Frances Kirwan

Dame Frances Kirwan

Kirwan in 2009
Born 1959 (age 5657)
Nationality British
Fields Mathematics
Institutions University of Oxford
Alma mater University of Cambridge
Doctoral advisor Michael Atiyah
Notable awards Whitehead Prize (1989)
Senior Whitehead Prize (2013)

Dame Frances Clare Kirwan, DBE FRS (born 1959) is a British mathematician, currently a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford. Her fields of specialisation are algebraic and symplectic geometry.[1][2]


Kirwan was educated at Oxford High School, and studied maths as an undergraduate at Clare College in the University of Cambridge.[3] She took a D.Phil at Oxford in 1984, with the dissertation title The Cohomology of Quotients in Symplectic and Algebraic Geometry, which was supervised by Michael Atiyah.[4]


Kirwan's research interests include moduli spaces in algebraic geometry, geometric invariant theory (GIT), and in the link between GIT and moment maps in symplectic geometry.[5] Her work endeavours to understand the structure of geometric objects by investigation of their algebraic and topological properties.[6] She introduced the Kirwan map. From 1983-85 she held a Junior Fellowship at Harvard. From 1983-86 she held a Fellowship at Magdalen College, Oxford, before later becoming a Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford.[7] She is an honorary fellow at Clare College, Cambridge.[8]

In 1996 she was appointed a University Professor of Mathematics. From 2004-06 she was President of the London Mathematical Society, the second-youngest president in the society's history.[9] In 2005, she received a five-year EPSRC Senior Research Fellowship, to support her research on the moduli spaces of complex algebraic curves.[10]

Prizes, awards and scholarships



  1. Oxford University Calendar 2004-5, Oxford University Press, 2004.
  2. Professor Frances Kirwan, Faces of Mathematics
  3. "Frances Kirwan, Professor, Mathematics, University of Oxford". University of Washington. 10 May 2007. Archived from the original on 13 November 2015. Retrieved 13 November 2015.
  4. Frances Kirwan at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  5. Prof Kirwan profile,; accessed 9 May 2014.
  6. Prof Kirwan profile,; accessed 9 May 2014.
  7. 1 2 Academia Europaea member profile, retrieved 2014-06-22.
  8. "Honorary Fellows". Clare College, Cambridge. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  9. "President Designate of the London Mathematical Society", Mathematical Institute News, University of Oxford, 2004.
  10. Prof. Frances Kirwan awarded an EPSRC Senior Research Fellowship (2004),; accessed 9 May 2014.
  11. 1 2 Dr Frances Kirwan awarded the Whitehead Prize,; accessed 9 May 2014.
  12. Profile,; accessed 9 May 2014.
  13. Prof. Frances Kirwan awarded an EPSRC Senior Research Fellowship, Univ. of Oxford Mathematical Inst., retrieved 2014-10-20.
  14. List of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society; accessed 9 May 2014
  15. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 60728. p. 7. 31 December 2013.
  16. Kleiman, Steven L. (1990). "Review: An Introduction to Intersection Homology Theory, by Frances Kirwan". Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. (N.S.). 22 (1): 127–138. doi:10.1090/s0273-0979-1990-15859-8.

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