People associated with the University of Manchester

People associated with the University of Manchester

Many famous people have worked or studied at the Victoria University of Manchester and the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology institutions which merged in 2004 to form the University of Manchester. The names of the 23 Nobel prize laureates among them are in bold print.

Biology & Chemistry

* John Dalton, the founder of modern chemistry and atomic theory. One of the founders of UMIST.
* Arthur Harden (awarded Nobel prize in 1929), for investigations on the fermentation of sugar and fermentative enzymes.
* Walter Haworth (awarded Nobel prize in 1937), for his investigations on carbohydrates and vitamin C.
* Robert Robinson (awarded Nobel prize in 1947), for his investigations on plant products of biological importance, especially the alkaloids.
* Alexander Todd (awarded Nobel prize in 1957), for his work on nucleotides and nucleotide co-enzymes.
* Melvin Calvin (awarded Nobel prize in 1961), for his research on the carbon dioxide assimilation in plants.
* John Charles Polanyi (awarded Nobel prize in 1986), for his contributions concerning the dynamics of chemical elementary processes.
* Michael Smith (awarded Nobel prize in 1993), for his fundamental contributions to the establishment of oligonucleotide-based, site-directed mutagenesis and its development for protein studies.
* William Henry Perkin, Jr., planned the new chemical laboratory building at Owens College in 1895.
* Sir Henry Roscoe, chemist considering foundations of comparative photochemistry, later Member of Parliament and vice-chancellor of the University of London.
* Sir Thomas Thorpe, investigated the relationship between substances molecular weights and their specific gravities, and his work on phosphorus compounds led to a better understanding of phosphorus trioxide.
* Chaim Weizmann, discovered how to use bacterial fermentation to produce large quantities of desired substances and is considered to be the father of industrial fermentation.


