DISTINGUISHED LECTURES

The Maxwell Institute runs four series of distinguished annual lectures.

ATIYAH LECTURE

An annual lecture to commemorate Sir Michael Atiyah (1929-2019), delivered by a distinguished mathematician who has provided a significant service to the international mathematical community.

Whittaker LECTURE

An annual lecture to commemorate Sir Edmund Whittaker (1873-1956), delivered by a distinguished mathematician.

Fitch LECTURE

An annual lecture to commemorate Davey Fitch (1978-2019), the first Business Development Officer for the University of Edinburgh School of Mathematics. The lecture aims to highlight the impact of Mathematical Sciences.

FINNEY LECTURE

An annual lecture to commemorate Professor David Finney (1917-2018). The lecture aims to highlight exceptional research in the field of applied statistics.
Sir Michael Atiyah

ATIYAH LECTURE

The Atiyah Lecture is an annual lecture to commemorate Sir Michael Atiyah (1929-2019), delivered by a distinguished mathematician who has provided a significant service to the international mathematical community.

Sir Michael Atiyah

Sir Michael Francis Atiyah was a British-Lebanese mathematician who held appointments at the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton, NJ), University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, Royal Society, and Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences. His work in topology and analysis earned him the Fields Medal in 1966, followed by the Copley Medal in 1988 for his fundamental contributions to the mathematical sciences. In 2004, Sir Atiyah, alongside Isadore Singer, was awarded the Abel Prize for his development of K-theory which culminated with the creation of the Atiyah-Singer index theorem. 

Sir Atiyah also received a knighthood in 1983 and the Order of Merit in 1992. From 1997 until his passing, he was an honorary professor at the University of Edinburgh.

Past Lectures

The first Atiyah Lecture was given by Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon on 11 January 2021: What is a Spinor? You can watch the lecture online.

The second Atiyah Lecture was presented by Professor Thaleia Zariphopoulou on 13 May 2022: Human-machine interaction models and stochastic optimization.

The third Atiyah Lecture was delivered by Prof. Edriss Titi (University of Cambridge) on 8 June 2023: Determining the Global Dynamics of Infinite-dimensional Dissipative System by a Scalar ODE – The Navier-Stokes Equations Paradigm.

The fourth Atiyah Lecture was presented on 20th March 2024 by Caroline Series (University of Warwick) on Arranging data in hyperbolic space.

Upcoming Lectures

The fifth Atiyah Lecture will be delivered in 2025. Stay tuned for updates!

Sir Edmund Whittaker

WHITTAKER LECTURE

The Whittaker Lecture is an annual lecture to commemorate Sir Edmund Whittaker (1873 – 1956), delivered by a distinguished mathematician.

Sir Edmund Whittaker

Sir Edmund Whittaker was an English mathematician whose contributions to special functions, an area of interest in mathematical physics, pioneered the subject. During his career, Sir Whittaker was a fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge and the Royal Society. He was the Professor of Astronomy at the University of Dublin from 1906-1912 and appointed Astronomer Royal of Ireland. From 1912 until his retirement in 1946, Sir Whittaker served as a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Edinburgh and received a knighthood in 1945.

Sir Whittaker also made significant contributions to the study of dynamical problems (such as the three-body problem) and differential equations. In 1954, he was awarded the Copley Medal.

Past Lectures

The first Whittaker lecture was given by Prof. Yuri Tschinkel in 2020 on Rational points, rational curves, and rational varieties.

Prof. Claire Voisin presented the second Whittaker Lecture in 2022 on Hyper-Kahler Manifolds, with supporting lectures from Evgeny Shinder (Jacobians and derived equivalence of elliptic K3 surfaces) and Egor Yasinsky (Birational automorphisms of algebraic surfaces over non-closed fields).

The third Whittaker Lecture was delivered by Prof. James Maynard (University of Oxford) on Thursday 7th December 2023: Primes, the zeta function, and zero density estimates. 

Upcoming Lectures

The 2024 Whittaker Lecture will be delivered by Prof. Kavita Ramanan (Brown University) on 15th May 2024. More information is available here.

FITCH LECTURE

An annual lecture to commemorate Davey Fitch (1978-2019), the first Business Development Officer for the University of Edinburgh School of Mathematics. The lecture aims to highlight the impact of Mathematical Sciences.
Davey Fitch
Davey Fitch was the University of Edinburgh School of Mathematics’ first Business Development Officer from 2017 to 2019. During his time in the role, Davey represented the School in front of many different audiences and developed a plethora of fruitful collaborations with industry partners, supporting researchers, postdocs, PhD students, and MSc studentships. His efforts allowed the School of Mathematics to gain a central position in the Bayes Centre and the City Region Deal. Outside of work, Davey was an avid runner and enjoyed completing half and full marathons. 
Past Lectures

The first Fitch lecture was given by Professor John Aston on 5th May 2021: Statistics, Science and Government: A Statistician as a CSA.

Prof. Arnaud Doucet presented the second Fitch Lecture on 4th November 2022: An Unlikely Journey.

The third Fitch lecture was delivered by Prof. Vicky Pope on 13 June 2023: Climate Change: How can mathematics help us to respond?

Upcoming Lectures

The fourth Fitch Lecture will be presented on 9th May 2024 by Antoine Bavandi. More info here.

FINNEY LECTURE

The Finney Lecture is an annual lecture to commemorate Professor David Finney (1917 – 2018). The lecture aims to highlight exceptional research in the field of statistics.

Professor David Finney

Professor David Finney was a statistician whose work pioneered the development of drug safety monitoring systems. Two of his most well-known publications – Probit Analysis (1947) and Statistical Method in Biological Assay (1952) – redefined their subject areas. Professor Finney was based at the University of Edinburgh from 1966 until 1984 when he retired.

Professor Finney was President of the Royal Statistical Society from 1973-74, President of the Biometric Society from 1964-65, a fellow of the Royal Society from 1955, a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and was presented with a CBE in 1978. He also served on Advisory Committees for the FAO and WHO and chaired the Flowers Committee in 1970-74, which helped determine the way in which computing should develop in UK universities and research councils.

Past Lectures

Prof. Sheila Bird presented the first David Finney Lecture in 2017 – Biostatistician Behind Bars: Design, Linkage, and Vigilance.

The second David Finney Lecture was given by Prof. David Dunson in 2018 on Studying Variation in Human Brain Connectomes: Impact of Substance Use and Education.

Prof. Ian Dryden presented the third David Finney Lecture in 2019 on Object Data Driven Discovery.

The fourth David Finney Lecture was given by Prof. Sir David Spiegelhalter in 2020 on Communicating Statistics, risk and uncertainty in the age of Covid.

Distinguished Prof. Kerrie Mengersen (Queensland University of Technology) presented the fifth David Finney Lecture in 2021 – Crikey – it’s a Bayesian!

The sixth David Finney Lecture was given by Prof. Mark Girolami (University of Cambridge) in 2022 – Data Centric Engineering: A New Concept?

Prof. Bin Yu (University of California, Berkeley) presented the seventh David Finney Lecture on 2 May 2023: Veridical data science with a case study to seek genetic drivers of a heart disease.

Upcoming Lectures

The eighth Finney Lecture will be delivered in 2024. Stay tuned for updates!