History of Mathematics at Manchester

This School was formed in 2004 by the merger of the mathematics departments of the Victoria University of Manchester and the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST). The merger brought together two schools that were of similar size and academic strength. Find out more about our current research and staff, or how to study at the School.

Many famous mathematicians have worked in both schools and their achievements set a standard for us today. 


Kathleen Ollerenshaw (1912-2014)

Kathleen Ollerenshaw

Dame Kathleen Ollerenshaw was a mathematician, politician and astronomer. In 1945 Dame Kathleen completed her doctorate at Somerville College, Oxford, on Critical Lattices. She wrote five original research papers that were sufficient for her to earn her DPhil degree without the need for a formal written thesis. Just after the Second World War, she took up a lecturing position in mathematics at Manchester University.

In the 1950s, Dame Kathleen entered politics and served as a Conservative Councillor for Rusholme for twenty-six years (1956-1981), was Lord Mayor of Manchester (1975-1976), and the prime motivator in the creation of the Royal Northern College of Music. She was made a Freeman of the City of Manchester and was an advisor on educational matters to Margaret Thatcher’s government in the 1980s.

Dame Kathleen published at least 26 mathematical papers, her best-known contribution being the paper, Most-Perfect Pandiagonal Magic Squares.

In honour of Dame Kathleen Ollerenshaw, a room in the Alan Turing Building is named after her.

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