Sir Charles Antony Richard Hoare, commonly known as Tony Hoare or C. A. R. Hoare, is a British computer scientist best known for the development (in 1960, at age 26) of Quicksort, one of the world’s most widely used sorting algorithms. He also developed Hoare logic for verifying program correctness, and the formal language Communicating Sequential Processes (CSP) to specify the interactions of concurrent processes (including the dining philosophers problem) and the inspiration for the occam programming language. Hoare’s most significant work has been in the following areas: his sorting algorithm (Quicksort), Hoare logic, the formal language Communicating Sequential Processes (CSP) used to specify the interactions between concurrent processes, structuring computer operating systems using the monitor concept, and the axiomatic specification of programming languages. In 1982, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.
Donald Ervin Knuth is a computer scientist and Professor Emeritus of the Art of Computer Programming at Stanford University. Author of the seminal multi-volume work The Art of Computer Programming, Knuth has been called the “father” of the analysis of algorithms, contributing to the development of, and systematizing formal mathematical techniques for, the rigorous analysis of the computational complexity of algorithms, and in the process popularizing asymptotic notation. In addition to fundamental contributions in several branches of theoretical computer science, Knuth is the creator of the TeX computer typesetting system, the related METAFONT font definition language and rendering system, and the Computer Modern family of typefaces. A writer and scholar, Knuth created the WEB/CWEB computer programming systems designed to encourage and facilitate literate programming, and designed the MMIX instruction set architecture.
Stephen William Hawking is an English theoretical physicist and cosmologist, whose scientific books and public appearances have made him an academic celebrity. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a lifetime member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, and in 2009 was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States. Hawking’s key scientific works to date have included providing, with Roger Penrose, theorems regarding gravitational singularities in the framework of general relativity, and the theoretical prediction that black holes should emit radiation, which is today known as Hawking radiation (or sometimes as Bekenstein–Hawking radiation). Hawking has a neuro-muscular dystrophy that is related to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a condition that has progressed over the years and has left him almost completely paralysed. He became the first quadriplegic to float free in a weightless state. This was the first time in 40 years that he moved freely beyond the confines of his wheelchair.
Sir Vaughan Frederick Randal Jones is a New Zealand mathematician, known mostly for his work on von Neumann algebras and knot polynomials. He was awarded a Fields Medal in 1990, and famously wore a New Zealand rugby jersey when he gave his acceptance speech in Kyoto. Jones is currently on the faculty of Vanderbilt University as a distinguished professor of mathematics. He previously served as a professor at the University of California, Berkeley and a Distinguished Alumni Professor at the University of Auckland. Jones was born in Gisborne, New Zealand and brought up in Cambridge, New Zealand, completing secondary school at Auckland Grammar School. His undergraduate studies were at the University of Auckland, from where he obtained a B.Sc. in 1972 and an M.Sc. in 1973. For his graduate studies, he went to Switzerland, where he completed his Ph.D. at the University of Geneva in 1979. His thesis, titled Actions of finite groups on the hyperfinite II1 factor, was written under the supervision of André Haefliger. In 1980, he moved to the United States, where he taught at the University of California, Los Angeles (1980–1981) and the University of Pennsylvania (1981–1985), before being appointed as Professor of Mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley.
John Horton Conway is a British mathematician active in the theory of finite groups, knot theory, number theory, combinatorial game theory and coding theory. He has also contributed to many branches of recreational mathematics, notably the invention of the cellular automaton called the Game of Life. Conway is currently Professor of Mathematics and John Von Neumann Professor in Applied and Computational Mathematics at Princeton University. He studied at Cambridge, where he started research under Harold Davenport. He received the Berwick Prize (1971), was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (1981), was the first recipient of the Pólya Prize (LMS) (1987), won the Nemmers Prize in Mathematics (1998) and received the Leroy P. Steele Prize for Mathematical Exposition (2000) of the American Mathematical Society. He has an Erdős number of one.
Edwin Abbott Abbott, English schoolmaster and theologian, is best known as the author of the satirical novella Flatland (1884). Abbott’s best-known work is his 1884 novella Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions which describes a two-dimensional world and explores the nature of dimensions. It has often been categorized as science fiction although it could more precisely be called “mathematical fiction”. With the advent of modern science fiction from the 1950s to the present day, Flatland has seen a revival in popularity, especially among science fiction and cyberpunk fans. Many works have been inspired by the novella, including novel sequels, short films, and a feature film called Flatland. He was educated at the City of London School and at St John’s College, Cambridge, where he took the highest honors in classics, mathematics and theology, and became a fellow of his college. In particular, he was 1st Smith’s prizeman in 1861. In 1862 he took orders. After holding masterships at King Edward’s School, Birmingham, he succeeded G. F. Mortimer as headmaster of the City of London School in 1865 at the early age of twenty-six. Here he oversaw the education of future Prime Minister H. H. Asquith. He was Hulsean lecturer in 1876.
Freeman John Dyson FRS is a British-born American theoretical physicist and mathematician, famous for his work in quantum field theory, solid-state physics, astronomy and nuclear engineering. Dyson is a member of the Board of Sponsors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Dyson has lived in Princeton, New Jersey, for over fifty years. In 1960 Dyson wrote a short paper for the journal Science, entitled “Search for Artificial Stellar Sources of Infrared Radiation”. In it, he theorized that a technologically advanced extraterrestrial civilization might completely surround its native star with artificial structures in order to maximize the capture of the star’s available energy. Eventually, the civilization would completely enclose the star, intercepting electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths from visible light downwards and radiating waste heat outwards as infrared radiation. Therefore, one method of searching for extraterrestrial civilizations would be to look for large objects radiating in the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum. Dyson conceived that such structures would be clouds of asteroid-sized space habitats, though science fiction writers have preferred a solid structure: either way, such an artifact is often referred to as a Dyson sphere, although Dyson himself used the term “shell”. Dyson says that he used the term “artificial biosphere” in the article meaning a habitat, not a shape. The general concept of such an energy-transferring shell had been advanced decades earlier by author Olaf Stapledon in his 1937 novel Star Maker, a source that Dyson has reportedly credited publicly.