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Famous people who majored in mathematics
Posted by gage@math.rochester.edu, 10/9/00 at 9:46:42 PM.
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 845846. To help us add to the list check out the bottom of this page.
The RoseHulman Math Club also maintains a
similar page (with pictures!).
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 WisconsinMilwaukee.
 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 Englishspeaking world to apply statistics to public health. She was also a pioneer in the graphic representation of statistics; the piechart 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
 longtime Prime Minister and then President of the Republic of Ireland. A ringer: he was a mathematics professor before Irish independence.
Music
 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
 folkrock 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 singersongwriter. She dropped out after one year of college to pursue her music career.
 Tom Lehrer
 Songwriterparodist. 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 prizewinning 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.
Finance
 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 programtrading on Wall Street.
Philosophers
 Edmund Husserl
 the "Father of Phenomenology," PhD 1883 from Vienna.
 Ludwig Wittgenstein
 One of the giants of twentiethcentury philosophy. Studied mathematical logic with Bertrand Russell.
Atheletes 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 18941921. 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.
Literary criminals
 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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