Sunday, 10 January 2016

Super Humans - Ruth Elke Lawrence-Naimark

   Ruth Elke Lawrence-Naimark (Hebrew: רות אלקה לורנס-נאימרק‎, born 2 August 1971) is British mathematician and an Associate Professor of mathematics at the Einstein Institute of Mathematics, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and a researcher in knot theory and algebraic topology. Outside academia, she is best known for having been a child prodigy in mathematics. 

   Ruth Lawrence was born in Brighton, England. Her parents, Harry Lawrence and Sylvia Greybourne, were both computer consultants. When Lawrence was five, her father gave up his job so that he could educate her at home. At the age of nine, Lawrence gained an O-level in mathematics, setting a new age record (later surpassed in 2001 when Arran Fernandez successfully sat GCSE mathematics aged five). Also at the age of nine she achieved a Grade A at A-level Pure Mathematics. In 1981 Lawrence passed the Oxford University entrance examination in mathematics, coming first out of all 530 candidates sitting the examination, and joining St Hugh's College in 1983 at the age of just twelve. At Oxford, her father continued to be actively involved in her education, accompanying her to all lectures and some tutorials. Lawrence completed her bachelor's degree in two years, instead of the normal three, and graduated in 1985 at the age of 13 with a starred first and special commendation. Attracting considerable press interest, she became the youngest British person to gain a first-class degree, and the youngest to graduate from the University of Oxford in modern times. Lawrence followed her first degree with a second bachelor's degree in physics in 1986 and a Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) degree in mathematics at Oxford in June 1989, at the age of 17. Her doctoral thesis title was Homology representations of braid groups and her thesis adviser was Sir Michael Atiyah. Lawrence's first academic post was at Harvard University, where she became a Junior Fellow in 1990 at the age of 19. In 1993, she moved to the University of Michigan, where she became an Associate Professor with tenure in 1997. In 1999, she took up the post of Associate Professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

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