Famous people who majored in mathematics
This was taken from a list compiled by Steven G. Buyske which appeared in the American Mathematical Monthly, Vol 100 No 9 (November 1993) p 845--846. To help us add to the list check out the bottom of this page.
The Public Realm
- Ralph Abernathy
- Civil rights leader and Martin Luther King's closest aide.
- Corazon Aquino
- Former President of the Philippines. She was a math minor.
- Harry Blackmun
- Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court, AB summa cum laude in mathematics at Harvard.
- David Dinkins
- Mayor of New York, BA in mathematics from Howard.
- Alberto Fujimori
- President of Peru, MS in mathematics from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
- Ira Glasser
- Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union, both a BS and an MA.
- Lee Hsien Loong
- Deputy prime minister of Singapore, a Bachelor's from Cambridge.
- Florence Nightingale
- pioneer in professional nursing. She was the first person in the English-speaking world to apply statistics to public health. She was also a pioneer in the graphic representation of statistics; the pie-chart was her invention, for example. Not really a math major, she was privately educated, but pursued mathematics far beyond contemporary standards for women.
- Paul Painleve
- President of France in the early 20th century, and one of the first passengers of the Wright Brothers. A ringer: he had a distinguished mathematical career
- Carl T. Rowan,
- columnist for the Washington Post.
- Laurence H. Tribe
- Professor at Harvard Law School, often regarded as one of the great contemporary authorities on Constitutional Law. An AB summa cum laude in mathematics from Harvard.
- Leon Trotsky
- revolutionary. He began to study pure mathematics at Odessa in 1897, but imprisonment and exile in Siberia seem to have ended his mathematical efforts.
- Eamon de Valera
- long-time Prime Minister and then President of the Republic of Ireland. A ringer: he was a mathematics professor before Irish independence.
- Ernst Ansermet
- Founder and conductor of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande.
- Pierre Boulez
- Modernist composer and conductor.
- Clifford Brown
- Fifties jazz trumpeter
- Art Garfunkel
- folk-rock singer. MA in mathematics from Columbia in 1967. Worked on a PhD at Columbia, but chose to pursue his musical career instead.
- Phillip Glass
- Composer, a Bachelor's from the University of Chicago.
- Carole King
- Sixties songwriter, and later a singer-songwriter. She dropped out after one year of college to pursue her music career.
- Tom Lehrer
- Songwriter-parodist. PhD student in mathematics at Harvard. Currently a math professor at UC Santa Cruz
- Lawrence Leighton Smith
- Conductor and pianist
The other arts
- Lewis Carroll
- Author of Alice in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass, and other works. A ringer: he was logician under his real name, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson.
- Heloise (Ponce Cruse Evans)
- of Hints from Heloise. She minored in math.
- Larry Niven
- Science fiction wiriter, winner of the Nebula and Hugo awards.
- Omar Khayyam
- Author of The Rubaiyat. Another ringer: he published works on algebra and Euclid
- Alexander Solzhenitsyn
- Nobel prize-winning novelist, a degree in mathematics and physics from the university of Rostov.
- Bram Stoker
- Author of Dracula, took honors at Trinity University, Dublin.
- Christopher Wren
- The architect of St. Paul's Chatedral in London.
- John Maynard Keynes
- The great economist. MA and 12th Wrangler, Cambridge University.
- J. Pierpont Morgan
- The banking, steel, and railroad magnate. Some of the Gottigen faculty tried to convince him to become a professional mathematician.
- Ed Torpe
- One of the inventors of program-trading on Wall Street.
- Edmund Husserl
- the "Father of Phenomenology," PhD 1883 from Vienna.
- Ludwig Wittgenstein
- One of the giants of twentieth-century philosophy. Studied mathematical logic with Bertrand Russell.
Athletes and other competitors
- Michael Jordon
- Basketball superstar. He changed to another major in his junior year.
- Davey Johnson
- Manager of the 1896 New York Mets.
- Emanuel Lasker
- World chess champion from 1894--1921. Another ringer: he was a mathematics professor with several published papers.
- Frank Ryan
- Star quarterback for the Cleveland Browns in the sixties. PhD from Rice.
- Virgina Wade
- Wimbledon champion, BS in mathematics and physics from Sussex.
- James Moriarty
- Former Professor of Mathematics, author of The Dynamics of an Asteroid, whose essay on the binomial theorem is said to have had a continental vogue, became the leader of the most sinister criminal conspiracy in Victorian England. He has been called "the Napoleon of Crime." Sherlock Holmes's nemesis.
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