Timothy Gowers  

Timothy Gowers in 2009


Born  20
November 1963 Wiltshire, England 
Institutions  Cambridge University College London 
Alma mater  Cambridge 
Doctoral advisor  Béla Bollobás 
Doctoral students  Ben
Green Tom Sanders Mark Walters Julia Wolf András Zsák Paul Smith David Conlon Pablo Candela 
Known for  Functional analysis, combinatorics 
Notable awards 
Prize of the European Mathematical
Society (1996) Fields Medal (1998) 
William Timothy Gowers FRS (born 20 November 1963, Wiltshire) is a British mathematician. He is Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics in the Department of Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics at Cambridge University and a Fellow of Trinity College. In 1998 he received the Fields Medal for his research connecting the fields of functional analysis and combinatorics.
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His initial education was at Eton College^{[1]} where he was a King's Scholar. He completed his PhD entitled 'Symmetric Structures in Banach Spaces' at the University of Cambridge (Trinity College) in 1990 under the supervision of Béla Bollobás.
From 1991 to 1995 he was a member of the Department of Mathematics at University College London. In 1996 he received the Prize of the European Mathematical Society and in 1998 the Fields Medal for research on functional analysis and combinatorics. He utilized tools from combinatorics to prove several of Stefan Banach's conjectures on Banach spaces and constructed a Banach space with almost no symmetry, serving as a counterexample to several other conjectures.^{[2]} With Bernard Maurey he resolved the "unconditional basis problem" in 1992, showing that not every infinitedimensional Banach space has an infinitedimensional subspace that admits an unconditional Schauder basis. In 1999 he was elected Fellow of the Royal Society.
In addition to scholarly papers on mathematics, Gowers is also the author of several works popularizing mathematics, including the 2002 book Mathematics: A Very Short Introduction (ISBN 0192853619) which describes modern research mathematics to the layman. He was consulted about the 2005 film Proof, starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Anthony Hopkins. Recently, he has been the editor for The Princeton Companion to Mathematics, a voluminous book published in 2008 that introduces and traces the development of various branches and concepts of modern mathematics.
In 2009, Gowers started the polymath project, using the comment functionality of his blog to produce mathematics collaboratively.^{[3]} The initial problem considered was finding a second proof to the density version of the Hales–Jewett theorem. After 7 weeks, Gowers announced the problem was "probably solved"^{[4]} with contributions from around 23 people. Jason Dyer's A gentle introduction to the Polymath project provides a good explanation of the work of the project for a nonmathematical audience.
Tricki.org is a Wikipediastyle project collecting methods of mathematical proof conceived in 2008 and launched by Gowers, Olof Sisask and Alex Frolkin in March 2009.^{[5]} Terence Tao and Ben Green are among those to have already contributed articles.^{[6]}
He is the son of Caroline Maurice and composer Patrick Gowers, greatgrandson of British civil servant Sir Ernest Gowers and greatgreatgrandson of neurologist Sir William Gowers. He has four children and plays jazz piano.^{[1]}