See also School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Manchester
* Ernest Rutherford (awarded Nobel prize in 1908), for his investigations into the disintegration of the elements and the chemistry of radioactive substances (he was the first to probe the atom). Langworthy Professor of Physics (1907–1919).
* Niels Bohr (awarded Nobel prize in 1922). Research Staff and Schuster Reader 1911–1916. Worked on structure of atom and first theory of quantum mechanics.
* James Chadwick (awarded Nobel prize in 1935). Student (BSc & MSc) and Researcher 1908–1913 (under Rutherford). Discovered the neutron.
* Joseph John (J. J.) Thomson (awarded Nobel prize in 1906). Studied and researched 1871–1876 (entered at age 14). Discovered the electron.
* Charles Thomson Rees (C. T. R.) Wilson (awarded Nobel prize in 1927). Student 1884–1887. Invented the expansion cloud chamber.
* Sir John Douglas Cockcroft (awarded Nobel prize in 1951), for his pioneering work with Rutherford and Walton, on the transmutation of atomic nuclei by artificially accelerated atomic particles. Born in Todmorden, he studied mathematics under Horace Lamb in 1914–1915 and received BSc and MSc in Electrical Engineering. Later he became Chancellor of UMIST and Director of BAERE (Manhattan Project Hall of Fame).
* Nevill Francis Mott (awarded Nobel prize in 1977), for his fundamental theoretical investigations of the electronic structure of magnetic and disordered systems.
* Patrick M. Blackett (awarded Nobel prize in 1948), for developing cloud chamber and confirming/discovering positron. Director and Langworthy Professor of Physics (1937–1953).
* William Lawrence Bragg (awarded Nobel prize in 1915, along with his father, William Henry Bragg), for X-ray crystallography (their work led to the first discoveries of DNA and protein structures). Director and Langworthy Professor of Physics (1919–1937).
* Hans Bethe (awarded Nobel prize in 1967), for his contributions to the theory of nuclear reactions, especially his discoveries concerning the energy production in stars. Research staff and Temporary Lecturer 1932.
* George de Hevesy (awarded Nobel prize in 1943), for his work on the use of isotopes as tracers in the study of chemical processes. Research Staff 1910–1913.
* Sir Arthur Eddington. Graduated in 1902 and became a lecturer in 1905. Founder of modern Astronomy. He made important contributions to the general theory of relativity and led an expedition team to validate it.
* Victor Emery, British specialist on superconductors and superfluidity. His model for the electronic structure of the copper-oxide planes is the starting point for many analyses of high-temperature superconductors and is commonly known as the Emery model.
* Hans Geiger, Researcher 1906–1914. Did the original "Rutherford scattering" experiment with Marsden (also the Geiger-Marsden experiment). Devised the famous Geiger ionization counter.
* Sir John Lennard-Jones, entered Manchester University where he changed his subject to mathematics in 1912. After First World War service in the Royal Flying Corps, he returned to Manchester as Lecturer in Mathematics, 1919–1922. Founder of modern theoretical chemistry. Lennard-Jones potential and LJ fluid are named after him.
* Henry Lipson CBE, FRS, known for x-ray diffraction and its application to crystallography, professor at UMIST 1954-1977.
* Sir Bernard Lovell, Professor (1951–1990) and creator of the giant radio-telescope (the first large radio-telescope in the world with a diameter of 218 feet) at Jodrell Bank: pioneered the field of radio astronomy.
* Sir Ernest Marsden was born in Lancashire in 1888. He won scholarships to attend grammar school and gain entry to Manchester University. It was here he met Rutherford in his honours year. Rutherford suggested a project to investigate the backwards scattering of alpha particles from a metal foil. He did this in conjunction with Hans Geiger (of Geiger counter fame), and it proved to be the key experiment in the demise of the Plum pudding model of the atom leading directly to Rutherford's nuclear atom. Rutherford also recommended Marsden for the position of physics professor at what is now Victoria University in Wellington.
* Henry Moseley, who identified atomic number as the nuclear charges. He studied under Rutherford and brilliantly developed the application of X-ray spectra to study atomic structure; his discoveries resulted in a more accurate positioning of elements in the Periodic Table by closer determination of atomic numbers . Moseley was nominated for the 1915 Nobel Prize but was unfortunately killed in action in August 1915 and could not receive the prize.
* Henry Plummer, astronomer who developed a gravitational potential function that can be used to model globular clusters and spherically-symmetric galaxies, known as the "Plummer potential"; Fellow of the Royal Society.
* John Henry Poynting. Student 1867–1872 (one of the very first students in the new Physical Laboratories). Lecturer 1876–1879. Left to become Professor at Mason College (which became Birmingham University). He wrote on electrical phenomena and radiation and is best known for Poynting's vector. In 1891 he determined the mean density of the Earth and made a determination of the gravitational constant in 1893. The Poynting-Robertson effect was related to the theory of relativity.
* George Rochester discovered strange particles in 1947 with Clifford C Butler. Went on to be head of department at Imperial College and then Vice-Chancellor at Loughborough.
* Sir Arthur Schuster, Langworthy Professor of Physics (1888–1907), who made many contributions to optics and astronomy. Schuster's interests were wide-ranging: terrestrial magnetism, optics, solar physics, and the mathematical theory of periodicities. He introduced meteorology as a subject studied in British universities.
* Balfour Stewart, Scottish physicist, who devoted himself to meteorology and terrestrial magnetism.
* Sir Arnold Wolfendale, BSc 1948 and PhD 1954 in cosmic rays. Lecturer 1953–1956. 14th Astronomer Royal.
* Brian Cox (physicist), physicist working at CERN and popularizer of science. Most notable for his physics documentaries on the BBC and as a member of a few popular rock bands.

Physiology and Medicine

* Archibald Vivian Hill (awarded Nobel prize in 1922), for his discovery relating to the production of heat in the muscle. One of the founders of the diverse disciplines of biophysics and operations research.
* Sir John Sulston (awarded Nobel prize in 2002), for his discoveries concerning 'genetic regulation of organ development and programmed cell death'. In 2007 it was announced that Sulston will join The University of Manchester's Faculty of Life Sciences and will chair Institute of Science, Ethics and Innovation, a new research institute focusing on the ethical questions raised by science and technology in the 21st century.
* Julius Dreschfeld, leading British physician and pathologist at the end of the 19th century
* Sir John Randall, developer of the cavity magnetron.
* Herchel Smith, a researcher at the University of Manchester, developed an inexpensive way of producing chemicals that stop women ovulating during their monthly menstrual cycle in 1961.


