On Monday 23rd September, the Mathematical Society hosted Alexander Masters for the inaugural Norton Lecture. This series was created to commemorate the Old Etonian mathematician Simon P. Norton, who passed away earlier this year.
Mr Masters began by telling the audience how he first met the legendary and eccentric mathematician whilst looking to rent a flat in Cambridge, and how this initial encounter blossomed into a lifelong friendship. He then transitioned to talking about Norton’s biography, starting from his time at Eton, when he represented Britain in three consecutive International Maths Olympiads, receiving a perfect score during two of his appearances. Then followed the description of Norton’s years in Cambridge, where he collaborated with renowned mathematicians such as Conway, and contributed to the field of group theory, in particular co-authoring the ATLAS of Finite Groups and constructing the Harada-Norton group. Finally, Mr Masters talked about the mathematician’s final years, living a somewhat reclusive lifestyle and pursuing his passion for riding buses.
Daniil Filatov KS