BBC Home
Explore the BBC
4 July  
Search ON THIS DAY by date
Go back one day Go forward one day  
Front Page |  Years |  Themes |  Witness
About This Site | Text Only
1985: Teenage genius gets a first
Child prodigy Ruth Lawrence has achieved a starred first in Mathematics at Oxford University.

The 13-year-old is the youngest British person ever to earn a first-class degree and the youngest known graduate of Oxford University.

As well as being the only student to attain that grade this year she is also one of two students to be awarded a prize and special commendation for the degree she has completed in two years instead of the usual three.

The teenager - who never went to school and was tutored by her father Harry Lawrence - said that the result was much as she had expected.

Mr Lawrence has been his daughter's constant companion and attended all of her lectures and tutorials at university.

They arrived at the Examination School together on a tandem bicycle to see her results posted on a board.

Impressive figures

Ruth, from Huddersfield, told Sue Cook on Breakfast Time that she intends to stay in Oxford for the next three years doing some sort of research.

She does not yet know which branch of mathematics she will specialise in or what she would ultimately like to achieve, but because of the broad range of options she has taken - including pure and applied maths - says she "can go off in virtually any direction".

By the age of nine Ruth had already entered the record books by achieving a grade A in her Pure Mathematics A-level.

Ruth intends to spend the 100 prize she won from Oxford University on new maths books for her 14th birthday next month.

 E-mail this story to a friend


Watch/Listen
Photo of child genius Ruth Lawrence
Ruth got an A in Maths A-level aged nine

Child genius Ruth Lawrence: "I get such joy from maths"


In Context
In 1981 Ruth Lawrence became the youngest person ever to pass the Oxford entrance exam.

She gained her PhD in 1989 and went to work at Harvard in the US. Her father went with her.

From 1993, in her mid-twenties, Ruth was an assistant professor, then professor, at the University of Michigan studying knot theory.

In 1998 she married a mathematician at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Ariyeh Neimark - who is six years younger than her father. The couple have two children. Since 1999 she has been Associate Professor of Maths at the Einstein Institute of Mathematics, part of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem where she is known as Ruth Lawrence-Neimark.


Stories From 4 Jul


 
Search ON THIS DAY by date
Go back one day Go forward one day  

^^ back to top
Front Page |  Years |  Themes |  Witness
©MMVIII | News Sources | Privacy & Cookies Policy