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List of mathematicians, physicians, and scientists educated at Jesus College, Oxford

The crest of Jesus College above the entrance on Ship Street

Jesus College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England. The college was founded in 1571 by Queen Elizabeth I at the request of Hugh Price, a Welsh clergyman, who was Treasurer of St David's Cathedral in Pembrokeshire. The college still has strong links with Wales, and about 15% of students are Welsh.[1] There are 340 undergraduates and 190 students carrying out postgraduate studies.[2] Women have been admitted since 1974, when the college was one of the first five men's colleges to become co-educational.[3] Old members of Jesus College are sometimes known as "Jesubites".[4]

Mathematicians who have studied at Jesus College include Nigel Hitchin (Savilian Professor of Geometry at Oxford 1997–2016), Jonathan Borwein (a former Rhodes Scholar who has held professorial appointments in Canada and Australia), and Jim Mauldon (who taught at Oxford before moving to the United States to teach at Amherst College in Massachusetts). David E. Evans is Professor of Mathematics at Cardiff University, and H. W. Lloyd Tanner was Professor of Mathematics and Astronomy at one of its predecessor institutions, the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire. Several noted individuals from biology, botany and zoology were educated at the college, including the Welsh clergyman Hugh Davies (whose Welsh Botanology of 1813 was the first publication to cross-reference the Welsh-language and the scientific names of plants), Edward Bagnall Poulton (Professor of Zoology at Oxford) and James Brontë Gatenby (Professor of Zoology at Trinity College, Dublin). Frank Greenaway was Keeper of the Department of Chemistry at the Science Museum in London for over 20 years, and the physicist Chris Rapley was director of the museum 2007–2010. Other physicists who are Old Members of the college include Michael Woolfson (a former Professor of Physics at the University of York) and Edward Hinds (whose work on ultra-cold matter won him the Rumford Medal of the Royal Society in 2008). Edwin Stevens, who studied Natural Science at the college, designed the world's first wearable hearing aid, and Sir Graham Sutton became director-general of the Meteorological Office ('Met Office').

The college had its own science laboratories from 1907 to 1947, which were overseen (for all but the last three years) by the physical chemist David Chapman, a Fellow of the college from 1907 to 1944. At the time of their closure, they were the last college-based science laboratories at the university.[5] They were named the Sir Leoline Jenkins laboratories, after a former principal of the college. Scientific research and tuition (particularly in chemistry) became an important part of the college's academic life after the construction of the laboratories.[6] The brochure produced for the opening ceremony noted that the number of science students at the college had increased rapidly in recent years, and that provision of college laboratories would assist the tuition of undergraduates, as well as attracting to Jesus College those graduates of the University of Wales who wished to continue their research at Oxford. One of the college science lecturers had a link with Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI); 17 students joined ICI between the two World Wars, some of whom (such as John Rose) reached senior levels in the company. The laboratories became unnecessary when the university began to provide centralised facilities for students, and they were closed in 1947.[6]


Abbreviations used in the following tables
  • M – Year of matriculation at Jesus College (a dash indicates that the individual did not matriculate at the college)
  • G – Year of graduation / conclusion of study at Jesus College (a dash indicates that the individual moved to another college before graduating or concluding studies)
  • DNG – Did not graduate: left the college without obtaining a degree
  •  ? – Year unknown; approximate year used for table-sorting purposes
  • (F)  – later became a Fellow of Jesus College, and included on the list of Principals and Fellows
  • (HF)  – later became an Honorary Fellow of Jesus College, and included on the list of Honorary Fellows
Degree abbreviations

The subject studied and the degree classification are included, where known. Until the early 19th century, undergraduates read for a Bachelor of Arts degree that included study of Latin and Greek texts, mathematics, geometry, philosophy and theology. Individual subjects at undergraduate level were only introduced later: for example, Mathematics (1805), Natural Science (1850), Jurisprudence (1851, although it had been available before this to students who obtained special permission), Modern History (1851) and Theology (1871). Geography and Modern Languages were introduced in the 20th century. Music had been taught as a specialist subject, rather than being part of the BA course, before these changes; medicine was studied as a post-graduate subject.[7]


