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Durham University News


Professor Richard Ward becomes Durham University’s latest Fellow of the Royal Society

(10 June 2005)

Professor Richard Samuel Ward, of the Department of Mathematical Sciences, is one of the forty-four pre-eminent scientists from the UK and Commonwealth who have this year joined the ranks of Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Stephen Hawking by being elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society (FRS) - the UK national academy of science.

Professor Ward receives the title of FRS, a kind of ‘knighthood’ for the science community, for his pioneering and elegant research in mathematical physics. His adaptation of the twistor approach to the self-dual Yang-Mills equations has had wide-ranging impact in mathematical physics, as well as in other areas of mathematics.

Born and educated in South Africa, Professor Ward came to England in 1974 as a graduate student, and studied with Sir Roger Penrose at Oxford. He was a Research Fellow at Merton College Oxford 1977 and 1978 and Lecturer at Trinity College Dublin from 1979 until 1982. He joined the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Durham University as a Lecturer in 1983, and is currently Head of this department.

Professor Ward said, “I feel greatly honoured to be elected to the Royal Society, and I am particularly grateful to my colleagues in the Department of Mathematical Sciences and the Centre for Particle Theory, for maintaining such a vibrant and pleasant research environment.”

Professor Ward will continue his work on similar research as well as on topological solitons, mathematically-beautiful objects which have many applications in physics on scales ranging from the microscopic to the astronomical.

The new Fellows of the Royal Society are among the very best scientists in their fields, and the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Sir Kenneth Calman, has extended his warmest congratulations for such an outstanding personal distinction.

Lord May of Oxford, President of the Royal Society, said, “These new Fellows of the Royal Society are among the best scientists in the UK and Commonwealth. In being elected to the Fellowship they follow in the footsteps of the august scientists of the last three and a half centuries while, at the same time, representing cutting edge science in the UK today. Their collective achievements demonstrate that this country is a major player on the global stage in science.”

For more information, please contact: Professor Ward, Department of Mathematical Sciences, Durham University, Tel 0191 334 3118, E-mail

For media enquiries, please contact: Joy Davis, Public Relations Department, Durham University, Tel 0191 334 6803, E-mail

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