Professor Jan Saxl: A leading figure in algebra

It is with sadness that the London Mathematical Society (LMS) has learnt of the death of Professor Jan Saxl. Profesor Saxl was a longstanding member of the LMS, joining the Society in 1976.

He grew up in Czechoslovakia and came to the UK for his undergraduate studies at Bristol, followed by a DPhil at Oxford under the supervision of Peter Neumann, graduating in 1973. After this he held research positions in Chicago and Cambridge, and a lectureship at Glasgow, before returning to Cambridge in 1979, where he spent the rest of his career, eventually retiring as Professor of Algebra in 2015. 

Professor Saxl was a leading figure in algebra for almost 50 years, publishing around 100 articles and books on a wide range of topics: finite simple groups, maximal subgroups, permutation groups, representation theory, algebraic groups, algebraic combinatorics, and applications to other areas such as number theory, Galois theory and model theory.

He organised numerous high profile conferences and programmes, including an Isaac Newton Institute programme, several Durham symposia, and meetings at Oberwolfach, and Banff, among many others. He served on the editorial boards of the LMS journals, the Journal of Algebra and the Cambridge Philosophical Society for many years. He supervised ten Cambridge PhDs, and was an inspiring teacher for hundreds of undergraduates.

(The information for this article was provided by Professor Martin Liebeck, Imperial College London)