Name M G Degree Notes Ref
Jonathan Borwein 1971 1974 MSc (1972), DPhil Mathematics (1974) Canadian Rhodes Scholar and mathematician; a professor at the University of Newcastle, Australia, since 2009; formerly a professor at Dalhousie University and Simon Fraser University, Canada [8]
S. Barry Cooper 1963 1966 BA Professor of Mathematical Logic at the University of Leeds [9]
David E. Evans 1972 1975 MSc (1973), DPhil Mathematics Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cardiff; studied as an undergraduate at New College and moved to Jesus College in 1972 [10]
John Griffiths (F) 1856 1862 BA Mathematics (1st, 1860), MA (1862) Fellow and Tutor in Mathematics, with a particular interest in analytical geometry [11][12][13]
Nigel Hitchin (HF) 1965 1968 BA Mathematics Mathematician working in the field of differential geometry and algebraic geometry; Savilian Professor of Geometry at Oxford (1997–2016) [14][15]
Hugh Jones 1708 1716 BA 1712
MA 1716
Professor of Mathematics at The College of William and Mary, Virginia (1717–1721); "Lord Baltimore's Mathematician" [16][17]
Jim Mauldon 1938 1947 BA Mathematics (1st) Studies interrupted by military service during the Second World War, during which he won the Military Cross; a Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford before becoming a professor at Amherst College in the United States [18]
H. W. Lloyd Tanner 1868 1873 BA Mathematics (1st, 1872), BA Natural Science (1st, 1873) Professor of Mathematics and Astronomy at the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire (1883–1909) [11][19][20]
Gareth Roberts 1982? 1985 BA Mathematics Professor of Statistics at the University of Warwick since 2007; has a particular research interest in Markov chains [21][22]
David Williams (HF) 1956 1962 BA Mathematics (1st), DPhil Mathematics Fellow of the Royal Society and specialist in probability [23][24][25][26]
Sir Edward Wright (HF) 1926 1929 BA Mathematics (1st) Professor of Mathematics at Aberdeen University, having earlier been the first Junior Research Fellow at Christ Church [19][27][28][29]


The Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford, where Alexander Cooke was a consultant for over 30 years
Name M G Degree Notes Ref
Nathan Alcock 1741 1749 MB (1744), MD (1749) Physician and medical lecturer [30]
Alexander Cooke 1919 1923 BA Natural Science (1st) May Reader in Medicine at Oxford (1933–1947), consultant physician at the Radcliffe Infirmary (1933–1966) [19][31]
John Jones (F) 1662 1666 BA (1666), MA (1670), BCL (1673), DCL (1677) Chancellor of Llandaff Cathedral, physician and inventor [32][33]
Sir Seymour Sharkey (HF) 1866 1875 BA Natural Science (1st, 1870), MB (1875), MD (1888) Consultant physician at St Thomas' Hospital [34]
Alban Thomas 1704? 1707? ? Eighteenth-century Welsh physician; also worked with Moses Williams to collect and publish material contained in Welsh language manuscripts; he graduated from the University of Aberdeen and is not recorded in Foster's Alumni Oxonienses [35]
John Williams 1647 1647DNG Welsh non-conformist minister, who also worked as a physician [36]
William Williams 1877 1881 BA Natural Science (1st) Public health doctor with a particular interest in sanitation issues [12][20][37]

Biologists and other natural scientistsEdit

The memorial to Hugh Davies in St Mary's, Beaumaris
Name M G Degree Notes Ref
Arthur Church (F) 1891 1894 BA Natural Science (Botany) (1st) University Reader in Botany (1910–1930), elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1921 [12][38]
Francis Cole 1901 1904? ? Professor of Zoology at Reading University (1906–1939), founder of the Cole Museum of Zoology [39][40]
Hugh Davies 1757 1762 BA Welsh clergyman and botanist, whose main work, Welsh Botanology (1813), was the first to cross-reference the names of plants in Welsh with their scientific names [41]
William Weekes Fowler 1873 BA Matriculated at New College before transferring to Jesus with a scholarship; a clergyman, headmaster and entomologist who was President of the Incorporated Association of Head Masters and President of the Entomological Society of London [19][20]
Walter Garstang 1884 1888 BA Natural Science (Animal Morphology) (2nd) Invertebrate zoologist and marine biologist [12][42]
James Brontë Gatenby 1913 1920 BA Zoology (1st, 1916), DPhil (1920) Professor of zoology and comparative anatomy at Trinity College, Dublin [43][44][45]
Edward Lhuyd 1682 1685DNG Naturalist, botanist, linguist, geographer and antiquary [46]
Robert Perkins 1885 1889 BA Natural Science (Animal Morphology) (4th) Entomologist, noted for his work on the fauna of the islands of Hawaii [12][47]
Edward Bagnall Poulton (F) 1873 1876 BA Natural Science (1st) Appointed Hope Professor of Zoology in 1893 [48][49]
Ronald Winckworth 1906 1910 BA Mathematics Natural historian, President of the Conchological Society of Great Britain and Ireland and Vice-President of the Linnean Society [50][51]


