student. He received a knighthood in 1991 for "mathematical excellence and service to British mathematics and mathematics education". On 6 May 2005, the University of Warwick's new Mathematics and Statistics building was named the Zeeman building in his honour. In 2006, the London Mathematical Society and the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications awarded him the David Crighton medal in recognition of his long and distinguished service to mathematics and the mathematical community.

The Christopher Zeeman Medal for Communication of Mathematics of the London Mathematical Society and the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications is named in Sir Christopher's honour. The award aims to honour mathematicians who have excelled in promoting mathematics and engaging with the general public.