The Lucasian Chair of Mathematics (//) is a mathematics professorship in the University of Cambridge, England; its holder is known as the Lucasian Professor. The post was founded in 1663 by Henry Lucas, who was Cambridge University's Member of Parliament in 1639–1640, and it was officially established by King Charles II on 18 January 1664. It was described by The Daily Telegraph as one of the most prestigious academic posts in the world and its former holders include Isaac Newton, Charles Babbage, George Stokes, Joseph Larmor, Paul Dirac and Stephen Hawking.
Lucas, in his will, bequeathed his library of 4,000 volumes to the university and left instructions for the purchase of land whose yielding should provide £100 a year for the founding of a professorship.
Babbage applied for the vacancy in 1826, after Turton, but Airy was appointed. William Whewell (who considered applying, but preferred both Hershel and Babbage to himself) remarks that he would be the best professor, but that the heads of the colleges would not see that. Nonetheless he was appointed when the chair became free again two years later.
The current and 19th Lucasian Professor is Michael Cates, starting from 1 July 2015. The previous holder of the post was theoretical physicist Michael Green who was a fellow in Clare Hall. He was appointed in October 2009, succeeding Stephen Hawking, who himself retired in September 2009, in the year of his 67th birthday, as required by the university. Green holds the position of Emeritus Lucasian Professor of Mathematics.
|#||Year of appointment||Portrait||Name||Speciality||Tenure (years)|
|Classics and mathematics||6|
|Mathematics and physics||33|
|Mathematics and chemistry||22|
|10||1826||George Biddell Airy
|Mathematics and computing||11|
|13||1849||George Gabriel Stokes
|Physics and fluid mechanics||54|
|Theoretical physics and cosmology||30|
|Statistical mechanics of soft condensed matter||current|
In the final episode of the science-fiction television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, one of the main characters, the android Data, holds the Lucasian Chair in the late 24th century.