* John Hicks (awarded Nobel prize in 1972), for his pioneering contributions to general economic equilibrium theory and welfare theory.
* Sir Arthur Lewis (awarded Nobel prize in 1979), for his pioneering research into economic development research with particular consideration of the problems of developing countries.
* Joseph E. Stiglitz (awarded Nobel prize in 2001), for his analyses of markets with asymmetric information. Former Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of the World Bank, he is famous for his critical view of globalization and international institutions like the International Monetary Fund or the World Bank. Currently, Professor Joseph E. Stiglitz teaches at Columbia University and heads the Brooks World Poverty Institute (BWPI) at the University of Manchester.
* Anthony Stafford Beer, British theorist
* Terence Burns, Baron Burns, British economist and President of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research
* William Stanley Jevons, father of neoclassical economics, was appointed in 1854 to establish a Chair in Political Economy making Manchester one of the oldest centres for the study of economics in the United Kingdom.
* Jack Johnston, founded and established the first Department of Econometrics in the 1960s.


* Martin Amis, British novelist and author of some of Britain's best-known modern literature, particularly "Money" (1986) and "London Fields" (1989). Professor of Creative Writing
* Simon Armitage, poet and novelist
* Louis de Bernieres, born 1954. Writer whose novels include "The War of Don Emmanuel's Nether Parts" (1990), "Señor Vivo and the Coca Lord" (1991), "The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman" (1992), "Captain Corelli's Mandolin" (1994) (winner of the Commonwealth Writers Prize for best book) and "Red Dog" (2001).
* Anthony Burgess, BA, English Literature, 1937-40. Writer and critic whose novels include the Malayan trilogy, the Enderby cycle, "A Clockwork Orange", "", "Earthly Powers" and "The Kingdom of the Wicked". He produced acclaimed critical works on Joyce, Lawrence, Hemingway and Shakespeare, and studies of language and of pornography.
* Patricia Duncker, distinguished British novelist and appointed Professor of Contemporary Writing at the University of Manchester.
* Daniel Ford, American author and journalist
* Alex Garland, born 1970, BA, History of Art. Novelist and script-writer. Author of "The Beach" (1996), "The Tesseract" (1998), "The Coma" (2004) and "Sunshine" (2007).
* Sophie Hannah, award-winning poet and novelist
* M. J. Hyland, novelist of Irish descent and won both the Encore Award and the Hawthornden Prize in 2007. She teaches at the Manchester Centre for New Writing.
* C. A. Lejeune, film critic
* W. G. Sebald, notable German author.
* Barry Unsworth, British novelist who is known for novels with historical themes, Booker Prize winner with "Sacred Hunger".


* Lewis Bernstein Namier, Professor of Modern History 1931-1952.
* A. J. P. Taylor, 1931-1938, was a renowned English historian of the 20th century. He was probably the best-known British historian of the century and certainly one of the most controversial.
* Sir Ian Kershaw, historian of Nazi Germany and biographer of Hitler, taught in the History department from 1968 to 1987.
* Colin Lucas, historian of the French Revolution and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford.

Computer Science

See main article School of Computer Science, University of Manchester
* Alan Turing, one of the founders of Computer Science and AI, was a reader in the Mathematics Department. The ACM Turing award is named after him, as is the University of Manchester's Alan Turing Building and Alan Turing Institute. Also a pioneer of Mathematical Biology.
* Tom Kilburn and Freddie Williams invented the Williams-Kilburn Tube, the device that enabled them to create the first ever computer that could store and execute its own program electronically, a fundamental feature of all modern computers. (See Manchester Small-Scale Experimental Machine, Manchester Mark 1).
* Steve Furber best known for his work at Acorn where he was one of the designers of the BBC Micro and the ARM 32-bit RISC microprocessor.