The Science Museum, where Frank Greenaway was Keeper of the Department of Chemistry for over 20 years
Name M G Degree Notes Ref
Graham Dixon-Lewis 1940 1948 BA Chemistry (1944), DPhil (1948) Combustion engineer and Fellow of the Royal Society [52]
Herbert George (F) 1911 1914 BA Natural Science (1st) University lecturer in chemistry, college librarian and bursar [53]
Frank Greenaway 1936 1939 BA Chemistry Keeper of the Department of Chemistry at the Science Museum (1967–1980); Reader in the History of Science at the Davy-Faraday Research Laboratory of the Royal Institution (1970–1985) [21][54][55]
William Lewis 1890 1894 BA Natural Science (Chemistry) (2nd) Professor of Chemistry at University College, Exeter (1901–1935) [11][12][56]
Derek Long 1943 1949 BA Chemistry (1st, 1946), DPhil (1949) Emeritus Professor of Structural Chemistry at the University of Bradford, working in the field of Raman spectroscopy [57]
John Rose 1929 1933 BA Chemistry (1932), BSc (1933) Research chemist at Imperial Chemical Industries [58]
Walter H. Stockmayer (HF) 1935 1937 BSc (in gas kinetics) American Rhodes Scholar, who was a chemist and pioneer of polymer science [59][60]
John Whiston 1911 1914 BA Chemistry (1st) Associate Professor in chemistry at the Royal Military College of Science (1936–1956) [27][43][61]


Name M G Degree Notes Ref
Anatole Abragam (HF) 1948 1950 DPhil A French physicist [62]
Keith Burnett (HF) 1972 1979 BA Physics (1975), DPhil Physics (1979) Physicist and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield [21][63]
Edward Hinds 1968 1974 BA Physics (1971), DPhil (1974) Physicist who won the Rumford Medal in 2008 for his work in ultra-cold matter [21][64]
Sir John Houghton (F/HF) 1948 1955 BA Physics (1st, 1951), DPhil Physics (1955) Professor of Atmospheric Physics (1976–1983) and chair of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [21][65][66][67]
Gwyn Jones 1935 1938 BA Physics (1st) Professor of Physics at the University of London, who became Director of the National Museum of Wales [68][69][70]
Chris Rapley 1966 1969 BA Physics Director of the British Antarctic Survey (1998–2007); Director of the Science Museum (2007–2010) [21][71][72][73]
Stanley Whitehead 1920 1924 BA Physics (1st) Director of the Electrical Research Association (1946–1956), specialising in dielectric research [27][43][74]
Michael Woolfson (HF) 1944 1947 BA Physics (2nd) Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of York (1965–1994) [21][68][75]

Other scientistsEdit

Name M G Degree Notes Ref
Roger Ainsworth (HF) 1970 1976 BA Engineering Science (1st), DPhil Professor of Engineering Science at Oxford (1998–2019) and Master of St Catherine's College, Oxford (2002–2019) [76][77][78]
Sir Cyril Burt (HF) 1902 1906 BA Literae Humaniores (2nd) Educational psychologist [40]


Basset Jhones 1634 ? ? Welsh alchemist, doctor and grammarian [80]
William Lewis 1865 1869 BA Mathematics (1st, 1868), BA Natural Science (1st, 1869) Professor of Mineralogy, Cambridge University (1881–1926) [81]
George Cadogan Morgan 1771 DNG Dissenting minister and scientist, whose Lectures in Electricity were published in 1794 [82]
Emlyn Rhoderick 1938 1941 BA Natural Science (1st) Professor of solid-state electronics at the Manchester College of Science and Technology (later UMIST), and leading researcher in the field of semiconductors [83]
Gavin Schmidt 1985 1988? BA Mathematics Climatologist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York [84][85]
Edwin Stevens (HF) 1927 1929 BA Natural Science (Physics, 2nd) Inventor of the world's first wearable hearing aid and a major benefactor to the college, which named its flats in north Oxford "Stevens Close" in his honour [68][86]
Sir Graham Sutton (HF) 1923 1927 BSc Mathematics Director-General of the Meteorological Office (1953–1965) [87]



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