Jonathan M. Borwein Pure and Applied Mathematics

Internationally renowned mathematician who, with his brother Peter, calculated the value of pi to a new world record.

The Story

Borwein was born into a family of academicians. His father headed the math department at the University of Western Ontario and his mother, now associate dean of medicine at UWO, completed a PhD in anatomy. He and his two siblings all majored in mathematics. Borwein studied at Oxford as an Ontario Rhodes Scholar. He became Professor of Mathematics at Dalhousie in 1984 and since 1993 has been the Shrum Chair of Science at Simon Fraser University. He co-founded and now directs the Centre for Experimental and Constructive Mathematics at SFU, recognized internationally for its work using computers to explore mathematical analysis.

Jon Borwein, his brother Peter Borwein, and David Bailey of NASA co-wrote the 1989 paper presenting the Quartically Convergent Algorithm, or how to compute one billion digits of pi. This paper was awarded the 1993 Chauvenet (the Mathematical Association of America's principal prize for a paper) and Hasse prizes for expository writing.

Borwein has co-authored six books including: Convex Analysis and Nonlinear Optimization (2000), Pi: A Source Book (1999), Pi and the AGM (1998) and A Dictionary of Real Numbers (1990). His now out of print Dictionary of Mathematics, co-written with Scottish philosopher E.J. Borowski, has been developed into a CD-ROM called The MathResource, winner of a computing education award in 1997.

Jonathan Borwein and his brother Peter co-edit the Canadian Mathematical Society/Springer-Verlag series of Books in Mathematics. Borwein is on the editorial board of several other mathematical journals including the Proceedings of the American Mathematical Society. He is also the President of the Canadian Mathematical Society.

His present research focus is on advanced collaborative environments for mathematics.

Sources: Centre for Experimental & Constructive Mathematics, SFU, Dr. Borwein's website; Image: SFU Math Department website.

Career ideas:

  • Mathematicians
  • Statisticians
  • Systems analysts
  • Computer programmers
  • Accountants
  • Actuarians
  • Financial auditors
  • Insurance analysts
  • Teachers
  • Investment analysts
  • Financial planners

The Person

May 20, 1951
St. Andrews, Scotland
Date of Death
August 2, 2016
Place of Death
Newcastle, Australia
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Family Members
  • Father: Dr. David Borwein (Professor Emeritus, UWO)
  • Dr. Bessie Borwein (Associate Dean for Research, Faculty of Medicine, UWO)
  • Brother: Professor Peter Borwein (SFU)
Canada Research Chair
Faculty of Computer Science, Dalhousie University, Halifax
  • BA University of Western Ontario, 1971
  • MSc Oxford University, 1972
  • DPhil (mathematics) Oxford, 1971
  • Fellow, Royal Society of Canada, 1994
  • Academic of the Year Award (BC Confederation of University Faculty Associations) shared with P. Borwein, 1996
  • <i>Doctorat Honoris Causa</i> (University of Limoges), 1999
Father, David Borwein: what it means to have a passion for one's work as well as a pride in workmanship. M. A. H. Dempster, Doctoral supervisor, how to have broad interests beyond mathematics.
Last Updated
August 30, 2016

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question #563

I have an interest in algebraic manipulation of known physical/chemical laws & principles. I am trying to find out if anyone has every assembled a list of all known mathematical, physical, chemical laws and principles on a computer database and then run queries on those laws (to express them in alternate forms). Do you know if anyone has done this?

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