See main article School of Mathematics, University of Manchester
* Frank Adams was a leading figure in algebraic topology and homotopy theory. He developed methods which led to important advances in calculating the homotopy groups of spheres (a problem which is still unsolved), including the invention of the Adams operations.
* M. S. Bartlett, professor of mathematical statistics from 1947 to 1960, made important contributions to the analysis of data with spatial and temporal patterns. He is also known for his work in the theory of statistical inference and in multivariate analysis.
*Robin Bullough, professor of Mathematical Physics famous for his work on optical solitons.
* Sydney Chapman developed important theory on thermal diffusion in highly ionized gases, magnetic storms, instability along magnetic neutral lines, noctilucent clouds and the fundamentals of gas dynamics. He held the post of Beyer Prof of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy.
* Harold Davenport was a number theorist and worked in Manchester as a contemporary of Erdős and Mordell.
* Paul Erdős was one of the most prolific mathematicians of the 20th century. The Euler of his time, he posed and solved many problems in number theory and other areas. He was a founder of the field of extremal combinatorics, of major importance in theoretical computer science. He wrote 1,500 papers. In his early career, he held a post-doctoral fellowship at Manchester University and subsequently became an itinerant mathematician. Awarded the Cole Prize of the American Mathematical Society.
* Sydney Goldstein was one of the most influential theoretical fluid mechanicians in this century. He is best known for his work in boundary layer theory where the Goldstein singularity is named after him. He held the Beyer Chair.
* Brian Hartley is best known for his work in group theory. His book "Rings, Modules and Linear Algebra" (written with T. O. Hawkes) is a widely used undergraduate text.
*Douglas Hartree Beyer professor, constructed a differential analyser at Manchester in 1933. Known for his development of numerical analysis and its application to atomic physics.
* Sir Horace Lamb was one of the six professors appointed when Manchester University received its Royal Charter (his chair was the Beyer Chair of Applied Mathematics, and Osborne Reynolds was given the Chair in Engineering). He made many important contributions to applied mathematics, including the areas of acoustics and fluid dynamics. His book "Hydrodynamics" (first published in 1895) was for many years the standard text on the subject and is still essential reading for researchers. Lamb's main field of research was solid mechanics, and he made careful studies of the vibrations of spherical bodies which aided understanding in seismology. Research on waves in layered media led to the discovery of Lamb waves.
* James Lighthill was one of the most influential applied mathematicians of the 20th century. He made important contributions to the modern developments in theoretical aerodynamics and aeroacoustics (Lighthill's eighth power law) and was one of the founding fathers of the field of biofluiddynamics. He is also founder of IMA and held the Beyer Chair.
* John Littlewood is famous for his work on the theory of series, the Riemann zeta function, inequalities and the theory of functions. He held a lectureship at the University of Manchester from 1907 to 1910.
* Kurt Mahler spent several periods of his academic life at Manchester. Major themes of his work were p-adic numbers, p-adic diophantine approximation, geometry of numbers and Mahler measures.
* Edward Milne was a leading figure in the study of radiative equilibrium, the structure of stellar atmospheres, theory of relativity and the interior structure of stars. He held the Beyer Chair and was President of London Mathematics Society.
* Louis Mordell was a pure mathematician who made important contributions in number theory, and played an important role in the development of mathematics in Manchester. He was the first Fielden Professor.
* Bernhard Neumann spent more than a decade in Manchester. He is one of the leading figures in group theory.
* Hanna Neumann, group theorist, later first female Professor of Mathematics in Australia.
* Max Newman made important contributions to combinatorial topology, Boolean algebras and mathematical logic. He directed the now-famous Colossus cryptanalysis program in WWII.
* Dame Kathleen Ollerenshaw, mathematician and politician
* Osborne Reynolds is famous for his work in fluid mechanics. In 1886 he formulated a theory of lubrication (thus the Reynolds equation is named after him) and three years later he developed the standard mathematical framework used in the study of turbulence (Reynolds stress and Reynolds averaging are two of the many terms bearing his name). The Reynolds number used in modelling fluid flow is named after him. His students include J. J. Thomson, who discovered the electron.
* Lewis Fry Richardson was a scientist who was the first to apply mathematics, in particular the method of finite differences, to predicting the weather (the father of CFD). He made contributions to calculus and to the theory of diffusion, in particular eddy-diffusion in the atmosphere. The Richardson number, a fundamental quantity involving gradients of temperature and wind velocity, is named after him.
* Alan Turing, was a Reader in the Department of Mathematics, see also the entry in Computer Science.
* Peter Whittle, statistician who was working in the fields of stochastic nets, optimal control, time series analysis, stochastic optimization and stochastic dynamics
* Ludwig Wittgenstein who is best known for his work in philosophy undertook aeronautical research in Manchester. Needing to understand more mathematics for his research, he began a study which soon involved him in the foundations of mathematics.


