Dame Frances Kirwan

Dame Frances Kirwan left OHS in 1977 to study Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, embarking thereby on an illustrious academic career that has included posts at Oxford, Cambridge and Harvard. Dame Frances is currently Savilian Professor of Geometry at the University of Oxford, the first woman ever to hold that title.

The work of Dame Frances has centred on the structure of geometric objects. She is noted for having introduced the Kirwan Map – H*G (M)→ H*(M//p G)  – and for her contributions to Geometric Invariant Theory (GIT) and the study of the moduli spaces of complex algebraic curves.

In the eighties, Dame Frances held a Junior Fellowship at Harvard and a Fellowship at Magdalen College, Oxford, before becoming a Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford. She is also an honorary fellow at Clare College, Cambridge. In 1996, she was awarded a Title of Distinction of Professor of Mathematics and went on to become President of the London Mathematical Society, the second-youngest president in the society’s history.

In 2005, she received a five-year EPSRC Senior Research Fellowship, to support her research on the moduli spaces of complex algebraic curves and in 2017, she was elected Savilian Professor of Geometry, becoming the first woman to hold the post. She was also elected an Emeritus Fellow at Balliol College, Oxford at this point.