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Sir Christopher Zeeman FRS 90th Birthday Celebration and the launch of the Zeeman Archive

On 19th March 2015, Sir Christopher’s 90th birthday celebration was hosted by Hertford College, Oxford and was attended by family, colleagues and old friends.

At the celebration, The London Mathematical Society launched the Sir Christopher Zeeman Archive. The Archive is the result of the hard work and dedication of Sir Christopher’s family, in particular Mary Lou Zeeman and Crispin Zeeman, and Elaine Greaves Coelho. It is not yet complete and will be added to as further publishers’ permissions are obtained.

The online archive represents a lifetime of Sir Christopher’s work, including letters he wrote, papers he published, interviews he gave, and the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures that he gave in 1978, which were shown live on BBC2. Sir Christopher was the first mathematician to give these lectures since they began in 1825.

Zeeman presentation

Sir Christopher is presented with a book containing well over 150 birthday messages and photographs sent by friends, colleagues and students from all over the world.

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 Christmas Lectures, from which grew the Mathematics Masterclasses for primary and secondary school children that now flourish around the United Kingdom.

In 1964, Sir Christopher 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.

Zeeman talks

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.

Professor David Rand and Professor Terry Lyons (President of the LMS) giving speeches about Sir Christopher and his work.