* Margaret Beckett, Member of Parliament and former Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
* Joe Borg, Maltese politician and current European Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs
* Nick Brown, Member of Parliament
* Liam Byrne, Member of Parliament and Minister of State, attended Harvard as a Fulbright Scholar
* John Cameron, Liberal Democrat Councillor
* David Clark, Baron Clark of Windermere, Labour politician and author
* Ann Coffey, Member of Parliament
* Den Dover, Member of the European Parliament
* Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, current President of Iceland
* Teo Chee Hean, current Minister for Defence of Singapore
* Mark Hendrick, Member of Parliament
* Beverley Hughes, Member of Parliament and Minister of State
* Jamaluddin Jarjis, current Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation of Malaysia
* Peter Levene, Baron Levene of Portsoken, chairman of Lloyd's of London and former Lord Mayor of London
* Harold Lever, Labour cabinet minister
* Tony Lloyd, Member of Parliament
* Kevin G. Lynch, Deputy Minister of Finance in Canada, Canada's most senior civil servant
* John Mann, Member of Parliament
* Arlene McCarthy, Member of the European Parliament
* Austin Mitchell, Member of Parliament
* Julie Morgan, Member of Parliament
* Alfred Morris, Labour Co-operative politician and disability campaigner
* Said Musa, current Prime Minister of Belize
* Christian Ouellet, Canadian Member of Parliament
* Christabel Pankhurst, suffragette
* George Maxwell Richards, current President of Trinidad and Tobago
* Paul Rose, former Labour Party politician
* Councillor David Sandiford, Lord Mayor of Manchester
* Sir Lloyd Erskine Sandiford, former Prime Minister of Barbados
* Ahmed M. Mahamoud Silanyo, Somaliland's Minister of Planning and Coordination
* Robert Spink, Member of Parliament
* Andrew Stunell, Member of Parliament
* Chaim Weizmann, first President of Israel
* Ellen Wilkinson, Labour Cabinet Minister
* Kirsty Williams, Member of the National Assembly for Wales
* Phil Woolas, Member of Parliament


*Roy Chadwick designer of the Lancaster bomber
*William Fairbairn a Scottish engineer associated with water wheels and the Britannia tubular bridge but above all with a scientific approach to engineering. He was elected first Secretary of the Mechanics' Institute (precursor to UMIST).
*George E. Davis founded the discipline of Chemical Engineering with an influential series of lectures at UMIST in 1888, and a textbook on the subject.


* Richard Anao, Chairman, Nigerian Accounting Standards Board
* Tony Bickford, Former Chairman, QAS
* Robert Bland, Chairman of Oakley Group
* Tom Bloxham, founder of influential regeneration firm Urban Splash
* David Bryer, former Director of Oxfam
* Peter Burdon, chief executive of Poundstretcher & Instore and former chief executive of Thorntons
* Terence Burns, Baron Burns, Chairman of Abbey National plc and of Marks & Spencer
* Roger Crook, Chief Executive Officer, DHL Latin America
* Don Cruickshank, Chairman of SMG plc and former chairman of London Stock Exchange
* Andy Duncan, Chief Executive of Channel 4 television
* Keith Edelman, Managing Director of Arsenal Football Club
* David Grigson, Finance Director of Reuters Group plc
* Rijkman Groenink, Chairman of the Managing Board, ABN AMRO
* Robert H. Herz, Chairman, US Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB)
* Sir Terry Leahy, Chief Executive Officer of Tesco, the largest British supermarket chain. UMIST management graduate and later Vice Chancellor of UMIST, co-chancellor of University of Manchester.
* Michael D. Parker, Chief Executive Officer, BNFL
* Jurek Piasecki, Chairman and Chief Executive, Goldsmith Group plc
* Brian Quinn, Former Deputy Governor of the Bank of England and Chairman of Celtic F.C board
* James Ross, Former Chairman, The Littlewoods Organisation
* Paul Skinner, Chairman, Rio Tinto
* Brenda Smith, Group Managing Director of Ascent Media Group and Former Managing Director of Granada Television
* Sir Roland Smith, former director of the Bank of England and former chairman of Manchester United
* Vijit Supinit, Chairman, Stock Exchange of Thailand
* David Varney, Executive Chairman, HM Revenue and Customs
* Andreas Vranas, Vice-Governor, National Bank of Greece
* Alan Wood, Chief Executive, Siemens plc and President of EEF the manufacturers organisation
* Jeremy Coller, CEO of Coller Capital, a British private equity firm.
* James Muir, CEO of Mazda Europe

