Person: Polkinghorne, John Charlton
John Polkinghorne was an English mathematical physicist, an Anglican priest and a theologian. He worked in quantum mechanics.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- John attended the local primary school in Street, but when his progress in reading was below par his parents had him taught at home by a friend who was educating her own son.
- The school only took pupils up to the age of eleven, and at this stage in his education John was sent to Elmhurst Grammar School in Street.
- Peter was nine years older than John and when the war began he had joined the Royal Air Force.
- Polkinghorne had to undertake a year of National Service before entering Cambridge which began with basic training with the Royal Hampshire Regiment.
- Polkinghorne entered Trinity College, Cambridge, in October 1949.
- At Cambridge he met Ruth Martin, a mathematics student who, like Polkinghorne, was a member of the Christian Union.
- Polkinghorne had spent these three years as a research student at Cambridge, supervised first by Kemmer, then after Kemmer left Cambridge, by Abdus Salam.
- Polkinghorne particularly enjoyed teaching at Edinburgh and also began supervising research students, another part of being a university teacher that he found very satisfying.
- Polkinghorne's contributions to mathematical physics were truly outstanding.
- In 1955 Polkinghorne published several important papers.
- Polkinghorne continued to publish a remarkable number of important papers.
- Polkinghorne's group at Cambridge continued developing the so-called "Cambridge program" of formulating and exploiting the concept of maximal analyticity.
- In 1977 Polkinghorne had made a decision to make a major career change when he decided to enter the ordained ministry of the Church of England.
- Another important contribution made by Polkinghorne is service on several government committees.
- Dr Polkinghorne resigned a prestigious position as Professor of Mathematical Physics at the University of Cambridge in 1979 to pursue theological studies, becoming a priest in 1982.
Born 16 October 1930, Weston-super-Mare, England. Died 9 March 2021, Cambridge, England.
View full biography at MacTutor
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Thank you to the contributors under CC BY-SA 4.0!
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive