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Professor Nigel Hitchin

Archived information - not updated after 2008

RAE Panel F: biography of the Chair

Pure Mathematics, Applied Mathematics, Statistics and Operational Research, Computer Science and Informatics

Professor Nigel Hitchin

Savilian Professor of Geometry, University of Oxford


Nigel Hitchin was born on August 2nd 1946. His early education took place in Duffield, near Derby, and he then went to study Mathematics at Jesus College, Oxford, obtaining his BA in 1968.

He subsequently gained a DPhil and continued research with Michael Atiyah at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton until 1973. After a year at NYU, he returned to a Research Fellowship in Oxford and in 1977 played a key role with Atiyah and Singer in showing how the physicists' "instantons" could be constructed mathematically. This formative experience of using pure mathematics at the interface with physics governed much of his future research, including the study of magnetic monopoles, Einstein's equations and integrable systems.

In 1979 he became Tutor in Mathematics at St. Catherine's College, Oxford and in 1990 was appointed Professor at Warwick. He was elected to the Royal Society in 1991 and was President of the London Mathematical Society from 1994-96.

In 1994 he became the Rouse Ball Professor in Cambridge, but then in 1997 accepted the offer of the Savilian Professorship of Geometry in Oxford, where he remains.

Professor Hitchin has won the Whitehead, Berwick and Polya prizes of the London Mathematical Society and the Sylvester Medal of the Royal Society. He is frequently called upon to give named lectures in the USA and Europe and serves on numerous committees both national and international.