The arts

*Shona Auerbach, award-winning director/cinematographer of "Dear Frankie"
* Robert Bolt, two times Academy Award winner and three times Golden Globe winner, screenwriter of "Lawrence of Arabia", "Doctor Zhivago", "A Man for All Seasons", and "The Mission"
* Philip Bretherton, actor
* John Casken, composer and professor of composition
* Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, composer, Master of the Queen's Music
* Adrian Edmondson, actor
* Ben Elton, comedian and writer
* Peter Flannery, playwright and scriptwriter
* Pam Gems, playwright and feminist
* Olivia Hallinan, actress
* Charlotte Keatley, dramatist
* Rik Mayall, actor
* Paul McCreesh, conductor
* Ed O'Brien, musician in Radiohead
* Mark Radcliffe, DJ on Radio 1 and Radio 2 and musician: Shirehorses and The Family Mahone
* Ed Simmons and Tom Rowlands, musicians, The Chemical Brothers
* Meera Syal, actress and writer
* Louise Wener, musician in the 1990s Britpop band, Sleeper
* Tom Watt actor and sports broadcaster
* Lucinda Ledgerwood, Apprentice (UK series 4) contestant


* John Besford, European champion in swimming
* Sir Philip Craven, Paralympic athlete for Great Britain in wheelchair basketball and swimming; current president of the International Paralympic Committee
* James Hickman, 5 times world champion in swimming
* Conall Murtagh, Footballer for Wrexham F.C.
* Michael Rock, Swimmer, British champion 100 m and 200 m Butterfly and Olympian
* Graeme Smith, Bronze medallist in swimming, 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games
* Chrissie Wellington, Ironman Triathlon world champion


* Arthur Whitten Brown, pioneer of flight. He was the navigator of the first successful non-stop transatlantic flight.
* Dame Alexandra Burslem, former Vice-Chancellor of Manchester Metropolitan University
* Donald Coggan, Archbishop of Canterbury 1974-1980, spiritual leader of the Church of England
* Samuel Finer, political scientist
* Anna Ford, broadcaster
* Norman Foster, Baron Foster of Thames Bank, architect (Millennium Bridge, Swiss Re Building, HSBC Headquarters, (proposed) Tower 2 of World Trade Center)
* Max Gluckman, Rhodes Scholar who became Manchester's first chair of anthropology in 1949
* Brenda Hale, Baroness Hale of Richmond, First woman to become a judge in the House of Lords
* Mark Kermode, broadcaster and film critic
* Admiral Sir John Kerr, admiral and Commander-in-Chief Naval Home Command in the Royal Navy and Pro-Chancellor of the University.
* Irene Khan, current Secretary General of Amnesty International
* Sir Colin Renshaw Lucas, former Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University
* Sir John Maddox, Editor of Nature for 22 years
* Gordon Manley, climatologist.
* Sir Maurice Oldfield, Director-General of MI6
* Rona Robinson, suffragette and first woman to gain a first-class chemistry degree in the UK.
* Benjamin Seebohm Rowntree, industrialist, sociologist and social reformer
* The Hon. Mr Justice Peter Smith, Judge of the High Court of Justice
* Alfred Waterhouse, Architect
* Paul Waterhouse, Architect
* William Williamson, English naturalist

See also

* Natives of Manchester

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