UK Nonlinear News,
A Tribute to Ian Stewart FRS
In April, 2001 Ian Stewart was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society
in recognition of his contributions to mathematics and to the public
understanding of mathematics and science. The first question that
occurs to people who are introduced to Ian's work is: How can he
do all that? I have known Ian for 25 years and I still find myself
asking the same question. Here's part of the answer: Ian is an
excellent writer whose first drafts are so good that many of us would
be happy to call them our final drafts. In addition to his numerous
research papers, he has published many excellent books - at all
levels. There are undergraduate texts (Galois Theory, Algebraic Number
Theory), popular texts (Catastrophe Theory), advanced texts / monographs
(on bifurcation theory and symmetry), trade publications (Does God Play
Dice?, Fearful Symmetry, Nature's Numbers, Collapse of Chaos, Life's
Other Secrets) and science fiction (The Science of Discworld, Wheelers)
to name many but not all. Ian has set a standard for the communication
of mathematics and its relationship to science that few have equalled.
Moreover, for ten years Ian wrote the monthly "Mathematics Recreation"
column in Scientific American. As a tribute to his expositional
talents, Ian was asked to give the prestigious Royal Institution / BBC
Christmas lectures - just one of two mathematicians ever so honoured.
Ian, trained as an algebraist, was introduced to Nonlinear Science
by Christopher Zeeman and the Warwick community during the heady days
of catastrophe theory. For the past 15 years Ian's research has
focused on equivariant dynamics and its applications. Together we
discovered how spatio-temporal symmetries can be built into Hopf
bifurcation and applied those ideas to certain pattern forming systems.
Montaldi, Roberts, and Stewart developed a theory for equivariant
Hamiltonian systems along with generalizations of the Moser-Weinstein
theorem. More recently, Ian has pursued applications of dynamical
systems in biology with Jack Cohen. Just one more comment: as cited
by the Royal Society, Ian has found a way, with Muldoon and Reynolds,
to use nonlinear dynamics to aid in the manufacture of higher quality
As you might expect, visiting Ian at his Warwick office is always a
treat - so much going on and always interesting. Fortunately, for
relaxation, there's always the pub lunch.
Ian Stewart has deservedly been awarded many prizes for his work
including the Michael Faraday Award, the Communications Award of the
US Joint Policy Board for Mathematics, the 2000 Gold Medal from the
Institute for Mathematics and its Applications, and now induction
into the Royal Society.
<< Move to UK Nonlinear News Issue
26 Index Page.
Page Created: 29th August 2001.
Last Updated: 29th August 2001.